Both Weimin Mo’s article “Can you Listen Faster” Assessment of Students Who Are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners and Damian Coopers chapter How Should Assessment Be Matched to Students Needs discuss the importance of working with our English as an Additional Language Students (EAL) to create a classroom climate that offers the greatest opportunity for success. This is important because many times teachers do not know how to adequately gage the learning that EAL students have in their previous language. When this occurs the student becomes disengaged, as they either already know the material or do not have the supports needed to succeed. Many teachers also have difficulty differentiating assignments for their EAL students, and the students are often left completing assignments that do not meet the required grade level outcome.
Both pieces focus on the importance of creating a place of success for all of our students but particularly those whose first language is not English. One way we can help our students is by using formative assessment to gage where our EAL students are at, particularly when it comes to things like vocabulary. Mo and Cooper place a great emphasis on the fact that our EAL students “do not…share the same conceptual system that…[we do]” (Mo 46) and that we need to communicate effectively with our students to assess whether or not the scaffolding that you have provided is enough. This scaffolding could be as simple as revisiting key terms related to the assignment or having the student repeat the instructions for the assignment in their own words, but the heightened understanding the student will have of the assignment and that you will have of the students understanding will make a world of difference.