ELL Students in English

ELL+Students+in+English

Kimberly Ramirez, Multi-Media Specialist

ELL is a class for students who are just learning English or in the Process of Learning. Mr. Schemmel is an ELL teacher for English Level 1 and English Level  2. Schemmel teaches two levels, one class. In the first class has 26 students and another level 1 class, there are 29 students. More than 20 of those students have just arrived in the United States. Most of level 2 students are students from Level 1 class from last year. 

Schemmel finds it challenging to teach the class, especially since most of the students don’t all speak English. Schemmel teaches at a pace where it’s in their level, so they will be able to understand. Schemel also adds, ”They read interesting, simple books at their level of English development, so they can read it and talk about it.” However, Schemmel finds the most challenging thing isn’t the language barrier; it’s the lack of previous schooling. Most of the students have missed so much school in their country, that some of the challenges lay in the content. “One of the hardest things for them here,” Schemmel said, “is math. They really struggle in math, mostly because the math is discussion and they can’t really participate”.

Despite the struggle in math, “Attendance is really good, they all come to school on time, they are here, they want to learn, and are trying to do their best.”

In the level 1 class, most of the students speak Spanish, most of them come from Central America, places like Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Although most of the class are Hispanic, there are also other students from Gambia, Africa, Iraq, Vietnam, Ukraine, Bellerose, and Russia.

 Schemmel says, “484 ELL students are attending Mariner, and that is the most I have seen in my last 17 years of teaching.”  Out of those students, more than 150 students don’t take ELL classes due to being a Junior/Senior because they passed the SBA test. Schemmel states that “In my 17 years of teaching that is of the biggest change I’ve ever seen”. 

In Schemmel’s 4th- period class, three kids were asked questions about their experience in the classroom.

Eduin Pereira, a Sophomore, finds that he enjoys the class and finds the learning process fairly easy. However, he finds some points of the class rather tricky, “writing is sometimes hard and confusing.” 

 Fatima Viscarra, a Freshman, was asked the same questions, she says she also enjoys the class, although it is sometimes difficult for her.

Josue Molina was also one of the students who was asked about his experience in the classroom, “ The classwork is easy. It’s just the memorizations that is difficult.”

 

Stephanie Casino, a teacher at Mariner, opens up a new perspective on the ways of learning English. Casino, whose first language isn’t English, finds that Learning English Grammar and English Speech is different. “Well, it took me a while to actually learn – there’s a difference between learning English Grammar and English Speech. I learned English grammar pretty early on. Thankfully my single Mom made sure we went to the best schools while in the Philippines. I wasn’t the best learner, but I strived and persevered.” 

Casino found it challenging to pronounce words that contain -ough, -ious, -ion, -iou, -ore, -are and silent letters. She explains, “I was held back from a grade one year and then was placed in advancement in another year, so my education was so varied.” 

Casino kept practicing her American accent and continues to practice. She has almost lost her accent, she says. “I did, however, almost got rid of my accent, and most people think I was born in America due to my English speech.”

Additionally, Casino found reading very dislikeable, “It was a hard learning process because it actually made me hate reading. I remembered when my teacher would say, please read silently. I would just whisper very softly instead and she’d get so annoyed with me and asked me to practice and learn more at home.” 

 

Despite all the difficulties, she believes she’s still learning, she has grown so much over the years. Casino said reading and practicing bettered her English, and she would recomend practicing to someone who doesn’t speak English. She also suggests, “DO NOT EVER GIVE UP!” And to keep asking questions. She adds, “and if people ever make fun of you, just laugh it off or even laugh with them because the joke is on them, not you.  English learners are actually smarter because we can think in dual (2 different) languages”.