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An expert in helping public schools assist students who are English language learners will be the keynote speaker in a UCCS College of Education community learning series.
Eugene Garcia, author of “Teaching and Learning in Two Languages” and former Arizona State University dean of education, will speak at 1 p.m. Sept. 11 in University Center 116. His address, “Early Educational Opportunities for ELL Student and their Families Generates Achievement Gains,” is open to UCCS faculty, staff and students. Area K-12 educators, community college staff and faculty, and members of the Pikes Peak English Language Acquisition Directors were also invited.
“Dr. García is a well-known and respected scholar in the field of language teaching and language learning,” Leslie Grant, associate professor, College of Education, said. “We are fortunate at UCCS to have the opportunity to listen to his insights regarding how early education can influence the achievement of English Language Learners.”
Public schools across the nation are challenged with how to effectively teach students with limited English skills. In Colorado Springs, School District 11 served 6,476 students classified as English language while Harrison District 2 served 4,077 students, according to the Colorado Department of Education, a co-sponsor of Garcia’s presentation.
“At a time when we are seeing increasing numbers of second language learners in our schools, it is important for all of us who teach to reflect on our practices and make efforts to teach in a more linguistically and culturally responsive way,” La Vonne Neal, dean, College of Education, said. “ As a partial response to the changing demographics and needs in the schools, programs like the Linguistically Diverse Education program at UCCS offer classes for prospective and practicing teachers in language teaching methodology, assessment, and literacy. These courses focus on understanding second language acquisition and help teachers hone instructional approaches and strategies that make academic language and content more accessible, not only to second language learners, but to all students.”
Last year, UCCS led the formation of the Pikes Peak English Language Acquisition Directors’ Forum. Consisting of public school district English language acquisition directors, university personnel, and members of the Colorado Department of Education’s English Language Acquisition Unit, the group aims to forge connections between higher education and local school districts to share resources and prepare teachers.