Before the start of a school day in the middle of the school year, a colleague of yours who is in his first year of teaching comes to you flustered and stressed because he has a new ELL student starting in his class. The student is a refugee who has had limited and interrupted formal education. After looking at the student’s English language proficiency level and other limited assessment data, your colleague blurts out in exasperation that the student does not know anything and there is no way he can catch the student up academically.
How do you approach a conversation with this colleague? What do you say to support the new teacher in developing an asset-based approach to ELLs?
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What instructional strategies, tools, and resources can you incorporate into your lessons to utilize ELLs’ background knowledge and activate prior knowledge? Reflect on a recent content area lesson you have taught or observed and provide a specific example of how the lesson built on background knowledge or activated prior knowledge of students. Alternatively, provide a specific suggestion for addressing background/prior knowledge, if not observed.