Our middle school is a diverse high-needs school of about 1,400 sixth, seventh, and eighth-grade students. Almost half of our students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. Our hallways are filled with great diversity and I strive to bring this diversity into my ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom and into my curriculum.
My ELLs (English Language Learners) are motivated, intelligent and compassionate individuals who are excited about learning.
These students come from Central/Latin America, South Asia, and the Middle East. They are active learners who appreciate the opportunities they are given. They are hungry to learn English and they understand that the best way to do this is to practice their English every day!
The days of learning a language through skills and drills are thankfully long gone. Research shows that language learning is more effective when students engage in authentic experiences that immerse them in the target language.
Adding a broadcasting studio to our middle school classroom would allow my students to take their language learning to the next level.
In my English classes, I teach students the basics of English (grammar, sentence structure, pronunciation), how to write an argument, a narrative, a short story as well as literacy skills. A broadcasting studio would allow my students to practice and perfect these skills in collaboration with their peers. Using their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills in front of the camera, and beside their peers, will make my lessons come to life and give students a purpose for making sure their research is correct, or that they've supplied relevant evidence to their argument. It won't be only me listening to them; their peers will also be their audience.
Imagine a room full of 8th graders recording and broadcasting a debate they've written about "Should Cell Phones Be Allowed in the Classroom." Or, a group of 6th graders, new to this country, sitting in front of the green screen reading a weather forecast script they wrote during our "Weather" unit. Or, 7th graders recording a "Book Talk" about a great book they read. Students could also use the light kit to take photos of the LEGO creations they build during our writing workshop. They would also add their voice to the final product.
A broadcast studio at their disposal will also help my ELLs learn technical skills that could possibly lead to a future career in journalism, TV/Radio, or film. Language learning combined with career exploration! It can't get better than that.
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