What Emergent Bilinguals Need to Be Successful This Year
In 2020, the pandemic shed new light on the ways schools and districts engage, teach, and measure the success of Emergent Bilingual students. As administrators and educators navigate post-pandemic education, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of these students. What are the keys to their success?
Parent involvement helps, along with the use of heritage language
Whether at home or in school, parent/caregiver support is essential to drive better outcomes for Emergent Bilingual students. Research connects increased parent engagement to better student attitudes, improved academic performance, and a reduction in dropout rates (NEA, 2019).
The use of heritage language by those at home has a significant impact on learning, as well. Evidence shows that educational programs that incorporate the heritage language can help students achieve higher levels of academic success than those in English-only programs (Genesee, 2010).
Find out how you can better support parents for successful Emergent Bilingual learning in our white paper.
Students need opportunities to practice speaking
While incorporating heritage language is important, it’s equally as vital to provide students with opportunities to practice speaking English. Ultimately, to learn a language, you have to speak it.
- Research shows that students are more engaged when they’re participating in group discussions or actively presenting (Yair, 2000).
- Classrooms where students talk more show greater learning (Fisher, Frey & Rothenberg, 2008).
- For language learning specifically, speaking is critical for practice and feedback (Swain, 1995).
Looking ahead: Ensuring success for Emergent Bilinguals
Taking all of this into account, what can educators and administrators do to help ensure the success of their Emergent Bilingual students?
- Enable small-group interactions for more speaking practice—this is easier to do in person, but it can also be achieved virtually via small-group Google Meet sessions or Zoom breakout rooms
- Provide one-on-one time with educators—again, this can be done either face to face or virtually; educators should be sure to ask critical-thinking questions to not only get Emergent Bilinguals talking, but to also support and enhance their academic language skills
- Encourage parent/caregiver involvement and the use of heritage language—as the evidence shows, this can enhance both academic subject-matter and language learning; for practical tips about how to do this remotely, read our blog post about Emergent Bilingual remote learning
Choosing the right language learning program for Emergent Bilinguals
For all learning models, another key to success for Emergent Bilingual students is the right edtech learning solution—one designed specifically for them. Used both in the classroom and at home, educational technology has been shown to be beneficial for language learning, especially the use of speech recognition to provide practice and pronunciation feedback in a safe, nonjudgmental space (Golonka, et al., 2014).
The right solution for Emergent Bilinguals should:
- Increase English language proficiency levels
- Teach academic language and grammar skills
- Enhance student engagement and motivation
- Instill linguistic competence and confidence
- Target and personalize instruction
- Support educational equity
- Improve academic outcomes
- Incorporate culturally responsive pedagogies
As educators move forward, an increasing variety of needs will be reflected in the classroom throughout pandemic recovery. A language-rich environment supported with proven educational tools fosters success for Emergent Bilinguals.
Say Hello to Lexia English
As the number of Emergent Bilingual students continues to increase nationwide, educators and district administrators need efficient ways to ensure better academic outcomes for every learner while equipping teachers with needed resources.
Lexia® English can help. This state-of-the-art English language learning solution was created to help Emergent Bilingual students reach their academic potential and is designed from an asset-based orientation. The program incorporates culturally responsive pedagogies that support individualized learning paths for each learner. Lexia English creates an environment that includes and values all students and supports educators with simple, actionable data and reports to ensure academic success and better learning outcomes for all.
How does adaptive blended learning in Lexia English support Emergent Bilingual students? Explore how the future is now when educators combine human and artificial intelligence in the English language acquisition classroom with Maya Goodall.
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