The Affective and Social Needs of English Language Learners
With a goal of exploring the impact of English language learners' (ELLs) affective and social needs on academic achievement, this paper examines the issue from four frameworks: the learner, the learning environment, the curriculum and instructional strategies, and, finally, assessment. The framework of the learner addresses issues such as self-confidence, inhibition, attitude, the need for positive adult models, and the need to belong and contribute as they relate to language learning and academic achievement. The section detailing the learning environment explores the critical role of the teacher, the importance of high expectations, the influence of peers, the physical classroom arrangement, and the presence of native languages. The critical need for comprehensible input, the use of cooperative grouping, providing students with opportunities for success, and giving ample wait time are all issues examined in light of curriculum and instructional strategies. In addition, this section briefly outlines and explains several language instruction approaches including the Natural Approach, the Language-Experience Approach, and the Counseling-Learning Approach, as well as bilingual instruction. The last framework of assessment addresses the limitations of traditional paper and pencil assessment and emphasizes the need for authentic assessment and continuous feedback. Finally, the essay concludes with a section describing how the above insights impact practice.
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