Project

Integrating the arts into the English language learner classroom to improve language development and language acquisition

Project (M.A., Education (Curriculum and Instruction)) -- California State University, Sacramento, 2011.

This study was set in a rural school with high levels of poverty, migrant families, and immigrants from other countries, with an environment and paradigm that often inhibit the ability of students to successfully engage in the learning situation of a traditional school. The author was the teacher of a self-contained classroom with beginner through advanced English Language Learners that included students in a primary grade, some of whom have been residents of the United States for less than three years. The project involved implementation of a research-supported methodology based on Anchor Works. “First Impressions”, which exposed students to renowned pieces of art and artists. English Language Acquisition and vocabulary development was the author’s initial goal to guide these varying levels of Language Learners in the class to improve their oral fluency, language acquisition and higher level thinking skills through integration of visual arts and of music. By creating authentic experiences from which students could connect and engage, by encouraging stronger language skills through discussion, students in oral and written English. In addition, students developed a sense of success in the English language through music, which allowed them to feel more confident in English language production both in the classroom and in less formal situations.
 After providing consistent exposure to visual arts and music over a period of 12 weeks, improvements in the oral fluency and language production were observed in the target students and the class in general. Students were beginning to share what they were thinking and learning and discussions began to take on a new depth. The students in this study, who both had previous coursework in English language development, were still struggling with the production of the language. These students began to develop a stronger application of the language, vocabulary, and the skills necessary to self-correct during both reading and speaking processes. These results have strong implications for implementing art integration in the English language learner classroom as well as in other classes which involve children with special needs.

This study was set in a rural school with high levels of poverty, migrant families, and immigrants from other countries, with an environment and paradigm that often inhibit the ability of students to successfully engage in the learning situation of a traditional school. The author was the teacher of a self-contained classroom with beginner through advanced English Language Learners that included students in a primary grade, some of whom have been residents of the United States for less than three years. The project involved implementation of a research-supported methodology based on Anchor Works. “First Impressions”, which exposed students to renowned pieces of art and artists. English Language Acquisition and vocabulary development was the author’s initial goal to guide these varying levels of Language Learners in the class to improve their oral fluency, language acquisition and higher level thinking skills through integration of visual arts and of music. By creating authentic experiences from which students could connect and engage, by encouraging stronger language skills through discussion, students in oral and written English. In addition, students developed a sense of success in the English language through music, which allowed them to feel more confident in English language production both in the classroom and in less formal situations. After providing consistent exposure to visual arts and music over a period of 12 weeks, improvements in the oral fluency and language production were observed in the target students and the class in general. Students were beginning to share what they were thinking and learning and discussions began to take on a new depth. The students in this study, who both had previous coursework in English language development, were still struggling with the production of the language. These students began to develop a stronger application of the language, vocabulary, and the skills necessary to self-correct during both reading and speaking processes. These results have strong implications for implementing art integration in the English language learner classroom as well as in other classes which involve children with special needs.

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