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Kaoutar Salhi

Introduction to ESL
Field Observation

School profile

I observed at South Philadelphia High School. South Philadelphia High

School is located on 2101 South Broad Street. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. South
Philadelphia High School is part of the School district of Philadelphia. There are
850 students enrolled in this High School. ESL students represent 18% of the
student body therefore there are 153 ELLs in the school. Philadelphia High
School is known has resources to support ELLs families and offers ESL classes.
South Philadelphia High School offers a rigorous curriculum.
South Philadelphia High Schools mission is to to build excellence by
providing services to ESL students and parents. South Philadelphia High School
honors the right of each student to have the opportunity to establish a climate
where diversity is celebrated. Students and faculty are required to engage in
relationships that foster learning, harmony and mutual trust. This High School
also insures equitable access to resources.
South Philadelphia High School has a strong ESL department. ESL
students receive all the support they need to apply to Colleges and engage in
community services. South Philadelphia High School supports ELL families and
has bilingual counselors as well as school applications in different languages
such as Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

Classroom profile

Name of teacher: Fran Wilkins

Grade level: High School Seniors

Subjects teacher teaches: ESL language Arts

Number of students in classroom: 5 students

Gender numbers of entire classroom:

Number of ELLs: 5

Gender numbers of ELLs: 4 males and 1 female

Cultures represented of ELLs: Vietnam, Nepal, Haiti, Guatemala

Languages spoken by ELLs: Spanish, Creole, Vietnamese, Nepalese

English language proficiency levels of all ELLs in classroom:

proficient and English speaking.

ELLs numbers of those identified as special education and/or gifted:


Supports and resources teacher provides for ELLs and families:

bilingual letters to parents.

Communication methods used between home and school

recognizing and supporting the preferred mode of communication of
the parent/guardian: Translated documents in the primary language,
textbooks, computers, and handouts.

Teacher interview
1. How hard is it to teach ESL students with limited English proficiency?
ESL Teacher: it is very challenging sometimes to teach students with limited
English proficiency because I dont speak their native language. It requires a lot
of patience to teach students with limited English proficiency
2. Do you like teaching ESL students?
ESL teacher: I love teaching ESL students they make me very happy and they
are very kind and sweet.
3. Do you think your ESL students are happy to move to the United States?
ESL teacher: Some of my students are not happy to move to the United States.
They feel sad and lonely. They miss their countries and close family members
that they left in the native land. Yet, other ones are very happy to move and they
cant wait to finish high school and go to college.
4. Why did you choose to become an ESL teacher?
ESL teacher: I chose to be an ESL teacher because I love teaching language
Arts and I feel that I will make a huge impact on my students to better their lives
and make them succeed not only in school but in life.
5. How many years did you teach ELLs?
ESL teacher: Eight years
6. Does it help when you are able to speak in the students target language?
ESL teacher: I speak some Spanish, it helps a lot because the students
tend to understand what I mean.
7. What is the best way to try to communicate directions to ELLs?
ESL teacher: Using a lot of visuals and also hand gestures. Writing on the board
all the important information they need to know.
8. What is the best way to approach ELL students?
ESL teacher: The best way to approach ELLs is to make them feel comfortable
and welcome in the classroom. It is crucial for them to understand that I am there
for them. Classroom environment have an impact on them.
9. Do you need to speak many languages in order to communicate with your

ESL teacher: Sometimes it helps to speak their native language but other times
when I tend to explain in different ways it helps as well.
10. What are your strategies when your students dont understand your
ESL teacher: When my students dont understand my instructions. I
encourage them to ask each other first if they are still confused. They raise
their hands and I individually assist them.
11. How do you communicate with parents?
ESL teacher: I tend to translate my letters in their native language especially
when I know that they dont speak English at all.
12. What do you do when students are not participating in class?
ESL teacher :I tend to call on them and involve them in activities such as games
that way I encourage them to not be shy and participate more.
13. What is the best way of engaging ELLs in the classroom?
ESL teacher: I try to simplify and elaborate the language to make it accessible to
the students. I also have a lot of visuals and I use a lot of Powerpoint
presentations and videos to make the learning interesting and fun.
14. How do you measure your students capacity of learning?
ESL teacher: I assess my students in listening, writing and speaking
15. How involve are you with ELLs outside of school?
ESL teacher: Since I proctor Senior project with the students. I tend to involve
my students in extra curricular activities where they are able to be involved in the
community by volunteering and by getting involved in benevolent events.
16. Do you like being an ESL teacher?
ESL teacher: I love it dearly and its very rewarding!!
17. Do you have behavioral problems in your classroom?
ESL teacher: No, I deal with the best well behaved students in the entire
18. What is your advice to novice ELL teachers?
ESL teacher: my advice is to be patient with ELLs and always remember that
their lack of understanding language doesnt mean that they are not smart
enough. There is a huge difference between Special Education students and
19. Are you an ESL teacher by choice?
ESL teacher Yes, I am by choice
20. What is the most rewarding part about teaching ESL?
ESL teacher: The most rewarding part about teaching ESL students is to see
that I make a difference in their lives daily.

Classroom observations
The classroom is located on the fourth floor of South Philadelphia High
School. It is a spacious classroom with big windows. It is very welcoming and
decorated nicely with cultural posters and bulletin boards from all over the world.

During her lesson, the teacher uses visuals that reinforce spoken and
written words when she teaches her lessons. She also employs gestures to add
emphasis as well as adjust her speech. For example when the teacher was
reading a story for her students, she was speaking slowly any time she
introduced a new vocabulary word. The teacher also enunciated every single
word while using longer natural pauses. In addition to this, the teacher repeated
words and phrases using s simpler grammar.

The teacher focuses on vocabulary because it is essential to the

development of students language. She stresses the learning of vocabulary prior
to her lesson to make sure that her students are comprehending the content of
her lesson. I noticed couple times that the teacher exaggerates intonations at
times because she wants to make sure that her students get the point. The
teacher is often using and introducing new and different idioms to the classroom.
She wants to give her students the chance to merge in the culture and
understand that sometimes words can be used in different contexts in different

situations. The teacher is constantly clarifying the meaning of words and

phrases in context. I love the way in which she organizes her lessons. Starting
with a warm up where she introduces vocabulary then she has the objective of
the lesson written on the board and then she divides the classroom into groups to
read and answer questions collectively. This teacher loves teaching her students
new things everyday.

Student profile

First name only of student: Jos

Gender of student: Male

English language proficiency level: Proficient

Number of years in this school district: 2 years

Any special learning needs: No

Academic performance of student in subject areas: Proficient

Parent Interview:
Cultural background of the family: The family is from Guatemala.
How many years were you in the United States? 7 years
Prior school experiences: None
What schools did the ELL attend and how long? None. The student did not go to
school when he first moved to the United States. He was working with his family in a
business. Till he moved to Philadelphia, then he started his ELL classes

-First Joss family lived in Georgia, Iowa and then his family moved to Philadelphia.
-Jos loves South Philadelphia High School.
How does Jos find South Philadelphia High School?
Jos enjoys his experiences at his current school. He is able to make many friends
and he has wonderful teachers.
-Assistance or supports that they would like to see for their child: The mother is
very happy with Jos s situation right now.
- Is Jos working now?
Jos just got hired as a boss boy in Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia

Development of activity for ELLs

Title of activity
Grade level
Subject/content area
PA academic standards
proficiency standards
Can-Do descriptors
Common core
Procedures for Activity

High School 9-12
Social Studies
Vocabulary development for the holiday of Thanksgiving; social
studies concept of the settling of the New World.
Standard 5 ELLs communicate information, ideas, and concepts
necessary for academic success in the area of Social Studies
Level 3 developing
-Students will be given the book The First Thanksgiving by Linda
Hayward and will each read it.
-Students will answer questions about Thanksgiving.

Students will be asked why do people celebrate Thanksgiving?

Students will be shown videos about Thanksgiving.
Students will read about the MayFlower.

- On their laptops students can download the pattern for the

Mayflower and for the sail pattern.
-Students can draw lines for boards and color the ship. Fold on the
lines so that the ship stands. Cut out two copies of the sails and put
the masts between the sails. Glue to the ship. Make the ship stand up
on a sheet of light blue paper.
-Students can also make an ocean by drawing waves on the paper
with a dark blue marker.

Support for ELLs
Strategies that recognize
the L1
Family involvement

Students can share their projects and talk about them in the classroom
Students will be discussing Thanksgiving and will each describe the
meaning for thanksgiving.
Students will be asked whether they have a holiday that they celebrate to
give thanks and be together as a family.
Ask the families to cook traditional thanksgiving food

Use the knowledge you have gained from this experience to reflect and respond to the
following questions. Include each question and your responses in this section.

What have you learned about each of the following PDE ESL program
specialist/ TESOL competency categories?
1. Language: There are many students who speak different
languages other than English
2. Culture: There are many cultures represented such as
Guatemala, Vietnam, Haiti and Nepal.
3. Observing, Planning, Implementing, and Managing
Instruction: It takes a lot of practice and a lot of
planning in terms of making a good accessible plan for

4. Assessment: ELLs tend to require different types of

assessments in order to measure their abilities in terms
of writing, speaking, and listening
5. Professionalism: It is crucial to be
Answer the following questions based on the ELL you selected for the student profile:

How would you go about designing instruction for the ELL based on current
and previous school experiences?

I would design instruction based on the needs for my students.

Answer the following questions based on the classroom you selected to observe for
the classroom profile:

If this were your classroom, what supports or resources would you expect
for the ELLs?

I would expect textbooks, computers, notebooks as well as a projector.

If this were your classroom, how would you involve families in the learning

I would love to involve families in the learning process by holding events and
translating most of the forms given to the students in the native language of the

If this were your classroom, how would you involve the community in the
learning process?

If this was my classroom, I would love to involve the community in terms of making
my students involved in community services as well as volunteer.

If this were your classroom, what do you know about the cultures
represented and what would you want/need to know about the cultures to
assist you in becoming an effective teacher?

I had a lot of Asian and Haitian friends in college. I love Asian food and I am a big
fan of Haitian creole/French.

If this were your classroom, how would you go about establishing a prosocial classroom-learning environment?

-I will try to make sure that my students are comfortable and I will try to form a
warm environment full of fun and understanding.

-If this were your classroom, how would you ensure consistent home and school
- I will create a weekly Memo for the parents that way they can be able to know all
the events happening in my classroom with all the details.