Survey — 56% Of Educators Working With English Learners Say Pandemic Significantly Disrupted Learning; Nearly 4 In 10 Say Students Should Have Repeated Grade
Survey — 56% of Educators Working With English Learners Say Pandemic Significantly Disrupted Learning; Nearly 4 in 10 Say Students Should Have Repeated Grade
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A recent survey conducted by Off2Class, a company that provides educational resources to ESL teachers, revealed that almost 40 percent of the 669 educators who work with English language learners worldwide believe that they should have repeated the previous school year due to learning loss caused by the pandemic. Over 56 percent of respondents acknowledged that these students experienced significant disruptions in their formal education. However, despite evidence suggesting otherwise, most educators did not feel that English language learners were disproportionately affected compared to their English-speaking peers.
The survey, conducted in October, included teachers and tutors who work both in the United States and other countries. The responses to the survey questions indicate concerns about the long-term consequences of lowered expectations for English language learners, particularly in the area of grammar. Educators also expressed worries about students’ mental health and the resurgence of behavioral issues typically seen in elementary school, such as disruptive behavior and name-calling. Some educators raised questions about whether students’ enthusiasm for school would return, as many seemed disinterested and unengaged during remote learning.
Teachers also highlighted the challenges of teaching ESL remotely, particularly in terms of pronunciation. They noted that students benefit from in-person interaction for mimicking mouth movements, which is lost in video chat. While some schools provided sufficient technology for remote learning, others did not, leading many educators to spend their own money on additional materials and resources, including books, computers, and webcams.
Student motivation was identified as a major hurdle during remote learning, as students faced disruptions not only in their education but also in their personal lives due to the pandemic’s economic impact. Educators also experienced increased levels of stress, with some reporting feeling overburdened and unsupported by their schools. However, despite the challenges and burnout, nearly half of the respondents expressed increased confidence in their online teaching skills.
Kris Jagasia, CEO and co-founder of Off2Class, emphasized the importance of purposeful technology integration to support English language learners in the future. He believes that since educational technology is here to stay, it is crucial to make thoughtful investments to meet the needs of ELLs effectively.
made a significant contribution to the survey by providing several questions, including ones regarding student retention.
The survey results, which were collected between October 22nd and 29th, revealed an interesting insight. Only 22 percent of educators recommended that English language learners repeat a grade, despite some educators possibly having that preference for these students.
Tim Boals, the founder and director of WIDA, an organization dedicated to providing language development standards and resources for multilingual learners, understands the impact the pandemic has had on underserved populations, including multilingual learners. However, he does not believe that retention is the solution. Boals emphasizes the importance of recognizing that language acquisition takes time and that schools should not lose faith in these children. If teachers label them as unsuccessful, the children themselves will begin to believe that they are destined to fail.
Boals highlights the significance of viewing multilingual learners as capable individuals and warns against the detrimental consequences of perceiving them as "behind their peers." Instead, he suggests that schools should foster a positive environment that values and builds upon the students’ own languages and cultures. Success in supporting these learners relies on a collective effort from every adult at the school, creating a welcoming and engaging space for newcomer children where they can learn English and master content subjects. Boals stresses the importance of sharing successful examples of such learning spaces and ensuring that educators have the necessary resources and understanding to replicate and sustain them.
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