After mastering one language, students are expected to begin learning the same in their second language (Spanish or English) by the time they leave second grade.
Through the school the walls of the fifth grade of Patricia Lausanne are decorated with vocabulary words placed in English and Spanish.
Board / pizaron.
Anchor diagram / poster de estrategia.
Now that they are personal, Lausanne has worked hard to get the students to talk. She was able to bring students back to their group and pair work routine, where an English-speaking student and a Spanish-speaking student come together to support each other.
Lausanne recalls that it was difficult to practically involve students during the blockade. They turned off the cameras and did not talk to each other. Even after their initial return to campus, students still remained virtual.
Many Garcia Elementary School students do not have Wi-Fi at home. The district deployed Wi-Fi buses in neighborhoods and issued access points, but Lausanne students still struggled with the intermittent signal. Parents concerned about their children’s success chose personal classes in April 2021, when it became optional.
“They would just look or say a few words,” says Lausanne. “They didn’t practice language with their peers, and they were shy.”
There was a big gap when these new bilinguals returned to campus, not only with scholars but also with confidence in speaking English. Lausanne’s fifth-graders were in third grade when virtual learning began, she says, and many English-speaking students had no one to practice with at home.
After Lausanne brought the students back to class, her strategy to get them to open up was to create games from group work, where the students who interacted the most with each other received points and participated in weekly raffles. Gradually, their discussions got longer.
“I’ve noticed a big improvement,” Lausanne says.
A broader view
When Villegas surveyed bilingual education professions across the country, she found that the pandemic revealed which areas had invested in supporting these programs and which were lagging behind.
Schools that had strong curricula for English language learners found it easier to switch to distance learning, she said, and one state-level administrator told Vilegas that the pandemic had highlighted the need to talk to areas where older people continue to use , less successful models.
“This is a good indication of why these investments need to happen all the time, not just in the face of a pandemic or emergency,” Vilegas says. “But only because [students] Logging in does not mean that they have been able to participate in the training and curriculum. ”
Teachers were also overwhelmed, and bilingual students lost support. A Vilegas study found that teachers who taught English as a second language were diverted to the staff of general education classes, while in other cases general education teachers were involved in ESL duties without special training.
One model of bilingual learning involves removing students from core classes for structured English language learning, she adds, which prevents students from fully participating in these core classes.
“When they were already closed and transferred to another class and did not have access to the full range of academic courses, it also happened in remote conditions, but on steroids,” says Vilegas.