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Professional Reflection for Module 3 CalStateTEACH Credentail Program

Professional Reflection for Module 3 CalStateTEACH Credentail Program

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Published by Sal V Gonzalez Jr
Fieldwork Summary/Professional Reflection for Credential Program Mod. 3 - CalStateTEACH
Fieldwork Summary/Professional Reflection for Credential Program Mod. 3 - CalStateTEACH

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Published by: Sal V Gonzalez Jr on May 03, 2011
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05/03/2011

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Fieldwork Summary for Module 3
The concept of struggling readers is a phenomenon that nearly all teachers have todeal with at one time or another. Research suggests struggling readers fit into one of the following  three categories: (1) Students who expend so much energy decoding printed words that they fail toderive any meaning (2) Students who can understand what is being read to them in spite of theirlimited word recognition skills (3) Students who are able to decode sentences but fail to activate their schema and thus do not interact with the text to “make meaning, expand on them, or providea critique or even a summary” (Harrel, 2008)Struggling readers may be from low socioeconomic levels and have fewer books in their homes as well as in their school libraries (Lewis, 2006). They may have different cultural usesof literacy and different experiences with literacy before entering school (Herrell, 2004), or may benonnative speakers of English (Gullaume, 2008;Herrell, 2008;Echevarra, 2007). All of thesevariables affect the success of a student as a reader. The traditional approach to remedying thestruggling reader’s “deficit” in literacy skills is to teach the basics through skills-based instruction,acting out words, manipultives, role-play, and RELIA (Herrell, 2007). Some well-known reports(National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998)have advocated that students should improve their basic skills first in order for comprehension tonaturally take place. In other words, for comprehension to occur students must understand thesound–symbol relationship, become fluent decoders, and develop fluency.However, reading for understanding is much more complicated than simply being able to decode text quickly. Reading involves making meaning from the very beginning byactivating mental pictures (schema), deciphering the meanings of the written word, andrecognizing patterns. If a student needs direct instruction in sound–symbol relationships, it shouldbe done within the context of what the student is reading (Herrell, A.L. & Jordan M, 2008). Herrelland Jordan (2008) stated that it is “important to promote the awareness of how literacy fits withlife issues such as career goals and personal fulfillment”. In other words, reading is something one does to enhance one’s life, not just to answer questions at the end of a passage to kill time or
California State University, FullertonStudent Name: Gonzalez Jr, Salvador VenegasStudent Number: 894662873DATE PRINTED: 01/24/2011
 
keep the Substitute busy.The number of ELLs in the U.S. Public school system has increased significantly.From 1991 to 2001, the number of ELLs enrolled in U.S. schools increased by 95%; the totalschool population only increased by 12%. During this time, 35% of the ELLs were enrolled in themiddle grades (grades 6–8) and 19% were enrolled in high school; and as of this writing Latinostudents are the majority in the California Public School system (National Clearinghouse forEnglish Language Acquisition, 2002).The experience that adolescent ELLs have is uniquely different from that of theiryounger counterparts and from nonimmigrant native English speakers. In her ethnography of ahigh school with immigrants representing over 24% of the student population, Olsen (1997)described the high school immigrant experience: “The logistics of schooling can be problematic.Bells ring and everyone moves around, lockers need to be opened, and food bought in cafeterias.Moving from class to class in large schools, few students are able to develop close relationshipswith any one teacher. With thinking and learning processes shaped by other cultural and nationalbackgrounds, they need to figure out how we teach and learn in U.S. schools. Speaking out inclass, participating in discussions, the relative informality between teacher and students are allquite foreign to students who have been educated in other cultures and nations.” (p. 155)Life is difficult enough for any teenager, but to add a new culture, a differentlanguage, a different school system, different teaching styles and expectations, new friends, andan altogether different environment compounds the difficulties that adolescent immigrantstudents must deal with in order to be academically successful Lewis, Doorlag (2006). Mostresearchers stress the importance of knowing our ELL students and their educationalbackgrounds before we can fully appreciate the resources that they bring to the classroom, due to the influence that the literacy level in the first language has on becoming literate in English.For Mario, an ESL student observed in the field, being a struggling reader didn'tmean that he was reading in English at a level much ower than his grade level, but that heapparently had not found an internal purpose for reading. When I would ask him to read apassage, he would read it on command; however, it was without emotion or interest. When askedwhat he had read, he would have to reread the passage to himself to come up with an answer. Thiswould occur whether I asked him to read silently or aloud. I classified him as a struggling readerfor the following four reasons.
 
1. He had not learned to read strategically. In other words, he did not use any reading strategies(such as using context to figure out a word’s meaning) to assist him when reading.2. He found no purpose for reading except to read because a teacher told him to do so.3. He had failed the previous year’s English class.4. He did not read for meaning. This last reason was included because on first and second readsof a passage, he was simply decoding. Little, if any, meaning was being made by Mario whenreading.Mario arrived in the United States in the second grade from Mexico. His father, whohad come to the United States earlier, had sent money to Mexico for Mario and his siblings to takeEnglish classes in preparation for when they would follow him. Even though Mario had studiedsome English in private classes in Mexico, he perceived his ability to communicate in English withhis U.S. teachers and peers upon arrival as limited.Mario was placed in the English as a Second Language program because he hadfailed English the previous semester. When working with him this summer, I noticed that hisvocabulary was limited. At one point I switched languages to say that if he wanted, I would behappy to speak with him in Spanish. He thanked me politely, but we rarely spoke Spanish again,and we never appeared to have difficulty understanding each other. Although Mario had hoped toexit the English as a second language (ESL) program before entering high school and be deemedfully English proficient through examination, it is a common phenomenon among mainstreamedESL students to continue to have numerous transition difficulties as well as difficulties withEnglish. Mario told me that he had liked school in Mexico, but that when he arrived in the UnitedStates it became less interesting to him. Perhaps it was that his English was not at the level of hispeers in class or because his friends did not value education.Whatever the case, he did have astrong determination to graduate from high school and prove to his family and to himself that hewould make something of his life, as shown in the following journal entry: 
I think that people are sort of stupid if they judge people for their appearance because I wentthrough all that because I am the only one in my whole family that dresses baggy and all of my uncles always said that I was never going to be something in life, but I thank God for that becausethat’s what keeps me going to prove them wrong. That is also why sometimes I try so hard to keep going. Hopefully, I will go to the Marines...to be able to go traveling, and, so that my children can

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