ELLs Readily Come Up With ‘Hopes and Dreams’

By Mary Ann Zehr — September 18, 2009 1 min read
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English-language learners are much more inclined than regular mainstream students to set the bar high in talking about their “hopes and dreams,” observes Larry Ferlazzo, a social studies and English teacher for both ELLs and mainstream students at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif. While many ELLs have big plans for their lives, many mainstream students simply say they want to “pass this class,” Ferlazzo says on a blog post.

By the way, Ferlazzo was a guest for an EdWeek Web chat on parent engagement this week (click on the link to read the chat transcript). He stressed that educators need to be open to parents’ interests rather than pushing only a school agenda when they try to connect with parents.

It’s an interesting observation by Ferlazzo that his ELLs seem to be more hopeful and bigger dreamers than his mainstream students. Does this ring true with your experience? And if it does, how do you think educators can build on the optimism of ELLs to help them do well in school and life?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.