Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bilingual Education

 A current issue in education is the increase of English language learners being integrated into the education system.  The term English language learners or ELLs, are students who are learning English as a second language.  The background of these students varies greatly.  Some are recent immigrants who are older and proficient in their own language but have limited or no English skills.  Younger immigrant students may not even hear English at home.  This causes ELL students to become frustrated in schools where the primary instruction is given in English. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics the population of ELLs has increased greatly over the past years from 4.7 to 11.2 million between 1980 and 2009, or from 10 to 21 percent of the population in this age range. Enrollment of ELLs has also seen an increase from 90 to 93 percent between 1980 and 2009.  Therefore the educational system must redesign their instruction methods in order for all students to succeed.   

Educational experts conclude that the instructional practices need to change to be able to reach these students. In The BALANCED VIEW: Bilingual Education by Westchester Institute For Human Services studies have concluded that "...children learn English faster and are more likely to excel academically if they are given several years of instruction in their native language first."   Unfortunately the case is still torn between those for and those against bilingual education. Because of  the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States, bilingual education has been attacked at the federal and state level.  Statewide anti-bilingual initiatives have passed in states like California, Colorado, and Massachusetts. As seen in the following articles, The Case Against Bilingual Education  and Bilingual Education Is A Human and Civil Right, the people of America stand divided. Each article states specific reason for why they feel the way they do.  In the end the important question is, "What is best for the ELL student?"

 Check out this video as Jerome Socolovsky visits a bilingual school in a suburb of Washington, DC.

ELLs are still entering the schools in great numbers and need and deserve the opportunity to learn and succeed.  The issue of bilingual education in schools cannot be ignored and as seen in the video above the bilingual education program is working not only for ELLs but for native English speaking students as well. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Impression: Twitter

Before taking SEDU 183 I never had a Twitter account and to be honest, Twitter seemed rather confusing for me at first. The concept of following people and having followers was totally foreign coming from someone who had Facebook. I always assumed that these online networks for the “social” part of my life, but after getting my “feet wet” I was able to see the potential Twitter can offer me as a future teacher and current student. As a student preparing to be a teacher, Twitter can be a good resource for me to connect and share ideas with other current/future educators. This ability to connect with people in my field also offers me advantages when I am a certified teacher too. Not only will I be able to associate with those that share my same passions and interests but also to connect with the parents of my students. I can see using Twitter as a tool to keep the parents updated on current announcements, field trips, and just the everyday learning that takes place in the classroom. Twitter can offer numerous possibilities if I am just willing to give it a chance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Power Point Challenges

Our assignment was to create an interactive PowerPoint.  Since I am an Early Childhood Education major I created my PowerPoint for a 3rd grade English class.  First step was to locate a standard from Penn Dot Standards so I selected 3rd grade reading, writing, speaking and listening.  My objective for my PowerPoint was to help the students identify and interpret synonyms and antonyms used in a text. 

Since this was my first PowerPoint I encountered many challenges.  For example, I decided to embed a section of a YouTube video into my Power Point.  In order to do this I first had to research directions to embed a video, which led me to several online sources and eventually locating the directions.  Although I was successful in embedding the video; I was not able to edit the video to play only the section I wanted.  This process led me to research Free Studio 5 .  This is a free website that allowed me to crop the video. 

Overall, this was a great learning experience for me.  I have grown in my knowledge of technology.  Now that I have experienced and worked with PowerPoint I can see the potential of using this as a learning tool in my future classroom. 

Check out my  PowerPoint Project!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Our knowledge is only limited by our eagerness to search it out

            A powerful statement in the book Personal Learning Networks states, “…if we have access to the internet, we now have two billion potential teachers…” After contemplating the contents of chapter one it caused me to view PLNs in a whole new light.   As far as technology goes my experience and use is rather limited.  I have always been a person to shy away from using technology mostly because I lacked the knowledge of how to use it
            The concept of having insight from two billion teachers is extraordinary; affording enormous opportunities to students as well as teachers.  This allows the teacher the opportunity to fully engage the student in their education.  Subjects such as geography will come to life to the students making learning more exciting.   With the advancing technology, students who are unable to physically travel around the globe can experience places and their culture at any time.    
            Students eager about gaining knowledge become learners; they search out new ideas and think critically.  As stated by Stephen Downes, “…education is something we create for ourselves.”  The learning process is ongoing and relies on our capability and desire to expand our knowledge.  Information in textbooks is limited and becomes outdated relatively soon after printing but with the digital age new data can be discovered and updated.  Therefore our knowledge is only limited by our eagerness to search it out.