ELL students struggle to learn new language


Picture yourself in a 35-student classroom in a non-English speaking country. Whether it’s literature, mathematics, science, or history, the predicament of you not speaking or comprehending their language is still intact. A plethora of words you don’t conceive go from one ear and out the other all through the day. Your teacher speaks no English through the fray, but one paraeducator speaks English and gives you sporadic help. As many as 20 other fellow language learners sit nearby. They are the few who understand your English language.

Portrayed in this allusion is the situation that at least 174 students at PRHS face every day. Some English Language Learners (ELLs) have been moved from sheltered, smaller classes set aside in previous years to now sit in classrooms daily with questionable support from the school.

This predicament is a crisis with many sides and many solutions. Teachers in EL classes lack Spanish speaking abilities. Administrative decisions in regards to money and teaching assignments are over enrolling too many ELs into one class size. Teachers–at their wit’s end– report that their classes are the most difficult they have ever taught. School growth, beyond administrative control,


has demanded maximum class sizes. Obstacles face students in the form of few bilingual paraeducators and worries about graduation.

State and federal laws and audits obligate school districts and organizations to shape EL programs and related accommodations.


School districts must not show discrimination through any race, color, or national origin. Schools are required to take “affirmative steps” for all students to be involved and have an efficient and supporting education through their course of life.

Yet as a snapshot of the problem facing scores of students, one anonymous student revealed that not only is he perplexed with the course assigned to him as a class, but only feels supported when a paraeducator is present. Students confide that often times teachers will attempt to help their understanding, but feel unsupported by classmates as everyone is at their own pace in a selfish matter, ignoring their neighbor’s struggle.

It is time for awareness to increase and action to take place.

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