English Language Learning in Action

Posted On Tuesday May 11, 2021

The District’s 235 English Language Learners (ELL) speak over 60 different primary languages, the Board of Education learned at its regular board meeting May 10, 2021.

These students are entitled to five years of supported learning. Their circumstances include being:

  • born and raised in Canada, and their primary language is not English,
  • children of parents in Canada on work visas or studying at TRU,
  • permanent residents or new Canadians,
  • refugees from various countries.

The district has four ELL teachers who act as case managers for these students, coordinating with teachers, administrators and parents to provide services and support.

“The best part of our roles is working directly with students,” said Lori Nelson, ELL teacher. “We meet weekly with students in small groups or individually.”

Students are encouraged to retain their cultural identity and their primary language while embracing Canadian culture and values.

Lucas and Lily An are examples of ELL students who were provided support for five years.

“Life in Canada was very hard to adjust because we have such a different cultural background,” said Lucas. “We had a lot of difficult times even just understanding in English but also at school to speak and to actually fit into this society.”

“The most challenge I had at school was trying just to fit in,” said Lily. “We were the only Asians in our school, which took us a while to get used to.”

“We also had a lot of positive experiences in school and that is mostly linked to teachers who took the time to support us for language,” said Lucas. “They help us fit into friend groups, and also those friends who were understanding and those who took the differences as something unique.”

“The ELL teachers helped us a lot through language barriers, for example, there is no past tense in Korean,” said Lily.

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