Friday, June 21, 2019

CUNY Teaches Lies About ELLs

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm all bent out of shape over the most recent iteration of CR Part 154. It cuts direct English instruction to English Language Learners, and instead places an ESL teacher in one of their subject classes a few times a week.

So if you're teaching the Pythagorean  theorem today, and it takes 45 minutes to explain to the native English speakers, you will teach it, plus the requisite language, to ELLs in the same 45 minutes. You will do that because the ESL teacher is there (or not, depending on which day it happens to be).

My friend told me she was studying to get her ESL certification, and the professor told the class that this was wonderful. The students would get enhanced instruction, and would get the benefit of INTEGRATED ENL!!! (ENL, of course, is English as a NEW Language, rather than a second language.)

Actually, there's nothing wrong with the idea of integrated ENL. The problem is ELLs need more time, and NY State has given them less. They've cut ESL classes, placed ESL teachers in "core classes," and they somehow expect teachers to offer not only the subject, but also all the requisite English and cultural cues in the same time it takes to teach native English speakers the subject alone.

That's beyond absurd.

Yet this college professor (and likely as not others) is presenting this as though it's a step forward. However, this college professor is either a. stupid b. hopelessly ignorant c. woefully uninformed, or more likely d. all of the above. Maybe he went to a state workshop where they professed this nonsense, but I fail to see how it's different from watching Fox and determining Sarah Huckabee is the bestest press secretary ever.The worst part, though, is that it isn't one professor, According to my friend, just about all have drunk the Kool-Aid.

It's disappointing that our future teachers are paying good money to hear alternative facts. I'd argue that facing reality is a pretty high priority for students, teachers, and that it's not too large a demand for teachers of teachers either. I'll be standing on a soapbox by myself, though, since this nonsense is so widely accepted.

Oddly, once teachers actually procure jobs, they're likely as not to find they're running about like headless chickens, going twice a week to this class, twice a week to that class, once to some other, and that they have 15 co-teachers, none of with which there is any time to meet. There's a reason why NYC is perpetually out of compliance, and it's not because the system is easy to comply with.

I was shocked when my friend told me this story. I showed her the chart above and explained to her just how much more instruction ELLs got before it was released. They cut language instruction to the bone and gave newcomers absolutely nothing in return.

For that, they talk about what a great job they did, and tell professors it's a step forward. What it really is is sink or swim, a model that ought to have died some time in the last century. Remember in Annie Hall when they discuss how a shark must move forward to stay alive? ESL instruction in NY is that shark moving backward. It's so disgraceful I'm amazed Betsy DeVos herself didn't dream it up.
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