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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Applying Theories and Research-Based Best Practices in English Language Teaching and Learning for ELLs

The underlying principles of English language teaching and learning are grounded in current and historical theories and research. Teachers of ELLs are expected to apply theories and research on language acquisition/learning to the classroom, possess a proficient knowledge of linguistic concepts and the English language, and employ effective methods and strategies to support the language and academic learning of ELLs.
In 1,000-1,250 words, write an essay explaining theories, linguistic concepts, and research-based teaching practices for supporting ELL learning. Include the following in your essay:
• Explain how to apply current and historical theories and research in second language acquisition and developmental processes of language to construct a learning environment that supports language and literacy development and content area achievement for ELLs.
• Describe language processes that facilitate and monitor ELLs’ language learning in English. Include the following concepts related to interlanguage and language progressions: positive/negative language transfer, overgeneralization, interference, and fossilization.
• Describe a minimum of three key research-based methods and strategies for utilizing the native language and language transfer from L1 to L2 to support ELLs.
Support your essay with 3-5 scholarly resources.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide.

Benchmark – Applying Theories And Research-Based Best Practices

Applying Theories and Research-Based Best Practices in English Language Teaching and Learning for ELLs

English Language Learners (ELLs) face unique challenges when acquiring English as a second language. To effectively support their language and academic learning, teachers need to apply current and historical theories and research in second language acquisition. Additionally, possessing a proficient knowledge of linguistic concepts and employing effective methods and strategies is crucial. This essay explores how to create a supportive learning environment, discusses language processes that facilitate and monitor ELLs’ language learning, and outlines research-based methods and strategies for utilizing the native language and language transfer to support ELLs.

Applying Theories and Research to Construct a Learning Environment:
To create an inclusive and supportive learning environment for ELLs, it is essential to incorporate current and historical theories and research on second language acquisition and language development. The following strategies can be employed:
a. Communicative Approach: The communicative approach emphasizes meaningful communication and interaction in the target language. Teachers should design activities that promote active participation, authentic language use, and real-world applications. This approach encourages ELLs to develop both fluency and accuracy in English.

b. Content-Based Instruction: Content-based instruction integrates language and content learning, providing ELLs with opportunities to develop language skills while engaging with academic subjects. Teachers can design lessons that incorporate language objectives alongside content objectives, ensuring that language and literacy development align with subject-area achievement.

c. Sheltered Instruction: Sheltered instruction involves modifying content and language instruction to make academic content more accessible to ELLs. Teachers should use simplified language, visual aids, and hands-on activities to enhance comprehension. This approach supports ELLs’ language development while enabling them to access grade-level content.

Language Processes Facilitating and Monitoring ELLs’ Language Learning:
Several language processes influence ELLs’ language acquisition. Understanding these concepts can help teachers identify and address common challenges. Key concepts related to interlanguage and language progressions include:
a. Positive/Negative Language Transfer: Positive transfer occurs when a student’s first language (L1) positively influences their second language (L2) learning. Teachers should identify and leverage shared linguistic features to enhance comprehension and acquisition. Negative transfer, on the other hand, involves the interference of L1 structures, which may lead to errors. Teachers should address these errors explicitly through corrective feedback.

b. Overgeneralization: Overgeneralization is a common occurrence during language learning, where ELLs apply a rule or structure inappropriately to situations where it does not apply. Teachers can address overgeneralization by providing explicit instruction on exceptions and irregularities within the English language.

c. Interference: Interference refers to the influence of the learner’s L1 on their L2. This can manifest as interference in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, or cultural expressions. Teachers should be aware of potential areas of interference and provide targeted instruction to address these challenges.

d. Fossilization: Fossilization occurs when errors or non-standard language forms persist in an individual’s interlanguage despite continued exposure to the target language. Teachers should employ strategies such as error correction, scaffolding, and targeted feedback to mitigate fossilization and support ongoing language development.

Research-Based Methods and Strategies for Utilizing Native Language and Language Transfer:
Research has shown that utilizing a student’s native language (L1) and facilitating language transfer from L1 to L2 can greatly support ELLs’ language learning. Here are three key research-based methods and strategies:
a. Translanguaging: Translanguaging involves intentionally and strategically using both the students’ L1 and L2 in the classroom. This approach recognizes the value of students’ linguistic resources and encourages meaningful language use. Teachers can promote translanguaging by allowing students to use their L1 when discussing challenging concepts or during collaborative activities.

b. Contrastive Analysis: Contrastive analysis compares the linguistic features of the L1 and L2 to identify potential areas of difficulty or interference. By identifying linguistic differences and similarities, teachers can design targeted instruction that addresses specific challenges ELLs may face during L2 acquisition.

c. Code-Switching: Code-switching refers to the alternating use of two or more languages within a single conversation or discourse. Controlled and purposeful code-switching can serve as a scaffolding technique, allowing ELLs to access content and demonstrate understanding while gradually transitioning to increased L2 use.

English language teaching and learning for ELLs should be grounded in theories, linguistic concepts, and research-based practices. By applying current and historical theories, educators can construct a learning environment that supports language and literacy development, as well as content area achievement. Understanding language processes such as positive/negative language transfer, overgeneralization, interference, and fossilization enables teachers to monitor and facilitate ELLs’ language learning effectively. Finally, employing research-based methods and strategies, such as translanguaging, contrastive analysis, and code-switching, harnesses the power of the students’ native language and facilitates language transfer, thereby enhancing ELLs’ language acquisition and overall academic success.

(Note: The references provided below are examples and should be cited according to the guidelines of the APA Style Guide.)

Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire. Multilingual Matters.

Ellis, R. (2008). The study of second language acquisition (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Pergamon Press.

Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2013). How languages are learned (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Valdés, G. (2001). Learning and not learning English: Latino students in American schools. Teachers College Press.

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