47. Please, explain "low affective filter." Why do students speak freely in the ESL (English-As-A-Second Language) class but not in the regular classroom?

The term "affective filter" refers to the level of anxiety, level of fear or frustration that a student experiences when confronted with a learning task. This anxiety, fear or frustration may prevent a student from learning or accomplishing the learning task. If there is high anxiety level, or high affective filter, a student may be unable to focus on learning. Under conditions that lower the affective filter, students can concentrate on the learning task and, indeed, do learn what is being taught.

What are the conditions that promote "low affective filter," or low levels of anxiety, concern, fear and frustration? Under "low affective filter" conditions, students can concentrate and focus on learning because the negative effects of anxiety, concern, fear or frustration do not distract them.

Teachers can provide "low affective filter" conditions during instruction by remembering to incorporate into their lessons principles of:

Instructional principles derived from each of the above key concepts in Learning Theory help ALL students participate fully in a lesson and, thus, learn as a result of instruction. For the English Language Learner, ELL's, one additional factor is crucial: Previewing the language of the content area during the ESL class. This means that the ESL and the content area teacher MUST COLLABORATE AND COOPERATE as BOTH plan their daily lessons. The content area teacher must inform the ESL teacher about the vocabulary that will be used during the content area lesson. With this vocabulary information, the ESL teacher can plan a lesson:

(1) that introduces English Language Learners to

(2) that provides opportunities for ELL's to listen, understand, speak, practice, read and master the new words BEFORE they attend the content area lesson.

If English Language Learners are PREPARED during the ESL lessons to actively participate in the content area lessons through language development instructional activities that incorporate the content area vocabulary, then the ELL's WILL ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in the content area lessons. Why?

Because the ELL now has the academic language to actively participate in the content area lessons.

Thus, if ELL's are silent in content area classes, it is because the ESL and content area teachers are NOT collaborating, cooperating and coordinating their lessons according to the best principles of Learning Theory.



For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
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

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
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)

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 contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

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3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net