In most countries, the numbers of children who don't speak English as their first language is becoming issues of concern as a result of the English language learners compose one of the rapidly growing populations of students in America. Most of the children enrolled at school have a limited proficiency in English language and have different levels of skills and literacy in English.at least one in every five students comprise the ELL in the public schools and the numbers seem to be at an increase. The goal of reading is comprehension. However, reading and comprehension can be a difficult skill to be understood by the English Language learning (ELL) students. As a result, ELL students normally encounter difficulties in mastering the different subjects such as math's, science or religious studies concepts taught in school. Therefore, such students do not comprehend on what is read on the textbooks in regards to the subjects they are learning. With the increase in continuity of the United States' student's diversity in linguistics, there is the need for educators to develop effective techniques for dealing with the ELL students. As a result, there is a challenge and problem faced by the school psychologists nowadays with the problems encountered by the ELL students as a result of the language barriers which limit their learning and studies at school (Ashwin, 2003a). A look into the strategies that will facilitate and help in the ELL students' development of proficient skills in reading that are not only beneficial to the psychologist in the schools that deal with the clinical decisions in regards to the ELL students, but also it will help the teachers who encounter the everyday problem in helping make instructional decisions in regards to what is taught to the ELL students.
There is essentialness in the creation of a conducive learning environment to determine the students' success when working with the ELL students thus; it becomes critical making use of the instructional strategies that have supported empirically the affectivity of the high population of students. The recent legislation has increased the educator's pressure to make schools yearly progress adequate requiring the institutions faced with a high population of ELL students to require to establish successful approaches to make an inclusion to such students while ensuring the student's maximum success. An exemption of students who are not early enough reached and have never had a successful experience in academics may begin developing a negative failure cycle. In an attempt to improve the English language learning student's competence in reading and comprehension, there is need to implement peer-assisted learning and the reinforcement of blooms taxonomy.
Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL)
Peer teaching-learning is a very developed concept. It is traceable back to use of archons by Aristotle, or the young institutional leaders, as well as to the younger Seneca's letters. It was initially planned as Scotsman Andrew Bell's theory in 1795, but it was later implemented in English schools in the early 19th C (Mathes, Torgesen & Allor, 2001). Over the past four to five decades, peer teaching is increasingly becoming more famous with its ability to bring students together in public schools and serves as a more cost-efficient teaching method. Peer-assisted learning enables cooperative learning by class division into classmates of smaller groups, with every group having a leader responsible of administering the group and teaching the rest of the members (Saenz Fuchs & Fuchs, 2005). Extensively, there is teamwork building enhanced among all the students when they interact and engage each other in activities aimed at advancing their English skills. PAL therefore contributes to development and creation of leaders where they are identified early enough by leading the rest of the group members thus, plays role in the generation of leaders and encourage participation of all members by everyone contributing uniquely to the performance of the group in regards to the task assigned.
Peer-assisted learning comprises of students in the year above and those with higher understanding capacity creating a forum for sessions of discussion with students in the lower classes. This form of education is very beneficial to the new students as well as the ELL students as it facilitates the transition to the education of higher level and enriching learning since it involves students with higher ability and has undergone through the transition process. English language learners in school need directions aimed at supporting the acquisition of content area knowledge whereas encouraging the acquisition of language and comprehension reading. In understanding the importance of implementation of peer-assisted learning, there is need to familiarize with the comprehension reading among other problems encountered by the English language learning students. According to a research conducted, on most occasions, the students lacked the motivation to acquire skills in English, lacked English vocabulary and did not have the fundamental knowledge of the material used in the English language (Capstick & Fleming, 2001). Additionally, there is lack of a common media to facilitate the process of teaching, thus motivates the teacher towards searching alternate strategies in solving the students reading and comprehension problems. Peer-assisted learning is one of the best strategies for improving the ELL students' skills and reading and comprehension if well implemented.
Peer-assisted learning has had a number of pedagogical advantages. First, it improves the performance of the student as well as widening the retention of students. The ELL student who completely get involved in the process of learning by investing their time on others, thus spend with them handling special education tasks with them, have a higher probability of learning more, whereas they pass more knowledge to their counterparts. Similarly, there has been more retention in students as it has been illustrated to have more economic advantages to the school. From a point of view of the curriculum, there has been comprehensive study undertaken in regards to the quality data which led to the conclusion that there are tremendous positive results for ELLs who have participated in PAL as a result of the meaningful outcomes.
According to a definition by Henning, et.al (2012), PAL is an act of procedural knowledge gain, acknowledging, or the experiences from students that have either different or academic as well as levels of experiences that are equal. This implies that in the process of PAL, there is pairing by the students which facilitates the transfer of knowledge. During the process, the best-performing students acquire a good understanding of the information provided and passed to. Similarly, Topping (2009) makes a description of PAL as getting knowledge and experience by actively being in aid and support between equal status and companion of an equal match. Since PAL comprises of individuals from a common grouping of social people, peer learning provides an equal opportunity to learners to acquire knowledge and be of help in passing in the process of learning activities. Therefore, students with a higher ability to acquire knowledge can easily be of help to their ELL students' friends in sharpening their skills in English, particularly in comprehension reading.
Peer-assisted learning as a learning and teaching process by the interaction of peers and discussion of mutual, students get a chance to develop a presentation, communication as well as abilities in explanation. Extensively, the major goal of PAL is to increase the self-confidence of students. In this case, with the implementation of PAL, students are offered with the chance improve their skills by practicing and discussing with other students in case they are stack or encounter issues in the process of reading. In addition, the students are freer to make an inquiry as well as conveying their opinions with their peers without fear of making an error. PAL also provides an informal, comfortable and environment that is related to the students, whereas the group leader gets an appropriate forum to ask questions and get feedback directly from their peers while giving them an opportunity to ask as well.
Peer-assisted learning encourages the usage of paragraph shrinking with partners. This facilitates readers to smuggle the main idea's identity, a strategy of comprehension, while repeatedly engaging in oral reading practice, a strategy that is fluent. Peer-assisted learning not only plays part in the learning process and contributing to the student's learning, it enables and fosters skills of interpersonal and more understanding of content (Packham & Miller, 2000). This is a result of the supportive environment that is created outside the classrooms by the peers who makes implementation of PAL an effective method of improving the ELLs student's reading and comprehension. Such atmospheres promote the thriving of learning outside classrooms by encouraging the students to develop and promote a positive attitude in regards to class issues by sharing targets, good energy alongside a positive sense of teamwork. Additionally, such kind of an atmosphere makes a student more motivated, increase their excitement and have hope since they discover that they are not the only ones with English weakness. This significantly contributes to the reduction of the student behavior challenges.
By engaging in peer-assisted learning, the ELL students do not only get assisted in tasks related to learning, but also emphasis is laid on guiding the students while giving emotional support. It is evident that where there is psychological and esteem fitness, education thrives more. By sharing their past experiences with their peers, the ELL student's esteem is boosted and thus has a new perception towards English, that if my peer did it, they can also achieve the same. PAL thus contributes efficiently in building trust among learners which in turn creates a safer environment as all students feel that they are included in the learning process.
PAL's implementation is important for the students as it helps tailor modifications for the students with special needs, like the English language learners students, thus effectively advancing their abilities in reading and comprehension. This is achieved by the teachers and facilitators being in control of the groups by carefully grouping rhyming children. That is arranging and grouping the ELL students with peers that they relate well which facilitates more understanding among them as they have a positive attitude towards their peers. Similarly, the support staff may initiate activities that are directed and targeted towards the students.
PAL and collaborative learning facilitate the fostering of creativity, problem-solving skills, experimentation, and concepts of learning. This is as a result of the social media development which proves that peer-assisted learning is neither location limited nor time limited. It can take place anywhere at any time thus not limited to the classrooms at particular lessons timeframe. With the advancement of technology, a peer can facilitate tutorship to another student outside his country. This is as a result of the available social media platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook, linked in alongside email. Such platforms enable creations of online groups where the peers can efficiently provide assistance to the English language learners' student thus improve their abilities in reading and comprehension. Additionally, online platforms of...
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