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Effective Strategies for ESL Learners (India Context)

#EmpowerWomen #Education #TeachersMatter #EdTech #Learning Many students struggle with reading when whole group instruction forms the core of the reading program. The objective of our research was to develop and evaluate a model that provides differentiated instruction for learning English as a second language.IMG_0531[1]

The key findings from this study indicate that differentiating instruction using our methodology improved the reading comprehension of 94% of the students by a minimum of three grade levels. An unexpected benefit was a positive change in the attitude and behavior of the students along with increased self-confidence.

For this research we used multiple assessments to gear instruction and we used these assessments to fine-tune on-going English Education in the classroom.

We used a QSI (Qualitative Spelling Inventory) to put students into groups.  Then we implemented an IRI (Informal Reading Inventory) to further fine-tune the grouping. We also regularly tested the students reading fluency and comprehension using DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), running records ( a tool used by teachers to identify reading behaviors) and IRI (Informal Reading Inventory). We recalibrated student reading by regularly testing using High-Frequency words (once a week). Then, using a rubric we taught them creative writing which is part of their required curriculum. This was done every day.

Ninety minutes each day was allotted for our program which included reading, writing and speaking. Students read leveled material and collaborated in small groups or pairs; these groupings are fluid as the needs within the classroom changed and the teacher managed the groupings as needs arose.

Important aspects of our program included using only positive language and encouragement to gear instruction. We also set classroom rules and procedures and expected students to follow these rules. They did so with the help of their parents. We found that students can work independently when an adult or a more competent peer assists them. It is clear that they don’t learn just from teachers or professors alone but also from each other.

We implemented these teaching techniques throughout the 5-month period (From September 2013 – February 2014) during this research project in India. Our baseline results showed 86% of the students were reading below grade level when we started.

At the end of the program, 94% of the students had increased their reading levels by 3 grade levels or higher. Reading fluency had improved from 25 to 75%, and 45% of the students improved their creative writing skills during the seven week program.

The research was done by Rema Menon and Prema Nedungadi, Amrita University, India.

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