A Look at ELD

A classroom at TPHS may feel comfortable for most, but walking into a room hearing another language and seeing a lifestyle completely different from one you see at home, causes international students to feel overwhelmed; but with the sheltered and English Language Development (ELD) programs on campus, international students are able to transition into their new life in a more approachable way.

Students from all over the world choose to attend TPHS because of its campus diversity, the size of the English Learner Program and wide selection of sheltered classes.

Being in a new environment makes it hard for international students to connect with their American peers. In sheltered classes, students find solace with other students who have gone through a similar journey to TPHS.

“[My classmates] are also not good at English, so we can [become] friends, [even] though they are from another country, [we both] know what we are feeling,” Anna Lim (11), a sheltered English student from South Korea, said.

The social barriers that ELD students have to overcome when they first join TPHS are not easy; yet intimate classes make it easier to attend a new school in a new country.

“When you go to a regular class it’s kind of hard because it’s for Americans. But when you’re in ELD, it makes a seamless transition,” Ukrainian Max Kovalchuk (11), a sheltered English student, said.

Sheltered English teacher Cullen and Sheltered Math One teacher Kristin Sandy build stronger relationships with their students in their close-knit environment. According to Sandy, sheltered and ELD teachers are essentially taking on a parental role in order to address students’ needs outside of class. For instance, Sandy recalls connecting a student with a TPHS basketball coach, so they could become more involved around school. Thus, international students are provided with more of a connection that not only focuses on their English development, but also their extracurriculars. Sheltered and ELD teachers like Joanne Serrano, who ran the program for 18 years prior to Butler’s arrival this school year, teach their multilingual students about American culture.

“I think it’s giving them the skills they need to survive in American schools. We are teaching them American culture at the same time that they’re preserving their own,” Serrano said.

Mixing students with different cultures in a sheltered classroom only exposes them to a small bubble, while participating in a club gives students the opportunity to broaden their horizons. The International Friends Club at TPHS was created in 1999, by Billy Au who moved from Hong Kong. It was created in an effort to help students share their cultures, meet other international students, practice English and do activities together. Club president Honoka Kato (12) said that being in an environment with new languages is very challenging and students can feel a lot of overwhelming pressure. By joining these clubs, international students reduce that pressure in their new environment.

Co-presidents Nethra Manhendran (11) and Isabella Tassara (11) created the Multicultural Student Association, in an effort to bring awareness and allow for a spectrum of student views to be put into place.

“I feel like our purpose is to help connect everybody and help them understand. So having them come and join our club would help them connect with other students,” Tassara said.

These classes and clubs allow students to feel more confident and comfortable to come out of their shell.

[My classmates] are also not good at English, so we can [become] friends, [even] though they are from another country, [we both] know what we are feeling.

“[International students] are [less likely] to take a chance with brand new students in a different class,” Cullen said. “This class gives them the opportunity to develop that confidence, and to practice with people that are also learning with them, with the same background.”

Yet, with a tight budget, smaller class sizes bring more struggles with juggling the amount of sheltered classes the school can afford in the coming year.

“We just want our students to know that we support them, and that we’re going to help them with whatever issues we can,” Tellers said. “But I think that the ultimate scare is that we just hope that these programs don’t go away.”

Read on Issuu.

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