Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rodriguez/Collier- Extended Comments

The readings for this week by Collier and Rodriguez surround educating English Language Learners. Rodriguez writes of his own personal experiences navigating through the American education system as an ELL student.  I found this reading to really resonate with me since it was from a first-person perspective. It was refreshing to read about ELL education from a personal perspective since most of my readings in the past have been research articles or teaching tips.  This reading really helped me see how emotional it can be navigating through a new culture and language.  In the second reading, Collier describes various methods for educating ELL students.  This type or reading is more like the readings I have done in the past.  I have read about some of the strategies proposed by Collier, though I found the strategies to be useful and easily implemented.  I also liked the layout of the reading where the different strategies were broken down and numbered.  This made it easy to read. 

Despite the differences in the readings, both authors discuss the importance of properly educating ELL students.  I am not an ELL or bilingual education teacher and do not work in a district where there is a high prevalence of ELL students.  Therefore, I found these articles to be very informative and a good way to provide me with background knowledge on this topic.

For the purpose of this blog, I am extending Brigette’s comments.  I found myself agreeing with many of her connections as I was reading her post.  When I read the assigned chapters, I kept making notes in the margins of how these readings related to Delpit.  In reading Brigette’s blog, I found that she also made these connections.  Brigette writes that the “culture of power” is evident in both Rodriguez and Collier’s articles since these students are learning English since it is the language of this “culture of power” and students need to know this to be successful in the society.  I also agree that the language of the culture of power is English and that students need to learn how to speak and be literate in this language in order to be successful.  While this was evident in both readings, I found the Rodriguez reading to match Delpit more closely.  Delpit states that students must be explicitly taught the rules and codes of power in order to be successful in this culture.  This is echoed in Rodriguez.  His teachers explicitly taught him to use English and as he became more proficient in it, he became more confident.  Rodriguez’s parents wanted him to be proficient in English even though it later meant that they communicated less.  This reminds me of the Delpit reading where the mother said “My students know how to be black, I want you to teach them how to be white.” Rodriguez’s parents wanted him to be taught how to speak English so that he could be successful later in life. 

I also agree with Brigette’s connection that the Collier reading matches up with Finn.  Finn writes about “literacy with an attitude.” This is the idea that when students from less advantaged groups (like the working class or minority students) are provided with good and engaging instruction, they can grow out of the status quo. Collier mirrors this by explaining that literacy is important for the success of ELL students and provides strategies for successfully teaching literacy to this demographic. I like the quote that Brigette uses from the Collier reading: “Many transitional or ELL programs do not emphasize the backbone of school success, academic literacy. On the false premise that English oral competence is all an immigrant child needs to compete with native English speaking peers, too many ESL or ELL programs fail to provide a literacy curriculum for their unique needs. This curricular cheats immigrant students, since literacy is indispensable for lifelong success.” For both Finn and Collier, academic literacy empowers students and is the key to future success. 

More information on instructing ELL students:

Here is another article by Dr. Virginia Collier that explains the effectiveness of dual language education

This article has a review of research on successful strategies for teaching ELL students as well as how to implement best practice


  1. Amanda, Great minds think alike! I also wrote extended comments based on Brigette's blog and made connections to Delpit. I really like the flag puzzle graphic that you used.

  2. Nice blog! Thanks for using my blog for yours. I liked your graphics a lot. Looks like we had a lot of the same thoughts about the articles!