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Learning Activity: Observing English Learners

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This activity asks you to use an observation tool. The tool gives you an organized way to gather information about the communication behaviors of ELs:

  1. Arrange to observe a class that has one or more ELs in it. The observation can involve a visit to the classroom or a virtual alternative (e.g., a Zoom visit or a video recording). Ask the principal or the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher to help you find a class to observe.
  2. Get permission from the teacher and principal. If the observation will take place during your work hours, also get permission from your supervisor(s).
  3. Arrange the observation for a 20-30-minute time period. During the observation, jot down notes using the form below to organize the information.
  4. After the observation, reread your notes. Consider what you learned about the communication behaviors of the ELs and the people with whom they interacted.
  5. If you’re completing this unit on your own, use a journal to write down your thoughts about the communication behaviors of the ELs and the people with whom they interacted. Also, write down your thoughts about your own experience of being an observer.
  6. Try repeating this activity while observing different cohorts of students. See if you can observe the communication behaviors of students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD.

If you’re working on this unit with a colleague or group, share your reflections about the students and the process of doing the observation.


English Learner Observation Form

Information about the students

Number of ELs _________

Approximate age level of the ELs ________

Information about the classroom

Grade level(s) _________

Subject(s) ____________

Lesson _______________

Information about the observation

Date of observation
________________

Length of observation
________________

Communication initiated by one or more ELs (describe) Communication initiated by the teacher to one or more ELs (describe) Communication initiated by classmates to one or more ELs (describe)
Behaviors that made you think there was engagement on the part of one or more ELs (describe) Behaviors that made you think there was frustration on the part of one or more  ELs (describe) Any other relevant behaviors you observed (describe)

Download the Form

Module: Helping Students Read (Clone)

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