English Language Learners face many linguistic and cultural barriers that distributed learning -- and blended learning environments in particular -- can help to overcome. Although the Ministry of Education emphasizes that ELL students learn best “within a mainstream classroom,” in our experience some students can benefit greatly from DL in a blended environment. In working with a primarily Chinese demographic (both school-aged and adult grads) we have noticed several trends: cultural barriers to English acquisition in brick-and-mortar schools, undiagnosed learning disabilities, and academic language competence that is not matched by social language competence. In the first part of this presentation, we will highlight several case studies of students who were able to achieve academic success outside of ‘mainstream’ ELL programs, as well as some case studies of students who were not suited to DL. In the second part of the workshop, we will ask educators to share stories and best practices and we will offer up some our own best practices. Our goal is to foster a dialogue about the role that DL can play in transforming the school experience of ELL students.
Over the past four years, Xspace Learning has partnered with DLs in BC to offer a unique program designed to facilitate learning for ELL students. Xspace strives to help ELL students to flourish in the BC education system through its facilitation model, the use of technology (including virtual classrooms), and flexible, personalized learning programs for students.