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Katie Hearl

Dr. Collins

SPED 637

June 15, 2017

IRIS Module Assessment Questions

1. Describe the difference between a sequential and a simultaneous language learner.

Both a sequential language learner and a simultaneous language learner can be classified
as dual language learners. However, if a child is a simultaneous language learner, the child is
learning two or more languages at the same time before the age of three. If a child is a sequential
language learner, the child learns one language first and then another language or multiple
languages after age three.

2. List at least three factors that educators should consider when screening and evaluating
young DLLs.

There are three assessment tools that educators can utilize when screening and evaluating
students who are dual language learners. The first assessment tool is data from the family,
whether that data is in the home language and interpreted with the help of a translator or in
English. The second assessment tool is observations of the student at school and possibly at
home as well if that is an option. The third assessment tool is standardized tests. With all of these
assessment tools, there are some things that educators need to take into consideration when
screening and evaluating students. One factor that educators need to consider is that not all
standardized tests are available in every home language, which could skew the results of the test.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not every child equally experiences both English and the
home language. Tests and assessments should be given in the student’s dominant language.
Finally, educators need to consider how they are going to present the findings and data back to
the families, especially if the families have a limited proficiency in English. Data and results
need to be presented to families in a way that is easy to understand and that has use to them
moving forward.

3. Why is it important to distinguish between a language difference and a developmental

delay or disability?
Distinguishing between a language difference and a developmental delay or disability is
important because based on the findings, it can possibly change the course of intervention. For it
to be a developmental delay or disability, the symptoms need to be observable in both the child’s
languages and in multiple settings (home, school, community, etc.). If the student is diagnosed
with a developmental delay or disability, early intervention can make a huge difference in the
trajectory of the student’s educational career.

4. Imagine that you are an early childhood teacher of four-year-olds. Nhia is a young DLL
in your classroom who speaks Hmong and is learning English.

List at least three ways that you could collaborate with Nhia’s family to help support Nhia
in the classroom.

One way that I could collaborate with Nhia’s family would be to invite them into the
classroom to see if they wanted to share any aspects of their culture (stories, songs, food,
language, hobbies, etc) with the class. This would not only get the family involved, but also give
other students a better sense of global awareness that may help them understand and connect to
their classmate. Another way that I would collaborate with the family is to learn as much as I
could about the culture in order to better communicate with the family. This would include
learning a few phrases in Hmong and using the family’s prefered method of communication,
whether it be in-person, email, phone, etc. This would also give me the opportunity to find out
the family’s goals for Nhia for the year and how I can best support him. The final way that I
would collaborate with Nhia’s family would be to offer support materials in Hmong whenever
possible. This could mean providing materials in Hmong that are related to what students are
learning in class, resources for early childhood, and connections to the school community. This
would get Nhia’s family involved in his schooling process and give them a sense of belonging to
the school community if the information was presented in their own language.

Describe two reasons you would give the family about why it is important for Nhia to
maintain his home language while he is learning to speak English.

It is important for DLLs to continue speaking their home languages while learning
English for several reasons. One reason I would give Nhia’s family is that it deepens the
relationships he forms with his family and community. Hmong connects Nhia to his family
members (especially if family members have limited or no English) and allows him to learn of
cultural practices that his community values, some or all of which may not translate into English.
By not speaking Hmong at home, Nhia might lose that cultural connection, which also might
affect his identity and self-image as he gets older. The second reason I would give Nhia’s family
to continue speaking Hmong at home is that it is beneficial for his cognition. Students who are
bilingual benefit by being flexible thinkers, problem solvers, and understanding math concepts
and word problems more easily because they know more than one language. These skills can
benefit Nhia in the future, especially because employers are looking for employees with these
skills, as well as being able to speak multiple languages in today’s growing cultural climate.

Identify three ways to involve peers as classroom supports for Nhia.

Peer involvement and interaction is a great way for DLLs to pick up English language
skills. One way that I would use peers as classroom supports for Nhia would be to systematically
arrange for him to be with an English speaking peer for a classroom activity. This would allow
him to practice his English skills with an English speaker. Another way that I would use Nhia’s
peers would be to partner him up with another student who spoke Hmong. Ideally, this student
would be in the same classroom. However, if that were not the case, I would try to find
opportunities to partner Nhia with a Hmong speaking student from another class. This would
allow them to work on an academic or non-academic task together code-switching between
English and Hmong if they so desired. Finally, I would explicitly teach Nhia’s English speaking
classmates some tools and strategies to help them communicate, interact, and include students
who are dual language learners. I would do this in a way that would not embarrass or call
attention to DLLs so that they did not feel isolated or different. I would teach this in a way that
celebrates our classroom’s diversity and multilingual abilities.