Subject: IEP and Foreign Language.
I am a parent of an eighth grader with
an IEP/ NY school. He is struggling with Spanish. I am confused as to what
modifications or accommodations can be made so this class is manageable. It has
been strongly suggested by the school administration that my son withdraw from
the class. Other than some accommodations for print/font size I don’t see too
much else added to help him with this a foreign language class. I am told that
much can not be done because it is a foreign language. Any suggestions?
I came across your email as I was trying to find some resources on the
THANK YOU so much for your question and for
visiting our Web Sites!!!!
I am NOT a Special Education Specialist
but, from my perspective as a Bilingual/ESL Teacher and Specialist in
Language Acquisition, I know that ALL non-English-speaking students, all
grades, learn English, a second (or foreign) language to them!!! And, of
course, there are thousands of students with IEP's who are very successful
bilingual / trilingual students at all grades.
There are many modifications/accommodations
that may be appropriate for your student and for many students learning
Spanish-as-a-Foreign(Second)-Language in the middle school grades. Many
times, Foreign (and Second) Language teachers may still employ instructional
strategies that emphasize grammatical knowledge of and about the Spanish
language. I am sure that the "GOALS and OBJECTIVES" of all Foreign
Language classes are, in addition to grammatical knowledge, the development
of listening, speaking, reading, writing, cultural and vocabulary skills and
abilities. It is in these curricular areas where
modifications/accommodations are possible for ALL students.
You may wish to point out to the Spanish
teacher the very close relationship between English and Spanish Latin-Root
Words and Greek-Root words. There are thousands of English-Spanish
"cognates," words that are spelled similarly, sound similarly and have
similar meanings in English and Spanish. These words prevail in science,
the arts, history, civics, geography, mathematics, and just in plain
communication sources in English and in Spanish. Your son could benefit
--and his entire class could benefit-- from a concerted effort in learning
these English/Spanish COGNATES based on Latin-Root- and Greek-Root-Words.
Also there are many cultural aspects of the
languages --English and Spanish-- that could be compared and contrasted.
There are many related instructional activities --like preparing a Family
Trees, experiencing Culinary Traditions during Holidays, Talking through
Gestures, etc., that would achieve the rigorous academic goals while
providing opportunities for success to ALL students. And, of course, there
are visual (pictures and cut-outs) vocabulary development activities that
could involve all students, promote vocabulary development and enhance a
vast knowledge of the languages --both English and Spanish.
The print accommodations/modifications
you indicate may also be important. In all my classes I use an ELMO which
allows me to enhance and beautifully display all printed matter in huge big
letters on the film screen in my class, as well as access and
display millions of interesting educational sites about SPAIN and all Latin
American countries where Spanish is the dominant language. ALL Foreign
Language Classes may be team taught with other academic content areas, not
just for the common vocabulary but also for the many interesting cultural
and historical aspects of the Spanish/English connections.
I hope these ideas help!!! In addition, I
will refer your question to Special Education Specialist Susana Brito,
experienced teacher in Florida and California, who may also provide
Many THANKS for your interest in my Web
For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and
"coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK
- Training VIDEOS on the following topic:
1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading
- Training programs relating to E.S.L. instruction:
Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5,
7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for Paraprofessionals:
Web Site Programs for New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)
- Question-&-Answer Technical Assistance Service:
Write and e-mail any additional questions you
may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a
Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your
questions promptly and to your satisfaction.
For information and credentials please click on the link below or
CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK, Ph.D.
Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator
National Board for Professional Teaching
Standards, Certification (12/2006)
3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406
Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605