How much information should I convey about my students when describing my class?
When describing your class, your response should give a sense of the class variety, significant subgroups of students with similar characteristics, and exceptional individuals. You do not need to describe each individual. Subgroups can be described within the identified areas in the question: a) academic development; b) language development (this includes academic development – the fluency that students have with the formal language used in school settings); c) social development; and d) socio-economic and cultural context. Be sure that your descriptions are based on your observations of your students; learning and developmental strengths and needs and not based on stereotypes associated with their ethnic, cultural, or socio-economic backgrounds.
Remember that the question asks you to focus on key factors that influence your planning and teaching of this Learning Segment. Try to concentrate on your students’ strengths and needs that are most relevant to the specific Learning Segment for the Teaching Event. In many cases, you will know more information about your students, but you should focus on the relevant issues that affect your planning, instruction, and assessment decisions for the Learning Segment being documented.
What is the difference between “English learners” and students who are proficient as English speakers?
On the context for learning form, you are asked to identify both how many students are “English learners” and how many students are proficient in English speakers. “English learners” refers to second language learners who are not yet fluent in English. In some cases the rest of the students in your class will be proficient in English speakers. However, some students are native English speakers and speak dialects of the English, not the academic English use in classrooms, and you do not consider them proficient in academic English. In these cases, the number of “English learners” plus the number of proficient in English speakers will not add up to the total number of students in the classroom.
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