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Posted by Webmaster
December 1, 2014

What's the Difference Between ELD and ESL?

When I am asked the question,”What’s the difference between ELD and ESL?” my pat answer is usually: “ELD is California, and ESL is the rest of the country and the world.” But there’s more to it than that. In this article I will explain the similarities as well as distinctions between these two terms.

English Language Development (ELD) and English as a Second Language (ESL) are the same name for a program designed for students with a second or primary language. These students have been given the following designations in the United States: Limited English Proficient (LEP), Bilingual Learners (BLs), Second Language Learners (SLLs), English Language Acquisition Learners (ELALs), English as a Second Language students (ESLs), and the most current, English Language Learners (ELL).

Since the late 1990’s in the United States, both ELD and ESL have been defined by performance standards set by each state. In heavily English learner-impacted states such as California and Texas, ELD/ESL standards are closely associated with grade level English language arts (ELA) standards for English-only students. A “freeway-roadway” analogy is often drawn, with grade level ELA standards as the “freeway” and the ELD/ESL standards as the “roadway.” An “on ramp” from the roadway to the freeway represents the transition, or as some people believe, the departure from deficit-style education and entry into mainstream education.

The distinction between ELD and ESL lies in the way the standards are translated into classroom materials by educational publishers. “ELD” publishers generally interpret the standards from a compensatory or deficit point of view. In other words English language arts materials are in effect “rescripted” from grade level to “intervention” level (two or more years below grade level). For example, a third grade 12-page anthology story¬--developed fully with scaffolds like strategies, multi-level questions, and beautiful pictures-- is typically pared down to a one-page summary with no scaffolds, and contained in a consumable, black-and white-document called “ELD Supplement.” ELD materials developed in this vein are focused primarily on the development of reading skills. Even higher-end ELD materials fundamentally teach reading only, frequently reteaching the core English language arts program already in use. The result is the disjointing of reading from the other three language skills of listening, speaking, and writing.

Most “ESL” publishers create materials from the opposite point of view. The goal is the acquisition of English as a second language, taking into consideration the English learner’s current level of English language proficiency. There is usually a better balance between listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

The best ESL materials are those that present lessons where these skills not only mutually support one another; they also develop each as a skill in its own right. This means that listening receives a more central position than it is currently given, speaking is at the core, writing is preceded by listening and speaking, and reading is heavily scaffolded by listening, speaking, and writing.

Where can one find such a program? Search no longer, it is found on the pages of this website. It is called English Now!

English Now! is where ESL meets ELD. By design, English Now! directly addresses the needs of the English Language Learner who must travel up the roadway, over the ramp, and into the mainstream American education freeway at or above the speed limit. The vehicle is Task-Based language Teaching (TBLT) – a second language approach that has been gathering speed in Europe, Asia, and most of the world. In the United States, TBLT is just beginning the typically slow descent of second language theory and research from academia to K-12 education.

How does English Now! use TBLT? You can find out by examining the program yourself. Suffice it to say that English Now! integrates listening, speaking, writing, and reading seamlessly, and at the same time develops each in its own right. The result is that after a series of task-based lessons, the student at the intervention level is reading grade level texts with fluency and accuracy, is asking and answering reading comprehension questions using well-constructed sentences, and is writing rhetorically well-organized sentences and paragraphs. In the hands of effective teachers with sufficient instructional time, English Now! can move English Language Learners from “beginning” to “proficient” in one to two years (as opposed to the current five to seven years). What a concept!

See for yourself!

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger

This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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8 Reasons Why For Sure! is the Perfect Intervention:

Students will...

1. Learn to use phonics, sentence sense, and meaning cues to figure out unknown words.

2. Use speaking, listening, and writing to learn to read.

3. Internalize hundreds of informational academic vocabulary.

Teachers will...

4. Teach Essential Common Core language arts standards.

5. Teach strategic guided reading easily and effectively.

6. Have all the materials they need to teach reading.

7. Experience success and satisfaction as reading teachers.

8. Be able to use ROLA results to inform instruction in For Sure!

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger

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Cognitive Strategies

“Four sets of cognitive strategies – applied to listening, speaking, writing, and reading – enable second language learners to understand and produce new language. These are: practicing, receiving and sending messages, analyzing and reasoning, and creating structures for input and output.” (Rebecca Oxford, 1990)

English Now! provides students with plenty of opportunities to immediately practice what they are learning. One example is Backward Buildup, where they repeat words and phrases which are segmented from the back to the front of the sentence, enabling them to recognize sentence patterns and word boundaries.

Students also employ the cognitive strategy receiving and sending messages by using the Question Cue Card, which they use as a questioning resource to quickly get the idea that has just been presented.

In all English Now! levels, students employ analyzing and reasoning strategies. For example, in phonemic awareness, they analyze minimal pairs of sounds contrastively according to how and where they are made in the mouth. While listening to an audio story, they use deductive reasoning to place picture cards in sequence. In writing, they analyze three writing samples that vary in sentence complexity, then transfer what they learned to their own writing.

Finally, students create structures for input and output. In English Now! C they learn how to take notes of an oral interview (input), summarize their notes (output), share their notes with the teacher and partners (output-input), and finally, write an expository essay using their notes, incorporating their partner’s and teacher’s input into their own writing. In English Now! D, they highlight important information (input), explain what they highlighted to partners (output), transfer this highlighted information to an outline (output), and write a five-paragraph persuasive essay (output).

Thus, the input-output-input-output process is strategic in nature, because the communicative goal is achieved through a structured process of assessment, planning, and execution, which, according to linguists like Bachman, comprise the elements of strategic competence (Bachman, 1990).

The examples listed above are just a few of several cognitive strategies used in English Now! Clearly, these strategies bring tremendous benefits to students, enabling them to self-direct their learning quickly, effectively, and enjoyably.

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger
Bachman, L. (1990). Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lord, quoted in Hague, S. A. (1987). Vocabulary instruction: What L2 can learn from L1.Foreign Language Annals,20(3), p. 221.
Oxford, R. (1990).Language Learning Strategies. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

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Language Learning Strategies

“Language learning strategies encourage overall self-direction for learners…Self-direction is essential to the active development of ability in a new language.” (Rebecca Oxford, 1990)

Oxford distinguishes between two broad categories of language strategies: direct and indirect. Direct strategies directly involve the target language, and are composed of three groups: memory, cognitive, and compensation strategies. Indirect strategies are those used for general management of learning, and are made up of metacognitive, affective, and social strategies.

My next six emails will highlight language learning strategies used in English Now! that apply these six categories of strategies. Today we will focus on memory strategies.

Memory Strategies

Memory strategies have a highly specific function: helping students store and retrieve new information. According to Lord (1987) learners must employ memory strategies to learn new vocabulary because “Vocabulary is by far the most sizable and unmanageable component in the learning of any language … because of tens of thousands of words with different meanings.”

The most common memory strategy used in English Now! A/B is RASP (Repeat by All, by Some, then by one Person). RASP is powerful because it combines four sets of memory strategies: (a) creating mental linkages, (b) applying images and sounds, (c) reviewing well, and (d) employing actions.

In English Now! C, students use the Link Word Strategy, where they make visual links between the new word and a familiar one, where both links are meaningful to the learner. A key concept is placed at the center, and related words and concepts are linked to it by means of circles and lines.

Because of the expectation in English Now! to use language as the “speedway” to literacy, a significant number of memory strategies are employed. These help students learn large numbers of vocabulary words, phrases, and grammatical forms and remember them “on demand.” Students then use them to communicate and to demonstrate listening and reading comprehension.

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger
Lord, quoted in Hague, S. A. (1987). Vocabulary instruction: What L2 can learn from L1. Foreign Language Annals, 20(3), p. 221.

Oxford, R. (1990). Language Learning Strategies. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

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Teaching and Learning

“Research has shown that teachers who focus students’ attention on linguistic form during communicative interactions are more effective than those who never focus on form or who do so in decontextualized grammar lessons.“ (Spada and Lightbown, 1993)

Form And Function

Odlin (1994) proposes that grammar lessons for second language learners be designed on the basis of their communicative needs, considering the language functions they will encounter. It is therefore essential to teach students that meaning can be expressed in a variety of ways using various grammar forms, and often there is no single “correct way” to express a particular meaning.

Communicative Grammar Lesson Using Explicit Instruction

English Now! operationalizes the four-part framework proposed by Fotos (2001), which promotes acquisition through meaning-focused use of the form in communicative activities.

Step 1: Using an advance organizer (Ausebel, 1968), the teacher announces the objectives and links the new grammar lesson to what the students already know. She then presents the new grammar content using either a deductive or inductive approach. (pre-task phase)

Step 2: Students work in pairs or in groups to perform a structure-based communicative task which contains multiple uses of the structure. (task phase)

Step 3: The teacher reviews the target structures, commenting on her observations, correcting errors, and clarifying misunderstandings that she observed. (task phase)

Step 4: Students practice the structures, transferring what they learned to a different context or to a different language domain. Frequently, this is in the form of an “extension task” which is to be performed with peers or adults outside of the classroom. (post-task phase)

The “spiral” review of recently instructed material within increasingly broader contexts, has been found to be an important memory strategy for the successful development of explicit knowledge and an awareness of form-meaning relationships (see Cohen, 1998).

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger
Ausubel, D. (1968). Educational psychology. New York: Holt, Rinehard, and Winston.

Cohen, A.D., and S.J. Weaver (1998). Strategies-based instruction for second language learners. In Learners and Language Learning, Ed. By W.A. Reyandya and G.M. Jacobs. Anthology Series 39. Singapore:SEAMEO Regional Language Center.
Fotos, S. (2001). Cognitive approaches to grammar instruction. In Celce Murcia, 3rd Ed. Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle. Odlin (1994). Perspectives on pedagogical grammar. New York: Cambridge University Press. Spada N., and P. Lightbown (1993). Instruction and the development of questions in the L2 classroom. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 15(2):205-221.

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Teaching and Learning New and Important Vocabulary

“The teacher who really teaches, that is, who really works with contents within the context of methodological exactitude, will deny as false the hypocritical formula, ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ Whoever is engaged in ‘right thinking’ knows only too well that words not given body (made flesh) have little or no value. Right thinking is right doing.“ (Paolo Freire)

Nagy (1988) observed that most instruction in vocabulary succeeded in giving students only partial knowledge of the words taught. Echoing Freire, he ins¬isted that students need intensive instruction aimed at producing richer, deeper word knowledge, because such instruction reliably increases readers’ comprehension of texts containing these words.

De Carrico (2001) added that that new and important words and phrases be presented in contexts rich enough to provide clues to meaning and that students be given multiple exposures to them.

What is “rich and deep enough”? In English Now! A/B, it means introducing vocabulary using available realia, large colorful photographs of nouns and verbs, the same nouns and verbs cut out by students and stored in nifty little card boxes, and used in big books, student books, storybooks, and CD-ROMs. The verbs are contextualized through simulation and mime. Most important of all, the meanings of new and important words are explained, practiced, discussed, read, written, and used in conversation with peers and adults inside and outside the classroom, school, and home.

This “rich and deep word knowledge” principle is what prompted English Now! developers to design English Now! A/B such that vocabulary words in challenging texts are developed deeply through listening, speaking, writing, and reading. Before Lesson 1, the target storybook is likely to be only10% comprehensible to beginning English learners. By Lesson 13, when they encounter the text for the first time, they will have richly and deeply learned the meanings of 95% of the new and important words in the text.

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger
DeCarrico, J.S. in Celce Murcia, Ed (2001). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. London: Thomson Learning.

Freire, P., 30th Ed. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
Nagy, W. E (1989). Teaching vocabulary to improve reading comprehension. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

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Listening Tasks for Those with Zero Competence in L2 (English)

Simple listening tasks … can cater to the ‘silent period,’ (Krashen, 1981) which characterizes the early stages of acquisition for some learners.

Each English Now! A/B vocabulary/grammar lesson begins with listening to and executing commands using large noun and verb picture cards. These are introduced via a variation of the Total Physical Response strategy (Asher, 1982) called RASP, Repeat by All, by Some, then by one Person. Validated by Ellis (2004), this manner of vocabulary introduction provides a non-threatening way of engaging beginning learners in a meaning-centered activity and, thereby, of developing proficiency that later on, can be used in production tasks.

In English Now! A/B, the production tasks follow the listening task when the students have sufficiently comprehended the target vocabulary. Thus, by the “Evaluation” step of the lesson, they will have “outputted the input” through speaking and writing. Users of English Now! A/B have found that the immediate inclusion of writing and reading in a primarily listening and speaking task does not slow down the acquisition of vocabulary. On the contrary, vocabulary built up in this manner provides the “frontloading” necessary to comprehend the challenging reading text that is to come in just a few lessons.

Posted by Erlinda Teisinger
Asher, J. (1982). Learning Another Language Through Actions: The Complete Teacher’s Guidebook. Los Gatos, CA: Sky Oaks.

Ellis, R. (2004). Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Krashen, S. (1981). Second Language Acquisition and second Language Learning. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

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