English Syntax and Stylistics

For my professional review, I chose the article, English Learners and Out-of-School Time Programs by Dr. Julie Maxwell- Jolly. Maxwell-Jolly is a “senior education researcher and managing director of the Center for Applied Policy in Education in the University of California, Davis School of Education” (Maxwell-Jolly, p.1) who performed research studies on  the “potential of OST Programs to foster EL success” for ELL/ESL students.  In this article, Jolly discusses the need and benefits of ESL/ELL students participating in OST programs in order to 1) keep in pace with the learning of their native English speaking counterparts, 2) increase their learning in the content areas, and 3) for them to perform better on standardized tests.

 

Maxwell-Jolly reported in her article that with the increase of the ELL population in the United States, ELL students generally do not thrive in the classrooms. She reported that ELL students “score lower on tests, get poorer grades, take fewer advanced or college prep classes at the secondary level, and graduate from high school at much lower rates than do native speakers of English” (Maxwell-Jolly, p.1). She contends that the reason or main reason for ELL poor performance is because of the amount of time these students require to learn both English and subject matter content in addition to the “quality” of instruction they receive. The purpose of this author’s article is to discuss how much ELL students are required to learn in a small amount of time, the “poor” quality of instruction they are often times subjected to and her recommendations for schools to include OST programs as a part of the ESL services for these students.

 

The insight that I have gained from this article, is I do agree with the benefits ESL/ ELL students would receive in after-school services, ensuring that they will be able “keep pace” with their native English speaking counterparts. I feel that any student that requires additional services to improve their learning is always a benefit.  However, I also recognize the dilemma that schools face when state and federal funding does not allow room for them to have that luxury. Realistically speaking, for example, the NYC Board of Education does provide after-school program services that “may” include ESL services for ESL/ELL students but there are no guarantees. At most these programs offer, homework assistance, some tutoring in content areas and an extracurricular activity. But mostly, these after-school programs also have a limit as to how many students may be enrolled. Then there are some students that are required to attend schools’ “extended period” (that’s an additional 35 minutes a day Mondays-Thursday), but again, that extended period usually does not include ELL/ESL services and they too have a limit as to how many students may be enrolled. As we know, many after school programs and services have been reduced because of budget cuts.

 

I feel that this article does confirm my belief that ELL students do require additional services outside the classroom in order to assist their English/Second Language Acquisition and I agree with the use of the OST program she suggests. However, when it has been reported many times during the pass 5-10 years, schools are losing services because of budget cuts, I feel that Maxwell-Jolly’s OST program may not be feasible. I strongly believe in teachers using the best possible teaching strategies for ELL students when after school services such as an OST program is not available. Julie Maxwell-Jolly does make valid points about teachers’ struggling to implement quality instruction for ELL students and the various factors that effects their education. Although I do have reservations of Maxwell-Jolly’s suggestion for this OST program,  I would recommend this article for required reading because it does offer the reader a point of view describing how we as educators may ensure that our ELL students receive any services to help them with Second Language Acquisition.

 

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