WELCOME TO ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING AT BEMENT
experience with the Bement ELL program was positive, bridging the gap
between my previous English class experiences in China and my larger
English class experience . . . it helped me to become a confident
speaker, reader, and writer. I was given opportunities to practice my
oral expression of the English language and to write several essays
throughout the year and revise them thoroughly. All of these exercises
helped me to become familiar with the American English class routine,
and I was able to practice skills I needed for my ninth grade English
class. —A former ELL student at Bement
English Language Learning Placement
To be admitted to Bement, a student must have the ability to speak, read, understand, and write English well enough to participate in all academic areas without extensive help. Enrolled students whose first language is not English must take the TOEFL Junior test during the summer before matriculating and report the test results to Bement, unless they have already taken that test within the previous year. In addition, those students also complete a summer reading and writing assignment for the English Language Learning teacher, with whom they may also converse via Skype. Shortly after arriving at Bement, each international student takes proficiency tests that, along with their application materials and summer work, determine their English class placement. Students assigned to English language learning class in grade six take ELL four periods per week and are enrolled in Latin two periods per week; students in grade seven and eight take ELL eight periods per week. We believe that, in order to be well-prepared for secondary school, most if not all English language learners require at least one year and many up to two years of English language study at Bement.
The English language learning curriculum gives the ELL students daily opportunities to refine their reading, writing, speaking, and listening abilities. Reading at the grade levels in which they are enrolled, the students learn new vocabulary, participate in literature-discussion circles, make research presentations, and write essays related to their classroom texts. Because of the small size of their ELL classes, the students receive instruction according to their levels of English proficiency. Regarding a particular research assignment, for example, one student may be asked to practice the use adverb clauses to accurately relate a time sequence, another to capture the rhythms of North American English for the oral presentation, and another to write several drafts of the introduction.
When there is consensus among the concerned members of the Bement
community that a particular ELL student may be ready to transition into
a larger English and a world language class, the Director of English
Language Learning consults with that student’s teachers and submits
samples of that student’s writing to the members of the English
department for evaluation. They will evaluate the work of that student
against the following criteria:
• The student writes independently and in a manner that is plainly understood by teachers and peers.
• The student comprehends grade-level reading texts.
• The student speaks clearly and conveys ideas effectively in classroom conversations and presentations.
• The student easily understands spoken language in classroom discussions.
If you have any questions related to the English Language Learning Program at Bement, please write to our Director of English Language Learning, Mr. Frank Massey, at firstname.lastname@example.org.