Apr 30 2012

Response #4

Published by

Michelle Heckel

Prof. Alvarez

English 255

27 April 2012

Assumptions Towards ESL Students:Integration Of LEP Students Into The Regular Classroom Setting In Joyce Penfield’s “ESL: The Regular Classroom Teacher’s Perspective”

            Joyce Penfield discusses the idea of immigrant students integrating in classrooms, which the teacher faces difficulties with the students socially and academically. It discusses how teacher’s assumptions and beliefs about LEP students and about second language development impacts the students learning. The idea of ESL classes should promote growth for the student’s knowledge in a classroom setting due to the teacher striving to help these students in need and many teachers feel that having LEP students in their classroom setting as a burden to them making it more difficult for the student to learn. Penfield states the following:

Regular teachers, for their part, sometimes express anger, frustration, unwillingness to deal with “the new burden” placed upon them in having a few LEP students in their classrooms. (Penfield 22)

This quote demonstrates how teachers in a regular classroom setting automatically show little interest in wanting to teach LEP students in their classroom. It basically shows their attitude toward teaching these students and how they have no desire to go out of their way to help these students learn the proper way. The key words “anger, frustration, unwillingness” shows how the teachers feel bothered by these students and how the teacher shows disappointment in having these “extra” students in the classroom. Teachers classify LEP students as “the new burden” which shows how the teachers face more work in the classroom having to deal with students unfamiliar with the English language. This not only adds a stress on the teachers, it adds a large amount of stress on the student since they do not understand the English language, classifying them as “outcasts”.

Penfield discusses the idea of LEP students having a difficult time in the regular classroom setting along with the teacher having difficulties as well. She discusses many different aspects that contribute to their difficulty adjusting to the classroom environment along with labeling these students with certain stereotypes or assumptions making it hard for them to blend together with the non-LEP students. Many of the students tend to face stereotypes and “labels” become the new way to refer to LEP students making them stand out in the classroom. A study shows that LEP students faced stereotypes from their teacher and other students in the classroom setting and this shows how peer interaction leaves LEP students feeling awkward in this position. The article states:

Respondents often commented upon the tendency of LEP students to band together and consequently isolate themselves from the English- speaking students…they aren’t accepted as one of the crowd. Some may be accepted academically but not socially.” (Penfield 32)

The idea of stereotypes applies to this quote in the sense that the study shows certain assumptions about the group of students in the classroom setting. The quote shows how the LEP students clearly differentiate from the English-speaking students. The key words in this case “band together” and “isolate” shows how the LEP students feel like “outcasts” and face discrimination from the other students looking down upon them. It shows how the students do not accept the LEP students as one of their own kind, noticing that they differ from the rest of the crowd. The quote states how “some may be accepted academically, but not socially” meaning that teachers and students recognize the LEP students for their intelligence, but tend to not accept them in their social groups. Because of these stereotypes towards LEP students they start to feel as outcasts and suffer a great deal due to pressure in the school environment, standing out due to not understanding the English language. Due to these circumstances schools should improve ESL programs, allowing these students to fit in more easily in schools so that they do not have to face such stereotypes or discrimination from either their teachers or peers.



















Work Cited

Penfield, Joyce. “ESL: The Regular Teacher’s Perspective.”TESOL Quarterly, Vol.21

Mar. 1987: 21-39. JSTOR. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3586353.

21 March 2012.

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One response so far

One Response to “Response #4”

  1.   salvarezon 04 May 2012 at 7:48 am

    Michelle, interesting article. First thing, is if you use this article for your final essay, early on, you’ll have to define both ESL and LEP. In fact, the first time you use each term, you’ll have to use the entire term, followed by the abbreviation you will use through the entire essay, for example, . . . Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. LEP students . . .

    I can see the film Immersion fitting into this. In the novel Nilda this happens as well, but not in what’s anthologized for us. This might also hit with the Richard Rodriguez essay “Aria” and his thoughts about students learning English. What kinds of racial assumptions happen in the students’ voices in the article you read? Do they make any sorts of racist side remarks?

    You might think about how any of these key terms you pulled out here relate to any of the previous blogs or responses you wrote. That might give you some indication as to what aesthetic texts to focus on.

    –Fix the MLA citation for the article in your works cited. After the journal’s title, you take a detour in the some other format.

    4.8 out of 5 possible points.

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