ELL Journal

Module 6: Professional Portfolio

Patrick Sin


From before:


Want to know


already know or believe to be true about learning and/or teaching ESL

four or five areas you want to explore further

what you have learned about language learning and teaching

- Many levels of ELL: from A to F

- Some can be from countries that has few Eng opportunities, but also others had grown up in Cda

- Learning English takes time (can be 10 yrs)

- Some aspects are similar to IELTS, TOEFL, COPE exams but those are for university applications

- Many resources from Ministry: www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/esleldprograms/guide.html

- How to apply culturally appropriate materials to the classroom, or does introducing “Canadian” materials have more importance?

- How to identify difficult words: basal words

- How can this applied in FSL/International lang

- How to anticipate student needs in the first week and access if they need support (especially if there are no ELL teachers in a private school)

- “Extrinsic motivation plays a minor role in language learning”; opposite of baseline classroom norms

- “Language learners acquire the grammatical features of a language in a predictable order when language learning occurs naturally.”; is this because of grammar is seen as a separation of class levels of society?

-  “First language use should be discouraged as much as possible in the classroom.” is often implied


My W questions did get answered. Expectations for students would vary greatly, and even assessments from the STEP process varies between teachers for the same student. From my key areas of learning and growth, I have learned most of what I knew before was often our own outward experience, rather than what is actually a set of norms. For example, in the last module, Samantha was able to use the social media app Wechat to use in class to support classroom activities. One can only wonder if the social networking feature of popular chat apps would this work in my classroom.

I was challenged that first language does not need to be a “banned” by teachers in a school, but can encourage students to be able to consistently develop the English fluency when they are in school. I was not surprised that grammar is shown last, because many experience and studies we read in the course recommended establishing the high-frequency words that students encounter in class and the general flow of sentences; before reaching grammar.


Visions from module 2

I am satisfied with the visions I had, but would add that first impressions are great, but supporting ELL learners should a long-term goal that may last to near a decade, just as some SERTS sometimes stay in touch with a student over several years.

I would reinforce that the unwritten goal of the third point is to be flexible, and adjust our instructions based on how a given student is on the STEP continuum, and based on our observations over a period of time (often over a month or more).