Touro TESOL/Bilingual Candidate Ashley Cosenza’s Materials Critique and Redesign for EDPN-673

The Touro College TESOL/Bilingual Program course EDPN-673 – Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language provides a historical overview of second language acquisition theories and teaching methods. Students learn how to apply current approaches, methods, and techniques, with attention to the effective use of materials, in teaching English as a second language. Students engage in the planning and implementation of standards-based ESL instruction which includes differentiated learning experiences geared to students’ needs. Emphasis is placed on creating culturally responsive learning environments. Includes 15 hours of fieldwork.

One assignment is the Materials Critique & Redesign where candidates will: (1) prepare a written critique description of the material or resource, analyzing its effectiveness for ELLs and (2) based on your analysis, redesign one section/activity of the original material so that it meets the need of ELLs. The materials chosen will promote culturally and linguistically responsive classrooms and instructional practices.

Ashley Cosenza:

Touro TESOL/Bilingual candidate Ashley Cosenza submitted an exemplary project. She is receiving her Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language in Spring 2022. She is in her second to last semester at Touro College with Professor Cowin. Ms. Cosenza, “I enjoy learning different strategies to include in my 5th-grade classroom for students to learn the English language. It is important to me to deliver each lesson in such a way to captivate ELLs in each subject.”

Touro TESOL Candidate Diane Santos Presents: Field Experience Vignettes for EDPN 673, Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language

Introduction by Prof. Jasmin (Bey) Cowin, Ed.D.

Fieldwork and field experiences are an integral part of teacher education programs as they enable teacher candidates to examine the ways educational theories and methods can be implemented and interact with live classrooms and students. Touro College’s TESOL/Bilingual EDPN 673, Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language features a substantial fieldwork component.

The objective of the fieldwork experience in EDPN 673 is to connect course content to practical application in classroom teaching. The teacher candidates’ focus is on identification, observation & use of instructional best practices, lesson planning, lesson delivery, differentiation, assessment, and reflection.

After observing several teachers, Touro TESOL candidates need to choose which observations will become their fieldwork vignettes. The vignettes will show that they, as an aspiring TESOL professional, understand central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches, as identified by relevant professional organizations, and can analyze learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for all students.

Diana Santos is an educator, lifelong learner and mother to a four year old boy. She was born and raised on Long Island, NY but like many children of immigrant parents, English is not her first language. Her native language is Portuguese and upon entering elementary school, she learned to speak, read and write in English due to the wonderful teachers she encountered. Mrs. Santos graduated from Dowling College with a BA in Special and General Education. She pursued her bilingual extension at LIU and Molloy College. Currently, she serves as a 4th grade Dual Language Teacher who teaches in English and Spanish. She is proud to share:”I am proud to say that I will be graduating with a Master’s Degree in TESOL in September 2021 with a G.P.A of 4.0.”

Diana Santos’s Fieldwork Experience: Every semester I take different courses and I am required to complete fieldwork in order to become a better teacher and better my educational practices. This has been by far the most rewarding fieldwork experience of my educational career. I have never been a part of a summer program that included ENL students and it was very educational to see an ENL teacher and a general education teacher in a co-teaching environment while implementing various teaching methods, strategies and materials within their instruction. This summer school program focused on reading and writing skills according to the Teachers College Units of Study. The particular classroom that I was able to observe had only fourth grade students. There were a total of 21 students; 4 attended in-person instruction and 17 attended virtual instruction, which was given simultaneously. There were a total of 11 English language learners in the classroom who have proficiency levels ranging from entering to expanding.

Vignette One

The first fieldwork experience that I would like to focus on is during the reading/writing summer school that was offered through my school district. During this specific incident, the students were learning how to write a personal narrative and the teachers were trying to elicit ideas from students in order to get them started on what their personal narratives were going to be about. The summer program included students who attended in person and students who were remote. Due to the majority of the students attending remotely, the teacher taught by using google meet, google classroom, google slides, padlet, smartboard and the students’ chromebooks. The teacher only utilized the SMART board to show the google meet to the class in order to incorporate the virtual learners. The teacher did not use any paper handouts, tests or textbooks.

There were a few potential distractions throughout the observation. One distraction is the fact that the teacher and ENL teacher are teaching both in person and online. This can be distracting for both sets of students because the teachers are never really focused on just one group of students. Furthermore, the students who are attending virtually have many interruptions to their virtual learning time. A specific example of this is that during the lesson one student could be seen holding a baby while several other children ran around in the background of the camera. This is just one example of many distractions that occurred virtually. These types of virtual distractions can cause other students to lose focus which results in the student not understanding the task or skill that is being taught. One question that arose was why none of the teachers addressed the different virtual distractions. I believe that they should have either gone over the expectations to virtual learning prior to beginning the lesson or at least referred to them while the many distractions were occurring. “It is important for the teacher to create behavioral expectations in virtual classrooms and review the expectations at the beginning of each class, just like they would in person” (Team, 2021, p.1). Due to the current climate that we are in, virtual distractions are inevitable but they can be managed by implementing several strategies.

Throughout the year the students in fourth grade are asked to complete a variety of writing pieces as well as practice many reading skills. One of the writing pieces that the students are asked to create is a personal narrative. This is typically the first unit of the year and therefore the students who were completing the task of coming up with a story idea and writing a personal narrative have background knowledge to refer to. The content objective for the lesson was that students will be able to generate story ideas based on their experiences. The language objective was that students will be able to write story ideas using a digital graphic organizer.

The teacher began the lesson by referring to the student’s prior knowledge of the work that was completed the day before. She then asked the students several questions in order to elicit what information they know about small moments and writing personal narratives. She asked questions such as “what is a personal narrative? Why are personal narratives important? What is a moment? What is a small moment? Could any moment of your life be a small moment? Are moments and experiences the same?” The ENL teacher then showed an example of a small moment story written in both English and the students’ native language, Spanish. She wrote her story about what it felt like to move to Spain when she was in college. The students practiced reading the story aloud in a choral read.

Next, the general education teacher explained the task for the day and that the students were going to be using Padlet as a digital graphic organizer. The teacher showed Padlet on the computer and explained that the students were to pick a section of the padlet and add their name. Then they can pick images, write captions or short story ideas under the section. The students seemed to be familiar with Padlet and how to use it. The ENL teacher then asked the students to close their eyes and think about the most important memories they have. While the students had their eyes closed, she solicited possible ideas such as a trip, memory with a favorite person, a life changing event and favorite things to do. Then the ENL teacher told them to open their eyes and start writing. This great strategy allowed the students time to process their thoughts before starting their assignment.

After the whole group instruction, the ENL teacher broke the students into small groups by proficiency levels in order to differentiate her instruction. With the entering/emerging group she spoke in Spanish to help them generate story ideas while also showing a list of potential story ideas. She then gave the students two sentence frames to use while writing their story idea on the Padlet. With the transitioning and expanding students she spoke to them in English and had conversations about what they were thinking about and scaffolded her questioning in order to help them generate ideas. They got sentence starters like my story idea is and one important memory is. Throughout the rest of the writing period, the ENL teacher checked in with her students to monitor their progress. With some of the entering students she would have them say their sentence in Spanish and then she translated it to English. The students would then rewrite the sentence in English on the padlet. This allowed them an opportunity to practice the target language and acquire it as well.

The ENL teacher would record anecdotal notes on a notepad during the lesson. She then went back and read their padlet entries to check for comprehension and language. Throughout the lesson, both teachers were constantly interacting with both sets of students and answered any questions they may have. The ENL teacher would ask the question several ways in English before reverting to Spanish. There were many questions asked throughout the period in order to promote the students’ higher-order thinking skills as well as help them form connections to the content and task. I believe that the questioning of the lesson was used for various purposes such as to help students recall prior learning and prior life experiences, increase student engagement and to get students to think outside the box. Lastly, the ENL teacher gave students sufficient wait time throughout the lesson and when a student was not able to respond she would scaffold her instruction to help the student.

Vignette Two

The next incident that I would like to speak about is during a reading lesson with an entering student. The ENL teacher was working one on one with an entering student who is considered to be a Student with Interrupted/Inconsistent Formal Education (SIFE). The goal of this lesson was to have him practice his fluency, decoding skills and forming predictions while reading an “A” level book titled Hide by Steve Henry.

The lesson began by having the general education teacher ask the students what a prediction was. They had been working on this skill for two days and were able to answer the question. Then she modeled forming a prediction while reading a book. When she finished the book she thought about whether her prediction was correct. As an extension activity she asked the students to record themselves using Flipgrid, reading a book aloud and forming predictions on their own. The ENL teacher had chosen books on Epic Books according to the students’ proficiency level. She also showed two sentence starters for the students to say “I think ______ will happen” and “my prediction is.”

The reason why I chose to speak about this lesson is because of the issues that arose while the students were trying to complete this task. Some students were not able to access Flipgrid or did not know how to use it because they were not familiar with the program and no one went over how to use the program prior to the students using it. This caused the ENL teacher to have to stop all of the students midway through the lesson and teach the students how to access and use Flipgrid. Next, the students were asked to leave the google meet in order to record themselves and then come back when they finished. This was an issue because many students had questions and were unable to get quick responses or feedback because of the computer restraints. Another issue that I noticed was that the students were having a hard time completing the task itself. Personally, I found this to be a daunting task for the entering and emerging students because not only were they trying to decode and comprehend the books but they were being asked to simultaneously form predictions while being recorded.

The ENL teacher did a wonderful job at addressing this issue by quickly differentiating the task to suit the needs of her students. First, she had the students record themselves forming predictions after only looking at the visuals in the books. Then the students were instructed to make a second recording just reading the book in order to practice fluency and decoding. This allowed for students to tackle only one cognitively challenging task at a time.

For the SIFE student, she worked with him one on one for about twenty five minutes on fluency, decoding, comprehension and forming one prediction. Prior to beginning the book, the student made one prediction by looking at the cover of the book. The student made the prediction in Spanish, the teacher wrote it in English and then the student practiced reading the sentence aloud. The sentence was “I think the book is about an elephant who is lost in the ocean.” Next, the ENL teacher did a choral read with the student. According to Reading Rockets (2021), “Choral reading helps build students’ fluency, self-confidence, and motivation” (p.1). When I spoke to the ENL teacher afterwards she stated that she likes to use different reading approaches in order to help lower a students affective filter in the hopes that they build up their confidence and in turn participate more and take more risks. After the choral read, the ENL teacher asked the student to do an echo read of the same text. She would read the sentence and then the student would repeat the same sentence. After the student read the text, she asked the student to summarize what the book was about. The student didn’t understand and she asked the question again in Spanish. In Spanish the student was able to give a detailed explanation of the text. Finally, she asked the student if his initial prediction was correct. The student said no and was able to explain, in Spanish, why he felt it was incorrect.

Due to this being the same summer program, the initial distractions that were mentioned still posed to be an issue. The teachers do not use supportive backgrounds on google meet. The technology used in this lesson was the computer, google meet, google slides, SMART board, and Epic Books. The recordings of the individual students were used as a form of assessment as well as evidence of their growth. The links to their videos are to be included in their digital portfolio. The various questions that were asked throughout the observation were to recall prior learning, summarize the text and for purposes of evaluating the mastery of the given task. There were also many questions to check for understanding of the task and instructions given. The questioning throughout the lesson was not of variable difficulty.

Vignette Three

The third incident that I would like to describe is during an observation of the summer program during a reading lesson. The objective of this lesson was for the students to describe the mood of the story. In order to motivate the students the general education teacher started by showing many different squares in bright colors. She asked the students “what do you notice?” The students pointed out that there were many squares, they were all different colors, and they were bright colors. Then the teacher asked “how do these colors make you feel?” Some of the responses were “happy, fun, loved, excited, positive, bright, ecstatic and ready to start my day.” Next, the teacher showed another slide with the same squares in dark colors. She asked the same questions but the students’ feelings changed. They used words such as “sad, upset, angry, mad, unloved, bored, sleepy, and depressed.”

The general education teacher went on to explain why she showed the students those colored shapes and how it ties into the mood of the story. She explained that the mood of the story is how the reader feels while he or she is reading the story by reading the words or looking at the pictures, just like when they were examining the squares. This explanation was shown on the computer and the SMART board in both English and Spanish. There was also a visual of a girl on a bus showing a side by side comparison of her mood. One side she was happy and smiling and the other side she was resting her head on her hand and frowning. The teacher then asked the students to pay attention to the mood of the story, “or the way the words and the pictures make you feel,” as she read a book aloud. The book was called The Music of the Sea by Susanna Isern. While the book was being read to the class she pointed out several drawings and important words written in the story to show feeling. She also asked several questions such as “why do you think the author chose these colors? What mood was she trying to set? How do you think the little girl feels? How does it make you feel? Did the colors of the pictures change in the beginning and the end of the book? Why do you think the author did that?” To end the lesson, the students were sent to read in their independent books while the teacher and the ENL teacher conferred with different students. I really enjoyed the variety of questions that were used during this lesson.

The ENL teacher differentiated this lesson by pre-recording a read aloud of the Spanish version of this book for the entering and emerging students to listen to. For the transitioning and expanding students she pre-taught them vocabulary prior to the beginning of this lesson. Some of the vocabulary words that she picked from the book were crops, seashore, coastline, village, deserted, and waves. In order to pre-teach the vocabulary, she associated the word to its Spanish translation while also showing a visual representation of the word.

While she conferred with the students, she asked several questions to help them summarize, determine the mood, focus instruction, assess and form connections. In order to confer with the students virtually she explained to them that while she is speaking to one student, the other students have their microphones muted and their cameras off. Then she would take turns speaking to each individual student for about 5-7 minutes. During the conference, she would take anecdotal notes about their conversations in order to refer to at a later time.

In regard to the classroom, it would be difficult to draw a map of the classroom as I was not physically there. All of the students, regardless of whether they were in class or virtual, were asked to login to google meet and to mute their microphones. This was done in order to seem as though all the students were together and it gave them the ability to see one another. I believe that the teachers did the best they could given their unique teaching situation. The teachers were trying to juggle two sets of learners at the same time while facing several learning barriers and language barriers.

Given the situation, the teachers differentiated their instruction and incorporated several different teaching strategies and methods in order to suit the needs of their learners. A method that they largely incorporated into their instruction was communicative language teaching. Within their instruction they encouraged collaborative discourse and tried to “unravel the speaker or writer’s intention” (Larsen-Freeman, 2000, p.1). Furthermore, the ENL teacher noted any errors that she encountered during the lesson and noted them in order to target them during instruction at a later time. While differentiating her instruction the ENL teacher chose culturally diverse and relevant texts that the students could relate to. For example, during the observation where the students were asked to generate story ideas for their personal narratives, the ENL teacher showed the book Dreamers by Yuyi Morales as an example of an actual personal narrative. It shows and describes the journey that the author took from her home country to the United States with her child. The students were able to relate to this because they also moved from one country to another. All of these lessons were created and implemented in order to continue exposing the students to various reading skills and writing pieces.

Having the opportunity to work with and observe these two wonderful teachers was very enlightening. I learned many different strategies and approaches to education that I can now implement in my dual language classroom. For example, I love the fact that the ENL teacher scaffolded her reading instruction by starting with a choral read and then doing an echo read. By the time the student did the echo read he was much more comfortable with the text and he showed improvement in his fluency. I thoroughly enjoyed this fieldwork experience and look forward to taking what I learned and incorporating it into my daily instruction. 


Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). The LINGUIST List. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching.

Reading Rockets. (2021). Choral Reading.

​​Team, P. (2021, April 5). Virtual Classroom Distractions: How Teachers Can Help. Planbook Blog.

Touro TESOL Candidate Jason Madrick on Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development

Discussion Boards offer the opportunity to not only to reflect on readings but also contribute with peer responses to the learning process of the course cohort. Jason Madrick submitted thoughtful responses and analysis to the readings and webcast. Also, his peer responses were focused and featured APA style references.

Jason Madrick: Born and raised in Queens, NY, I have been an illustrator, musician, and overall creative person for as long as I can remember. A graduate of Syracuse University with BA degrees in Biology and Anthropology with minors in Sociology and Education, I have been teaching as a substitute teacher in public elementary schools in Queens, and then in the UPK program for more than a decade combined. I look forward to embarking on the next stage of my career in education being employed by the NYC DOE this coming fall and using my artistic and musical talents, love of reading, nature, science and more to convey and hopefully instill a love of learning in my future students.

This DB focuses on your reading of Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development

Q: How would YOU in YOUR professional teaching practice, track and assess reading levels? Please be specific in using academic vocabulary.

Jason Madrick: Once I take over a kindergarten class this November, I will be making my first attempts at tracking and assessing a student’s reading abilities. Also, I can’t help but think it sounds a bit more grandiose if I were to rephrase that last sentence like this; Once I’ve usurped an aged and wise educator this Autumn I will tally the cognitive literacy talents of these young minds using multiple methods. What I really mean is, I’m really not sure what type of assessments or reading programs this school uses yet. Any assessments that I made of this skill while in the UPK program were made very informally, and I supposed mostly centered around letters and simple word recognition. I know there are different types of leveled reading book systems that are used in different schools, but in Kindergarten, I suppose that students at this age are all still at the relative beginning of their journey towards literacy. They would all fall within Stage O according to Chall’s Stages of Literacy Development. (The Literacy Bug PDF). There is likely to be a fair amount of variety in the level of beginner reading skills among them as well. Some students may be familiar with the entire English alphabet from A to Z, while others may only recognize the ones that are used to spell their own names and some may be advanced enough to be able to read right through a level A/B/C/D etc type of storybook. In thinking about this, I did go to the website of the school where I’ll be working this fall to learn what reading program they might use, and they mention using the mClass Assessment System. (PS 303 Curriculum). I will have to read up on this in the coming months to familiarize myself with it somewhat before my ascent to being a full-time Kindergarten teacher. Cue jokes from my friends referencing the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. The school website also states that teachers are of course trained how to use this system for assessment purposes. This assessment is stated to occur three times a school year for grades K-5th. I’m also hoping that during the start of this school year while I am a full-time substitute teacher until I am placed in the Kindergarten class, I will meet with the retiring teacher to learn what I can from her before her retirement. Ideally, I will be able to also observe the class while she is teaching it so I can understand her approach and style of teaching somewhat. I may even learn some tips from her about how to assess reading levels using the mClass program the school uses. For these beginning readers, learning to recognize and write the letters of the English alphabet, learning the sounds related to these letters or phonics, increasing their English vocabulary, and of course, both listening and speaking English in class will be where most of our focus on literacy skills will be. Beyond the mClass system, I will perhaps also use some form of running records and also informal observations to keep track of students’ literacy skills as they progress through the year. This may include asking a student to read a simple sentence or series of words to me, or listening to them as they read something in print to a classmate in school. I’d also like to mention that for ELLs in this classroom I would make sure to display multiple visuals aids and graphics to help with their English language acquisitions. I would also want to use their L1 languages as best I can as a resource for both the students and myself as their teacher. If I have to learn a few new languages to say hello and goodbye in this school year I think I will be able to manage to add those words into my lexicon. Words from their L1 languages I could also present in the classroom as a language resource as well as something familiar from their culture for these students. In addition, native English speakers in the class will also be exposed to new words and languages which I think is very positive for early childhood learners in general. Though I won’t have to make any formal assessments about that process, at least that I’m aware of.

Watching the webcast and looking at the Reading Rockets resources was there anything that you will be able to incorporate into your professional practice?

Webcast description: Robert reads well in Spanish but speaks very little English. Marisa has trouble decoding basic stories. And Ms. Johnson, their second grade teacher, must teach them both to read – along with 23 other students. How? She must differentiate classroom instruction.

Differentiated Reading Instruction: Teaching Every Child is a 60-minute webcast that outlines the most effective strategies teachers can use to address the many different needs of each of their students – so that kids capable of learning to read, like Robert and Marisa, won’t fall behind.

Reading Rockets Resources:

Jason Madrick: I think the practice of differentiating instruction for diverse student needs will be a crucial skill to further develop as I continue in my teaching career. The ability to accurately determine and apply activities, resources, and skill levels for a variety of students in a classroom is a challenging demand made of today’s public school teachers, and in many ways is something I’m not perhaps as familiar with due to my age and own experience and memories from my own early childhood and elementary school instruction. I think back in the 1980s there was much more of a one size fits all approach to instruction within a single classroom. Though I also remember at that time that my school practiced what I think is called tracking or ability grouping. I know that I was in the “top” performing class from 1st through 6th grade, while there was a “middle” and “low” class in each grade as well each year. Learning how to accurately personalize instructional methods and activities for a wide variety of students within one class will take me time and practice to develop. Also to be able to equitably provide this specialization and differentiation to not just struggling or below level performing students, but also providing appropriately challenging tasks and activities for higher-performing students as well. It seems to me that differentiation of instruction for a wide spectrum of skill/abilities in students by a teacher is something that can make instruction more difficult for teachers. Especially compared to perhaps only teaching students that are all very similar in their academic skills such as the case with the practice of tracking. Of course, it would also seem that the former situation is perhaps fairer, or equitable for students as they can perhaps learn better from each other in a diverse group instead of one where all of the students are struggling at the same approximate level.

What did you learn for your own professional practice that was surprising after reading: Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development

Jason Madrick: I think the most surprising, or rather, the most interesting information I learned after reading “Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy Development” is the change in the type of cognitive functions that occur as a person develops and transitions towards becoming an expert, literate adult reader. There was a graph that was included that shows this visually also, which I definitely appreciated. The graph or slide was titled “Instructional Focus Changes Across Time” (The Literacy Bug PDF). To see that there is a point at which, the skills we have developed at first to be able to begin to read gradually sort of fade to the background for increasingly competent readers as they now are reading at an expert level. Once they have transitioned past this point, reading now requires more critical thinking, reflection, and other higher cognitive functions that have become paramount to the reading process. It makes sense to me though, as a kindergartner may have learned the skills to read a simple sentence like “See Spot Run.”, but it would take a much more advanced literate reader to ponder and perhaps ask questions about the more advanced and complicated literature that they are reading about. I’m not sure how likely it is that a kindergartner would perhaps in return independently think or ask their teacher “Who is this Spot? What is Spot? What color is Spot? Can I have a Spot? Why is Spot running? Is something chasing Spot? Should I be running too? Why aren’t you running?” All of which I think are great questions, and with some guidance in continuing verbal conversations with a student, may even be examples of higher-order thinking questions I could ask a student about what they just read to gauge their comprehension of the reading material and to elicit more critical thinking from them.


PS 303 Curriculum. AEAPS303Q. (n.d.).

Differentiated reading instruction. Reading Rockets. (2020, January 8).

The Literacy Bug. (n.d.). Teaching According to the Stages of Literacy.

Jason Madrick’s peer responses in the Discussion Board:
Hi K! Thanks for your post. I wanted to respond to your post because of your critique of the educational system in regards to pushing students along, and the pressure or “need” for “good” data being collected by a teacher for a school/district, etc. If the ability to read well, and becoming a functionally literate person is the foundation for all academic learning to follow, as well as perhaps for becoming a well-informed citizen capable of critical thinking, debate, and intelligent discussions, then why does the system allow, or rather push or force teachers such as yourself to pass students along from grade to grade? I could say that it’s either systemic or institutional negligence. Or that perhaps it’s inherently linked to our educational systems as it is related to the industrial revolution and the needs of businesses. This is an idea I was familiar with from prior readings in my past, perhaps I think from Howard Zinn’s book, “A People’s History of the United States.”, but I also wanted to find a recent article about it and located one titled “The Modern Education System Was Designed to Train Future Factory Workers to be “punctual, docile, and sober”.” (Schrager, A. 2018). Of course, it could be that many of our current problems with our education systems as we know them are still at work because our government, or the corporations that exert so much influence on it, want these problems to continue, or that they don’t even view them as problems to be corrected. “Well, the world needs ditch diggers too.” says Judge Smails in the movie “Caddyshack” from the 1980s when another character is lamenting that he can’t afford to go to college. Which I think is very much a reflection of that type of mentality and approach to education writ large within our popular culture. But as the world continues to change, and the work that people need, or are required to do to support themselves and their families changes with it, our education system needs to change as well. To quote the article by Allison Schrager that I found online; “In a post-industrial world, education may require an equally bold rethink. It might mean more comprehensive adult education, or regular retraining, to keep skills sharp as old jobs disappear and new ones appear that require vastly different responsibilities. Or it may involve integrating technology to create more personalized learning experiences.” I’m definitely curious to see which route we’ll take in the years to come.


​​Caddyshack. 1980.

Schrager, A. (n.d.). The Modern Education System Was Designed to Train Future Factory Workers to Be “punctual, docile, and sober”. Quartz.

Zinn, H. (2015). A people’s history of the United States: 1492-present. Routledge.

Jason Madrick’s peer responses in the Discussion Board:
Hello X., and thanks for your post. I wanted to comment in regards to your answer to the last question for this discussion board. I agree with you that the stages of reading development are closely connected and that teachers need to be aware of where a student is in that process so that they can accurately give them the support they need to make progress. Also as you mentioned, as a teacher in elementary school, which is where all of my teaching experience has been up to this point as well, that is where students ideally should be establishing a firm understanding of reading and language skills as this is the foundation for everything that will follow. Now, of course, not all children develop at the same rate or even in the same way cognitively or social-emotionally, so what happens to students that for whatever reason(s) don’t make enough progress in developing their literacy skills while in elementary school? Well, as I mentioned in another post earlier this summer, learning of course is not always a straight path from point A to B and so on. Some students will perhaps get the right resources, and be able to get the support and additional instruction they need to catch up to their peers if they are lacking the skills that a grade or curriculum requires for them to successfully learn from. But of course, many students will not get that support, and will not make progress. But will they continue to go on from grade to grade through junior high and high school even without ever reaching a fully developed, or expert level of reading comprehension? I think the answer is most likely yes. Some students will not graduate from high school, others may have enough skills to pass a GED exam, or will perhaps graduate through a “City as School” program where they gain job skills and experience. But will they ever become well-read, incredibly literate adults? It’s possible, but then it will come back to how much they practice reading during their adult life. Reading is a skill that if it’s not practiced regularly, will not improve, and will likely degrade in some respects and will result in lower comprehension, and ability to take on more complex texts. This also brings to mind a meme I had seen over this past summer that said one of the biggest predictors of future academic success was if and how much reading by parents and family members that a child is exposed to during their crucial early childhood years. If this is in fact true, then ultimately, reading and literacy is a skill that starts from birth and must be practiced for the rest of one’s life to be maintained and/or improved. Obviously, our present system of education has many issues and holes through which students slip through because they are behind their peers, have learning disabilities, have any number of home/life issues, or perhaps just weren’t read to enough as children. -Jason

Touro TESOL candidate Jaclyn Kletchka reflects on English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities

As Touro TESOL Bilingual teacher candidates prepare for a career in education and to become a reflective practitioner, it is imperative that they accept responsibility and take an active role in their own learning. This is why the TESOL Program at Touro College requires to write Reflective Learning Journals.

Ten Attributes of a Reflective Practitioner (Larrivee, 2009)

  1. Reflects on and learns from experience
  2. Engages in ongoing inquiry
  3. Solicits feedback
  4. Remains open to alternative perspectives
  5. Assumes responsibility for own learning
  6. Takes action to align with new knowledge and understanding
  7. Observes self in the process of thinking
  8. Is committed to continuous improvement in practice
  9. Strives to align behaviors with values and beliefs
  10. Seeks to discover what is true


Jaclyn Kletchka is a graduate student at Touro College’s TESOL program. She has experience working for the Brentwood School District where she filled the roles of permanent substitute teacher, ENL leave replacement teacher, and summer school kindergarten teacher. Ms. Kletchka shared that “during my free time, I enjoy reading, going on hikes, and spending time with my two rescue pups!”

Description of Highlight(s) – chapter, article or event that is relevant to the EDPN 671 course.(10 pts.)    In the video titled, English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities, Dr. Cardenas Hagan, a bilingual speech pathologist discusses with a representative from colorincolorado effective instructional strategies for English language learners who are also students with disabilities. Hagan also explains strategies that encourage active parent involvement of parents of English language learners with learning disabilities. In the profession of TESOL education, this is a very important topic because it can be difficult to distinguish whether a student is struggling due to a learning disability, or due to the language barrier. The presenter of this video explains that when students first come to school, they should be screened and this can be used as an “anchor” for the teacher. The teacher then implements the use of accommodations when working with English language learners to monitor their progress. If the student is not responding to the modifications and accommodations, it is then that the teacher should begin the Response to Intervention (RTI) process (colorincolorado). An effective strategy that Hagan stated is that teachers should assess these students in both the English language, and in their native language. This is a very helpful tool when determining if an English language learner has a learning disability because educators are able to observe the students’ skills in both languages. Hagan discussed that a potential problem with the assessments being used is that they are not always culturally relevant to English language learners. Once a student is classified as an English language learner with a learning disability, it is critical that their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) includes specific goals and objectives that are measurable. Hagan emphasizes throughout the video presentation that these students must be receiving support in their native language as well as in the English language, and that teachers can help ELLs make connections between the two languages.
Initial Emotional Response (surprised, embarrassed, sad, inspired, excited, puzzled, etc.) (10 pts.)   My initial response to watching this video about English language learners who have learning disabilities was excitement. I am certified to teach both general education and special education grades birth through six, and I am soon to be a certified ENL teacher. Since I am certified to teach in these content areas, it is very likely that I will be teaching ELLs with learning disabilities throughout my educational career. I felt excitement when watching this video because there are so many resources and effective instructional strategies that teachers can utilize when reaching these learners. My initial response when watching this video was excitement also because I have worked with English language learners who have learning disabilities, and absolutely loved it. While watching this video, I felt very impressed with the strength of both educators, and students. Educators adapt their teaching and instructional strategies to meet the individual needs of their unique learners, and I find this to be truly amazing. Not only am I impressed with the teachers, but I am also impressed with the students who are both English language learners and students with disabilities. These students are learning both content, and the English language all at the same time. I feel that this is extremely difficult for any individual, and especially for students with disabilities.
Learning Process   1) Prior Assumptions or Opinions about the topic of the described highlight. (10 pts.)   My prior opinion on ENL students who have learning disabilities is that it is very difficult to identify if the academic delay is due to a learning disability, or the language barrier. I assumed that this is especially difficult when the educators do not speak the same language as their students who are English language learners. I feel that the language barrier is not only difficult for the students, but also for the teachers in the classroom. If a teacher does not speak the same language as the English language learners in his/her classroom, they have to find ways to accommodate these students’ language, social, and academic needs. I had the assumption that some of the assessments given to this population of students are not effective in determining if a student is struggling because of a learning disability, or due to the language barrier. The assessments may not be effective due to factors such as cultural and language differences. A student may not know how to accurately answer a question because they have not yet been exposed to the vocabulary terms or academic language. Before watching this video, I also had the prior assumption that English language learners who have learning disabilities require a large amount of accommodations and modifications within their learning. I felt that these students need more one-on-one instruction than their peers and that it will take them a longer time to grasp and master academic concepts, due to their learning disability, and language barrier. Prior to watching this video, I also had the assumption that English language learners should also receive academic instruction and support in their native language as well as in the English language.
2) Source of Assumption or Opinion (10 pts.)  I have the opinion that it can be difficult to confidently determine whether a student is struggling academically due to a language barrier, or because of a learning disability. The source of this assumption are conversations I have had with several ENL teachers. For the past year, I have worked at East Elementary School in Brentwood, New York. The population of students that attend East Elementary is largely composed of bilingual and ENL students. When speaking with experienced ENL teachers, they explained to me how difficult it can be to determine if a student is struggling due to a language barrier, or due to a learning disability. I have learned from ENL teachers in my school that this is an especially difficult task when working with young children, as East Elementary is a kindergarten building. I also feel that English language learners who have a learning disability require more academic support and accommodations than their general education peers. I have these opinions regarding this content area because I just recently completed a leave of absence position where I filled the role of a kindergarten ENL teacher. During this leave replacement position, I worked in small groups, and one-on-one with English language learners who are also students with disabilities to teach them the basic skills of reading and writing. While planning lessons and materials, I followed a literacy curriculum, as well as, my students’ IEP goals. I have experienced first hand that this population of students require more one-on-one attention and instruction than their general education peers. Throughout this leave replacement position, I have also gained experience in developing accommodations and modifications to meet the needs of my students. For example, I observed that a large majority of my students were struggling with identifying the letters and the letter sounds. In an attempt to strengthen this skill, I created an alphabet book for each of my students. The book consisted of the uppercase and lowercase letters, and a picture of an object that represents the sound that letter makes. I practiced the alphabet and alphabet sounds for a few minutes each day with my students. I also created interactive and engaging games to play with my students. One game that I created is called “alphabet soup”. I placed letters in a bowl and the students “scooped” up the letters using a spoon, and I would ask the students educational questions such as “what does this letter say?” and “can you think of a word that begins with that letter?”. I also have the assumption that English language learners should be receiving instruction in their native language based on my experiences as an ENL kindergarten teacher.     
3) Assumption/Opinion Check – Validation/Invalidation (20 pts.)    After viewing the video, English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities, my opinion that English language learners who are also students with disabilities require more accommodations and modifications to their learning has been validated. My assumption that it can be very difficult to determine whether a student is having a difficult time academically because of a language barrier, or due to a learning disability has also been validated. At the beginning of this video, Hagan explains that this is a current issue and that educators often struggle to make the distinction between a learning disability and a language barrier. According to the article titled, English Language Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education, English language learners are at a disadvantage due to the lack of appropriate valid and reliable assessment instruments” (Irujo, 2004). The presenter of the video, Hagan, explains that English language learners should be assessed in both their native language, and in the English language. By assessing the student in both languages, the teacher has the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the students’ academic skills. I have also gained further knowledge on my assumption that it is important for English language learners to continue developing skills in their native language. This opinion was validated when reading chapter six of the textbook titled, Affirming Diversity written by Nieto and Bode. The authors of this textbook state that “in the case of emergent bilingual students, this means that their natie language can be a strong foundation for future learning” (Nieto & Bode, 2018). In this chapter, Nieto and Bode explain how teachers can build upon the skills students have in their native language to further develop their skills when speaking the English language.        
4) Realization/Aha Moment or Epiphany (20 pts.)   Before viewing this video, I understood the difficulty of determining whether a student is struggling due to a lack of English proficiency or due to a learning disability. However, I was not fully aware of the measures that must be taken to ensure a student is placed in the correct educational setting, and is receiving the proper support and services. Before watching this video and conducting further research, I was also not aware of how educators tease out between learning difficulties and language difficulties. The “aha moment” occurred to me when watching this video and the speaker stated that “no matter what the language, and within languages, and across languages what we will find are similar patterns of difficulty” (colorincolorado). Hagan provided the audience with the example of a student with dyslexia. She explains that a student with dyslexia will very clearly display in their native language the same type of difficulties, such as having trouble with the processing of sounds, as in the English language. It was during this moment that I realized if a student has a learning disability, they are likely to show the same or similar struggles when learning in both their native language and the English language. From doing further research on the topic of English language learners with learning disabilities, I have learned that ELLs may be overrepresented in special education, due to ineffective assessments and assessment strategies. According to the article titled, English-language learners may be over-represented in the learning disabilities category, it is critical that a stable assessment tool is developed that is able to accurately identify if a student is struggling due to a lack of proficiency of the English language, or a learning disability (Krings, 2107). This article explains that the national estimates reveal that English-language learners may be over-represented in the learning disabilities category due to ineffective and inaccurate testing. Based on conducted research on this topic, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) legally requires the distinction between a learning disability and a lack of language proficiency, which can be challenging to identify.  
Implications for future teaching practice (20 pts.) What specific changes do you intend to make in your teaching or classroom environment? After watching this informative video, I plan to make several changes to my teaching methods in order to better support English Language Learners who have learning disabilities. I learned from the video titled English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities, that it is very important to get to know your students and build positive relationships with each and every one of them. In order to do so, I plan on implementing a daily check in into our morning routine. I plan on doing this daily check in by creating a “ feelings thermometer”. On the right side of this “thermometer” will be different feelings such as happy, sad, excited, angry, etc. On the left side of the “thermometer” will be a pipe cleaner with a bead. The students will move the bead each day to tell me how they are feeling that day. I also learned from this video the importance of incorporating the students’ cultures and native languages into my lesson plans. I feel that it is very important to build students’ confidence and make them feel comfortable and safe in your class. A great and effective way to do this is by learning about, and embracing their cultures and what makes them unique. I am going to include my students’ cultures and native languages into my teaching through literature, videos, and student created projects. I plan on having my students complete a project where they bring in an item from their culture. This item could be a type of food, a piece of clothing, or a family heirloom. The students will bring these items into school and will have the opportunity to share their culture with their classmates. Not only will the students be learning important information about other cultures, but they will also have the opportunity to practice their speaking and listening skills. Another change I plan on implementing into my classroom environment is making a greater effort to include parents and families into their child’s learning. Throughout the video, Hagan discussed the importance of getting parents and families involved in their childrens’ learning, especially students who are English language learners with learning disabilities. I plan on taking Hagan’s advice and encouraging parents to read to their children, even if it is in their native language, and not in the English language. The presenter of this video explains how this is a great way to get children excited about learning how to read (colorincolorado). Hagan pointed out that some parents of our students may not know how to read and write, and this makes it very difficult for them to read to/with their children. If I am aware of parents not being able to read and/or write, I am going to provide them with the support and resources they need such as adult literacy courses, translation services, etc. The last change I plan on implementing into my teaching is the increased use of group learning. I feel that it is essential that students learn from each other, and group learning will help English language learners with learning disabilities to improve upon their speaking and literacy skills. I also feel that group learning will benefit this population of students greatly because it gives them the opportunity to socialize with their peers and build their confidence. I believe that all of the changes I plan to incorporate into my classroom are relevant and important to TESOL and bilingual education. The changes I am going to begin to implement are important to this field of education because they are all strategies to improve the overall academic experience for ENL and bilingual students.


          Colorincolorado. (2015). English Language Learners with Learning Disabilities. (Video). YouTube. Retrieved from

            Irujo, S. (2004). English Language Learners & Disproportionality in Special Education. MAEC. Retrieved from

Krings, M. (2017). English-language learners may be over-represented in learning disabilities category. Psychorg. Retrieved from

Nieto, Sonia & Bode, Patty (2018). Affirming Diversity. The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Seventh Edition, Pearson, New York.

Touro TESOL/Bilingual teacher candidate Elias Y. Taveras reflects on Affirming Diversity

A reflective learning journal is a means of recording ideas, personal thoughts and experiences, as well as reflections and insights candidates experience during during their Touro TESOL/Bilingual journey. Reflective journal writing requires candidates to think more deeply, confront their values and beliefs, and encourages them to pose questions.

What is a Reflective Learning Journal?

A reflective learning journal is a means of recording ideas, personal thoughts and experiences, as well as reflections and insights candidates experience during during their Touro TESOL/Bilingual journey. Reflective journal writing requires candidates to think more deeply, confront their values and beliefs, and encourages them to pose questions.


In your reflective journal, you will be required to critically analyze and synthesize the information you are learning into your personal thoughts and philosophy, integrate what the learning may mean to you as a teacher, and to guide you to identify your future professional development needs.

The reflective learning journal also provides faculty with insights regarding your learning so that they may respond to questions and explore topics that need further clarification. Lastly, the journal provides you take charge of your own learning and to develop the habits of a reflective, lifelong educator (adapted from Assessment Resources, HUK, 2012).

Touro TESOL/Bilingual teacher candidate Elias Y. Taveras submitted a deeply thoughtful reflection. It is a priviledge and honor to read such submissions as they help me grow both professionally and personally.

Mr. Taveras embodies : “Teachers have three loves: love of learning, love of learners, and the love of bringing the first two loves together.” ― Scott Hayden

Mr. Taveras currently serves as a teacher in the Bronx, NY. He migrated from the Dominican Republic when he was in middle school and grew up in the city ever since. Mr. Taveras received a Bachelor of Art in Journalism from SUNY Buffalo State and later completed his master’s in Bilingual Education at The City College of New York. Mr. Taveras wrote that “…above everything else, I am a single father and a teacher of kindness.”

Mr. Taveras’ Reflective Journal on Affirming Diversity

  1. Description of Highlight(s) – chapter, article or event that pertains to ___________course. (20 pts.)
    For this reflection, I have chosen to write about chapter two of Affirming Diversity. The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education by Sonia Nieto. Chapter two is titled Defining Multicultural Education for School Reform. The chapter begins with Sonia Nieto explaining that for many years she has heard through conversation with educators that multicultural education is a “done deal” that is not needed. Such a statement reflects on how misunderstood diversity is in our country. Furthermore, when people begin to have conversations about diversity it is usually about sensitivity training, units about ethnic holidays, food festivals. When schools take this approach to multicultural education the potential for lasting change is decimated. The chapter breaks down the definition of multicultural education as an essential tool for school reform by analyzing seven primary characteristics. The definition highlights the lack of achievement on students of diverse backgrounds and promotes the content and process of education. It is also mentioned that multicultural education will not serve as the solution for the achievement gap, put an end to boring curriculums, or stop vandalism in the communities. Nonetheless, multicultural education can provide change and reform to the educational system. The chapter breaks the definition of multicultural education into seven characteristics meant to detain us from developing one way of understanding multicultural education. Instead, they are meant to entice us into thinking about the interplay between societal and school structure and context and how those factors affect learning. Sonia Nieto defines multicultural education on a social-political basis: “Multicultural education is a process of comprehensive school reform and basic education for all students. It challenges and rejects racism and other forms of discrimination in society and accepts and affirms the pluralism (ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, economic, gender, and sexual orientation, amongst others) that students, their communities, and teachers reflect. Multicultural education permeates the school’s curriculum and intuitional strategies as well as the interactions amongst teachers, students, and families and the very way that schools conceptualized the nature of teaching and learning,” (p. 32). The chapter continues to die peeper into multicultural education.
  2. Initial Emotional Response (surprised, embarrassed, sad, inspired, excited, puzzled, etc.) (5 pts.)
    Reading about the highlighted brought a mix of emotions and it forced me to reflect on my past experiences as an educator and professional. Specially because some of the examples in the chapter had to do with topics and lessons that I had already thought about in the past. Moreover, if I could select an emotion that overwhelmed all the others after reading about the topic it would have to be an embarrassment. I felt embarrassed at different levels because there were numerous aspects of multicultural education that I had no idea about and there were many realizations about my behavior and that of my colleagues that were indeed embarrassing. Reading the chapter I first felt embarrassed when Sonia Nieto mentions: “unfortunately when multicultural education is mentioned, many people think of lessons in human relations and sensitivity training, units about ethnic holidays, education in inner-city schools, or food festivals. If multicultural education is limited to these issues, the potential of substantive change in school is severally diminished,” (p. 32). This let me feeling embarrassed because at my school and specifically in my classroom we have celebrated many events about a different culture. For black history month, we would briefly go over historical figures and their impact on history. For Ramadan, we would read a book about Islam and have the kids discuss it. However, the worst of the worst was when Cinco de Mayo would roll around, and all across the school, we would be celebrating Mexican culture with a holiday that real Mexicans do not even celebrate. After doing these food/cultural events we would feel proud and we would check the box for multicultural education in our heads.
    Learning Process
  3. Prior Assumptions or Opinions about the described highlight (10 pts.)
    One major assumption I had before reading chapter two of Affirming Diversity was about the way I was teaching history and historical figures of the black community was a sufficient method of teaching using multicultural education. One major example of my pedagogy that was also reflected in this reading was the teaching of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Whenever the time of the year came for this holiday we simply rolled out the tapes and recording of I had a dream. I would make the students watch the speech and discussing the importance of the events that led to the speech. I would later introduce the language objective in which students had to think of ways they could make the world better through their dreams. This was achieved using the infamous and famous starter words of I had a dream. Students would first think of ways the world needed to be changed and then they would use the sentence starter to initiate their solution or their ideal world. I was assuming that it was relevant for me to stop there and move on from teaching them anything more about Martin Luther King Jr.
  4. Source of Assumption or Opinion What made you have such an assumption? (5 pts.)
    The source of my assumption that sanitizing historical figures was a way to teach multicultural learning is unknown to me. There could be many different reasons why I had this assumption. On the other hand, the best answer to this question could be the ignorance. Before reading this chapter I was not aware of the term sanitizing the curriculum. Moreover, I grew up in the Bronx in the mix of a dance Black and Latino population. There were no white students ever around me until I got to university. The teachers that gave me my education in middle school and high school were mostly white but even the few teachers of color that I had all taught these topics the same way or similar to me. It is possible that because I grew up watching the educators of color teach about prominent historical figures by only touching the surface of the topic. There was no deeper connection to us or our experience as individuals of color in the United States. We were also never though the negative actions of these figures so part of my assumption could have been a result of always merely scratching the surface.
  5. Assumption/Opinion Check – Validation/Invalidation (20 pts.)
    Reading this chapter was shocking, embarrassing, and eye-opening at the same time. This was because it allowed me to humble myself and learn about a practice or assumption that I had in the past. My assumption that teaching about rich colorful and deep historical characters by merely mentioning them or scratching the surface of what they are known for was invalidated. Often time I avoided talking about racism and speaking openly about the problem with many historical figures and events. This was invalidated when Sonia Nieto said: “Too many schools avoid confronting, honestly and directly, the negative effects of history, the arts, and sciences. Michael Fine has called this the “fear of Learning,” and it is part of the system of silencing public schools,” (p. 33). At this instant, my previous opinion was checked. Avoiding diving deeper into history and inclosing the negative sides of what happened to us was wrong. Avoiding to speak to my students about the racism that their ancestors faced was not doing them any favors or improving the deep of conversation they could have with each other. In order to protect their feelings I rejected talking about people and experiences that were crucial and similar to theirs. Maybe I did not want to remind them of something that they experience every day but it was the wrong choice because instead I sanitized or clean up the topics my students could embark on.
  6. Realization/Aha Moment or Epiphany (20 pts.)
    Chapter two provided me with many realizations or aha moments. The most significant one that I can think of because I teach it every year to my students was when Sonia Nieto used Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as an example of sanitizing characters. It was a perfect example of what it is like to only scratch the surface with a topic to fulfill a requirement in the curriculum. Sonia Nieto states: “The only thing children know about him is that he kept “having a dream.” School bulletin boards are full of ethereal pictures of Dr. King surrounded by clouds. If children get to hear or read any of his speeches at all, it is his “I Have a Dream” speech. As inspirational as this speech is, it is only one piece of his notable accomplishments. (p.33). Nieto continues to explain that educators barely explore more of the life of Dr. King: “Rare indeed are allusions to his early and consistent oppositions to the Vietnam War; his strong criticism of unbridled capitalism; and the connection he made near the end of his life among racism, capitalism, and war. This sanitation of Martin Luther King, a man full of passion and life, renders him an oversimplified, lifeless figure, in the process making him a “safe hero,” (p.33). reading this hit home because I am certain that if I ask any of my students from this past year about Dr. King all they would say is I have a dream. They would not even possess the knowledge or the academic language to further explains the accomplishments of such an important person in our history. Furthermore, that is why I am extremely thankful to have gotten the opportunity to read Affirming Diversity. I would not have thought about how my students are affected by the lack of real colorful and truthful teaching. I now understand that it is extremely important to push past discomfort to have conversations that are uncomfortable but challenging to students. Without this kind of work, students will walk out of my class without the ability to properly discuss the world around them.
  7. Implications for future teaching practice (20 pts.)
    Due to the realization that my prior assumption was invalidated, I have now realized that there can be many changes made in my teaching. I have to begin to plan out units to identify the topics that are going to be impactful for them. I want to allow students to have an impact on some of the material that we study in class. I want to allow students to be surveyed and to share their opinions as to what they should learn. Subsequently, also allowing them to bring in their own experiences through inquiry questions. I plan to have questioners at the beginning and end of every unit. In this way, I could use their prior knowledge to guide the direction of the unit. I can also use these questions to find out if any of the students have possible real-life connections to the topic. For instance, if we are learning about ending slavery and Abraham Lincoln and through inquiry I find out that one of the students has a relative that has a connection or history with slavery or the ending of. It could be possible to contact that person to come in to speak to the students. To have the students prepare questions and make their experiences and the ones of their family members validated and appreciated by all. Another major step I must take after my realization is planning how I am going to teach my third graders stronger academic language that will help them understand the complexities of history and politics. If we plan to research Dr. King beyond “I Have a Dream,” my students need to understand ideas like communism and capitalism. In the end, there is much work to be done that will be active and heavily involving of the student’s opinions, experiences, and expectations. The reason why it will be difficult but rewarding is that antiracism education is not done inactively. As Sonia Nieto stated in chapter two: “To be anti-racist is not a passive act; it proposes working actively to combat racism…it means making anti-discrimination explicit parts of the curriculum and teaching young people skills in confronting racism.” (p. 33).

  8. Nieto, Sonia & Bode, Patty (2018). Affirming Diversity. The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Seventh Edition, Pearson, New York

Touro TESOL Candidate Michelle Velez on Program Options for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners with Personal Teaching Illustrations

EDPN 673 Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language provides a historical overview of second language acquisition theories and teaching methods. Students learn how to apply current approaches, methods and techniques, with attention to the effective use of materials, in teaching English as a second language. Students will engage in the planning and implementation of standards-based ESL instruction which includes differentiated learning experiences geared to students’ needs. Emphasis is placed on creating culturally responsive learning environments. Ms. Velez submitted an outstanding Discussion Board Contribution.

Michelle Velez is a 1st grade teacher in the South Bronx. She has worked in the education field since 2015, holding various titles. Ms. Velez feels that “obtaining an advanced certificate in TESOL is my goal in order to better assist my students on their language acquisition journey.”

What are the basic tools and techniques for effective second language/foreign language teaching?

There are three main parts to effective second language/foreign language teaching, which are approach, design, and procedure. The grouping of students plays a large role in an ENL classroom for the students. One type of grouping depends on the L2 language of one of the students. If a student acquiring the L2 is paired with another who has some grasp on the L2 it is helpful. The student is able to work with another in the target language that is accessible to them, and not going to frustrate them because they are able to understand each other. It is more valuable to ELL students to work in pairs or groups than individually because they are able to have valuable conversation in the L2 with their peers, which fosters growth. From personal experience I found that ELL students prefer and become excited when paired with peers because it is a greater benefit in learning the L2 and fosters growth over time. A student’s classmate can help in ways us educators cannot sometimes because they have their own way of communicating and understanding each other. Another important part of the classroom is the different types of talk the teacher has with the students. Whether it’s small talk about the weather or the past weekend, pre-lesson talks about the upcoming lesson or the previous one. Another important aspect in the classroom is providing feedback when needed. Wait time when asking a question to ELL students is very important and much needed. ELL students need a longer wait time in order to process the questions being asked. Asking multiple questions in a short amount of time can potentially overwhelm and cause a student to shut down. I have seen this first hand while I was student teaching years ago. The student put his head down and refused to talk because it was too much information coming at him at once.

Give specific illustrative example examples of YOUR PERSONAL teacher classroom discourse IN YOUR CLASSES

In a third grade classroom we started our mystery unit by drawing the student in. We had a class plant that was watered by the students when needed. To get the students hooked we hid the plant in the closet with dirt left behind. The students noticed the plant was gone and we asked if anything they have has went missing before and what were the steps they used to try and find it. We talked a little about this to make a relatable connection to their lives. As this question was opened to the class, we had a short turn and talk with their assigned partners. Our ELL students were paired with two others, one ELL and non-ELL student to foster and encourage conversations. Later in this unit we read a mystery book (3rd Grade Detective Series) and students were asked to answer comprehension questions based on what was read following in each chapter. As a class we would start the discussion about the chapters then students were asked to go back and answer a few on their own or in pairs. While the students are working we did provide visual supports or modified questions when needed. Most common visual supports are sentence starters.

PRETEND THAT YOU OBSERVE YOUR OWN CLASS – use the sample classroom observation feedback form p. 361 in your textbook and reflect on what you learned about your planning, teaching and assessment.

Lesson Quality: The lesson achieved its initial objectives to introduce the next unit of study, mystery. Michelle was able to pace the lesson appropriately for all of the students, taking her time and not rushing through any questions students may have about the topic. Students were engaged and able to be apart of the opening of the lesson, which helped draw student’s interest.

Teacher Presentation: All aspects of the presentation were clear for students to understand. Students were engaged and focused on the lesson presentation and class conversations. Students were grouped not based on academic levels, but students were grouped based on abilities to bring out the best in their peers, especially with ELL students.

Student Participation: Students showed a high interest level in the lesson, especially the pre-lesson introduction with the missing class plant. While reading the book students also showed a high interest in class discussions sharing their thoughts about the mystery present in the book.

Looking back on this particular lesson I think engaging the students in the pre-lesson “the missing class plant” was very effective in getting the students excited about mysteries. They were able to somehow connect it to their own lives, which is important for all students, even more so for ELL students. Students were also given ample opportunity to converse and work on their verbal language with peers. Students worked in several grouping opportunities, whole class, pair, and small groups. Students were also provided with visual supports and modified questions.

If I had to change anything for this lesson I would break down the chapters a little more instead of asking comprehension questions about the entire chapter. Some of the chapters were long, making some students frustrated when trying to find answers and evidence to support those answers.

On p 389 in your textbook -391 you will find textbook evaluation checklists.  Take one book YOU USE CURRENTLY in YOUR classroom and analyze it with those checklists. Reflect on what you learned in your answer in the DB with specific, descriptive examples.

The book I picked is the enVision Math book we use in first grade. In the first section of the checklist, curriculum this book covers the topics needed for my first grade students, however the time frame for each section feels rushed. Students do not get enough time to work on their skills for each topic instead each topic is rushed. Often I find myself spending more than one day on topics rather than rushing just to get through the topics we need to be covered in the school year. One example of this can be found in topic 3, where we cover addition facts to 20 by using various strategies. Each lesson adds upon the last, for example, the first lesson’s focus is counting on to add followed by counting on to add using an open number line. It is a positive that each concept builds upon the previous, but there is not a sufficient number of examples for the students to refer to if needed support. In the lesson using a number line, there is one example given for the students to refer back to. Another issue students can face is the students need to then create their own number lines in order to solve 9 questions. If the students were not exposed to number lines prior to this lesson it may be a lot to assume students will understand the concept of using a number line so quickly. One part of the checklist that stood out and is often not represented well in the textbooks we use in schools is the cultural & age group sensitivities. For example, one of the word problems in this topic mentions the zoo, pounds, and tortoises. Some of my students have no prior experience with going to zoos or they have no idea what tortoises are. This word problem is supposed to be completed independently. If they are not able to read the words how are they supposed to be able to solve the problem. Often I notice the students either completely skip the word problems provided in this textbook or they get stuck on the words and concepts not familiar to them. This textbook has its positive aspects but also many negatives that make it difficult for my students to grasp concepts.

Gather some information on student assessment from your school district. What kinds of student assessments are regularly administered, and in what language? If the district includes non-native speakers of English, are testing and assessment requirements modified or altered in any way to accommodate them? If so, how?

Prior to the pandemic one assessment administered was the MOSOL, which is supposed to measure student learning in the beginning of the year and at the end of the year. The MOSOL is given to students in English. If students need translation of the questions we try to provide that if we can. In some cases we do not have an adult that speaks a certain language and able to translate for the student. Often we encourage the students to try their best, sometimes we do have the ENL teacher to take her group of students to administer the MOSOL assessment. She will read each question and answers in the student’s L1. Another assessment given to students is the NYSESLAT at the end of each school year. This assessment measures an ELL student’s English proficiency. This assessment is given to students in English, as it’s purpose to measure student’s ability in English.

In NYS, what are the Program Options for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners?

Students can be in a Transitional Bilingual Education Program (TBE). Students in this program learn to read, write, speak, and understand in English. Simultaneously, students are learning content in their L1. It is the goal of these students to eventually learning in only English. Dual language programs give students the opportunity to become multilingual. One-way dual programs instruction is given in the student’s L1 and in English. In two-way dual programs is for native English speakers and ELL students. Instruction is in both English and the new language. ENL programs focuses on acquiring English. Some students receive push-in instruction and other received pullout instruction in the core content.

What is the purpose of Commissioner’s Regulations – Sections 117

The purpose of Sections 117 is to screen new students in a school to see if they are gifted, having a disability, and or an ELL student.

How do the BLUEPRINT FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER/MULTILINGUAL LEARNER (ELL/MLL) SUCCESS and CR Part 154 Comprehensive ELL Education Plan (CEEP) and ENL staffing requirements connect with each other? 

These three connect with each other because they focus on the success of the ELL students. All of these outline ways to help better assist ENL students on their way through the journey of language acquisition. Depending on the level of the ELL student determines how often the ENL teacher will meet with them per week.

Celce-Murcia, M. (2001). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Heinle & Heinle.

Commissioner’s Regulations – Sections 117.1-3. NYSED. (n.d.).

Program Options for ELLs and MLs. New York State Education Department. (n.d.).

Touro College GSE TESOL Candidate Jason Madrick on Sociopolitical Contexts of Multicultural Education in Public Education for Course EDPN-671

In synchronous online courses discussion boards are in integral part of student analysis and peer cross-pollination. Touro TESOL Candidate Jason Madrick submitted a thoughtful, reflective, exemplary discussion board contribution for the course Theory and Practice of Bilingual and Multicultural Education EDPN-671.

In synchronous online courses discussion boards are an integral part of student analysis and peer cross-pollination. Touro TESOL Candidate Jason Madrick submitted a thoughtful, reflective, exemplary discussion board contribution for the course Theory and Practice of Bilingual and Multicultural Education EDPN-671. This course reviews the impact of historical, legal, sociological, and political issues in relationship to the education of culturally and linguistically diverse students. It is designed to prepare bilingual and ESOL teachers to work successfully with language minority students, in the context of bilingual ESL programs. It includes the study of the historical, psychological, social, cultural, political, theoretical and legal foundations of bilingual education programs in the United States. Students will examine and analyze different bilingual program models so that they may apply such knowledge to the implementation of pedagogically effective practices for second language learners using both the L1 and the L2 in curriculum implementation. Communication with parents and families concerning students’ academic and social outcomes will be highlighted. The course supports Touro College’s commitment to preparing educational professionals to work in diverse urban and suburban settings. Students explore the evolution of attitudes regarding bilingualism and multiculturalism in the United States. Emphasis is placed on developing multicultural competence as educators, with areas of focus including cross-cultural communication in the classroom and with parents; how the language and culture of the home and the community impact student learning; cultural factors in the relationships between the school and the community. Models of multicultural and bilingual education will be presented and analyzed. Includes 10 hours of fieldwork.

Jason Madrick was born and raised in Queens, NY. He has been an illustrator, musician, and overall creative person. Mr. Madrick is graduate of Syracuse University with BA degrees in Biology and Anthropology and minors in Sociology and Education. He has taught as a substitute teacher in public elementary schools in Queens, and then in the UPK program for more than a decade combined. Jason Madrick wrote: “I look forward to embarking on the next stage of my career in education being employed by the NYC DOE this coming fall and using my artistic and musical talents, love of reading, nature, science and more to convey and hopefully instill a love of learning in my future students.”

The Discussion Board prompts are in Italic

In your own words, provide a brief summary (4-6 sentences) of one of the major concepts presented in Chapter 1: Affirming Diversity, The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Seventh Edition, Pearson, New York (Nieto, Sonia & Bode, Patty,2018). You may select any concept within the chapter. Choose one that you find unique, interesting, and/or worthy of intellectual discussion.

Jason Madrick : In the last section of Chapter One of our text “Affirming Diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education” by Sonia Nieto and Paddy Bode, one of the concepts that caught my attention was the influence of private industry in public schools, and the heavy focus on high stakes standardized testing. These testing practices had grown out of the policies and curriculum changes that can be linked back to the publication of the “A Nation at Risk” in 1983. (Nieto & Bode, 2018). From there, the No Child Left Behind Act or NCLB continued this trend of focusing on high stakes testing, and the links between private industries and charter schools in particular is alarming in the enormous influence they have on our public education system in the United States. The “testing industrial complex” (Nieto & Bode, 2018) is a term I had not heard before reading this chapter, but it seems incredibly accurate to me based on my own observations and experiences with the company who has published every text book I have used so far in graduate school, Pearson. Pearson is also the same company I had to gather and input data for during my recent teaching experiences in the UPK program. Described in this chapter as a “monstrous carnivore” that devours public school funding, (Nieto & Bode, 2018) Pearson, I think is just one example of the many private companies whose quest for profits is in direct conflict with the noble goals of public education.

Provide a brief discussion/introduction/explanation of the sociopolitical context of your school environment. If you don’t currently work in a school, you may choose to discuss your workplace or school that you attended. Provide some background information so that others can build an understanding of your specific environment.

Jason Madrick: I am currently not teaching during this school year, but I would like to discuss the sociopolitical context of the two schools I worked at through the UPK program. The first of these schools was located in Whitestone, Queens, and the second location was in Jamaica, Queens. I think my familiarity with those schools is more up to date than my own elementary school experiences, though the memories and details of those years are still very much intact. The first school where I taught in the UPK program was located in Whitestone, Queens in what I would classify as a middle class to upper middle class, to wealthy in terms of economic resources for the area and families of students who attended this school. There was even a golf course and country club located within walking distance of the school. The population of the school included students from several different cultural backgrounds including White, African-America, Latino, and Asian students. Religious faiths represented among the student and family populations included Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, and Athiest/Agnostics. The languages spoken by students included English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. The majority of the teaching and administrative staff at this school was predominantly White and from a middle to upper middle class background. There were four general education UPK classrooms at this school.

The second school location that I was teaching in UPK was located in Jamaica, Queens. This school was predominantly a 4410 program, with a dozen special education classrooms, but had created four to five integrated UPK classrooms in their basement. These integrated classes were meant to be populated by half general education students, and half special education students. The cultural and religious backgrounds of the students and families at this school was predominantly Latino, Southeast Asian, and African-Americans. There were also White and Asian students present in the program as well. The economic background of many of the families based on my limited observations as well as limits of communication due to language differences at this school I think definitely represented a larger proportion of lower income families, including those who were on public assistance and/or homeless. Religious faiths at this school included Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindu, and Atheist/Agnostics. There were multiple languages spoken by students at home including English, Spanish, Chinese, Bangali, Punjabi, and Urdu. Among the staff including lead teacher and teaching assistants there are a number of languages spoken besides English including Spanish, Arabic, Bangali, Punjabi, Urdo, Chinese, and Russian. One observation and big difference I noticed between these two schools I taught at was the huge increase in absences and habitual lateness of students at this second location compared to the school in Whitestone. I had some students from the two classes I taught at this school that had missed more than a third of the total scheduled days of class.

Comment on one of the videos presented in this week’s readings. This is slightly flexible, but have fun with it. Choose something within the video to discuss here in this board. It could be something you enjoyed learning, something you disagree with, or something that sparked curiosity.

Jason Madrick: I enjoyed watching the Ted Talk video featuring Elijah Jones on Diverse Education for a student in the Education System, TEDxYouth@Wilmington. Elijah is a student at a private school and spends much of his talk discussing how socioeconomic matters have a significant impact on the resources, both materials and instructional talent that are available to students depending on where the live and their economic means. Ultimately he speaks about how our public school system has become increasingly segregated along racial and socioeconomic lines. At one point he mentions that at his private school, there weren’t any “teachers of color” and that he felt like he was “definitely not in Kansas anymore”. His private school had given him access to top level resources, teachers and extracurricular activities. He laments that what it does not provide him with is a substantial level of diversity among his peers, and that this is not going to be helpful for his future. This future he discusses is the one in which the population of students in the USA is rapidly changing both along cultural and ethnic lines, but also along economic ones. He states at one point that recently, and for the first time, more than half of all school age children are from low income families. Elijah continues to speak towards the ideal that to live in an increasingly multicultural society, he, and other students need and should be exposed to a diverse student population, as well as being able to have access to proper learning resources and instructors. He also says that for race relations and divisions among the people of this country to improve, that discussions and opportunities to talk about these relations and problems need to continue.


Nieto, Sonia & Bode, Patty (2018). Affirming Diversity. The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. Seventh Edition, Pearson, New York

Touro TESOL candidate Antonia Torres-Gearity receives 2020 Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award by THE NEW YORK STATE ASSOCIATION FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATION

As a Professor is is a life-affirming experience to see one’s students succeed. Tonight, my TESOL teacher candidate Antonia Torres-Gearity received her 2020 Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award by NYSABE.

As a Professor it is a life-affirming experience to see one’s students succeed. Tonight, my TESOL teacher candidate Antonia Torres-Gearity received her 2020 Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award by NYSABE.

I was thrilled to be present at NYSABE supporting Mrs. Antonia Torres-Gearity, a gifted educator and TESOL candidate at Touro College, TESOL and Bilingual Department. Her dedication to our profession, caring for her students and passionate work ethic inspires me.

Congratulations to Touro TESOL candidates Mrs. Antoni Torres-Gearity to her 2020 Bilingual Teacher of the Year Award.

NYSABE represents educators, parents, members of community-based organizations, private agencies, and institutions of higher education as well as advocates involved in the education of English language learners/bilingual students in New York State.

Touro GSE TESOL candidate Mrs. Antonia Torres-Gearity

Touro GSE TESOL Candidate Eleonora Israilova’s Materials Critique and Redesign Analysis

One assignment in the Touro TESOL course EDPN 673 Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language is a Materials Critique & Redesign. In this assignment candidates will: (1) prepare a written critique description of the material or resource, analyzing its effectiveness on ELLs and (2) based on their analysis, redesign one section/activity of the original material so that it meets the need of ELLs. The materials chosen will promote culturally and linguistically responsive classrooms and instructional practices. I chose Eleonora Israilova’s submission as it was not only outstanding but features classroom realia and a robust, thoughtful redesign of her chosen textbooks.

by Jasmin Bey Cowin, Ed.D. , Assistant Professor and TESOL Practicum Coordinator, Touro College, GSE

One assignment in the Touro TESOL course EDPN 673 Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language is a Materials Critique & Redesign. In this assignment candidates will: (1) prepare a written critique description of the material or resource, analyzing its effectiveness on ELLs and (2) based on their analysis, redesign one section/activity of the original material so that it meets the need of ELLs. The materials chosen will promote culturally and linguistically responsive classrooms and instructional practices. I chose Eleonora Israilova’s submission as it was not only outstanding but features classroom realia and a robust, thoughtful redesign of her chosen textbooks.

Eleonora Israilova comes from Uzbekistan and speaks Russian, Tajik and Spanish. She was 10 years old when she came to America. Ms. Israilova stated that “currently I teach Kindergarten in my community with the same linguistic needs as my background and this assignment was tailored to fit the needs of my ELLs population.”

Materials Critique and Redesign
Matching Books with Readers is an important literacy component for ELL students. One of the most important components is vocabulary recognition, which requires an understanding of unfamiliar words when reading (Apthorp, 2006; Spencer & Guillaume, 2006, Vardell, Hadaway, & Young, 2006.) Also, a bilingual student may speak English in a way that commands a perfect understanding of his second language when in reality the oral vocabulary is much stronger than the reading vocabulary.

Each child has a unique learning style, but bilingual students benefit from reading nonfiction passages because real-life contexts help them visualize vocabulary words for meaning (Apthorp, 2006). Selecting highly visual literature containing photographs (Vardell, Hadaway, & Young, 2006) or that are related to scientific concepts that describe the natural world as children
understand it is best for bilingual students (Spencer & Guillaume, 2006). Therefore, for this materials critique and redesign, I chose to use three books that are nonfiction children’s books.

The three books are National Geographic Readers: Frogs! by Elizabeth Carney, National Geographic Readers: Caterpillar to Butterfly by Laura Marsh, and Ladybugs by Cheryl Coughlan. These books are great for ELL students because they are colorful, include rich vocabulary, and diagrams that show labeled parts of the animals. Younger children are usually drawn to informational texts about animals because it satisfies their curiosity and interest in their favorite topics. When students are interested in reading about a favorite topic, they are more
likely to be motivated to read and dig deeper for answers to their questions about the world and make constant connections to themselves.

Another reason I chose the aforementioned books is because unbeknownst students in my class are mostly of Russian, Tajik, and Spanish native languages. I have noticed that their vocabulary bank is limited as they are likely to come from conversational backgrounds. By using informational texts in my classroom, my ELL students will expand their academic vocabularies in areas that do not necessarily come up in everyday conversation. Nonfiction texts will challenge my ELL students, but it will also give them a broader vocabulary base, especially texts from the fields such as science and social studies. Moreover, ELL students are able to make real life connections with nonfiction texts. Many nonfiction books include photographs to illustrate the details. Photographs are a great visual aid when grappling to understand the English text. Photos contain more details and a precise depiction of the world around us than illustrations. When students are able to refer to photographs, they will increase their comprehension level and make connections to the real world they see around them. Students will be confident when they have a clear picture of what is being taught and are able to have higher order thinking skills that help to perform better overall.