While Ramping Up your English is designed as a direct support for students of all ages, I think you may find some helpful uses in the classroom. If not, I still hope it can be helpful to your students; a support program made available by teacher recommendation.
While Ramping Up your English is not a research-based program in the purest sense, my approach is informed by fundamental research by the “heavy weights” of the 2nd Language acquisition world.
During my 21 years as a teacher in elementary school, I became aware that content-based ESL was the most effective of all ESL models according to meta-research by Virginia Collier. I saw for myself the advantages it held for my young students once they moved past the beginning stages of learning English.
For this reason, I decided to offer a content-based support program using the power of television and the internet. Notice I said “support.” I in no way consider this a substitute for working with an ELL teacher. Furthermore, the programs I offer have not undergone the rigors of research for its effectiveness. That could be the work of a graduate student some day, but for now I offer no warranties.
Notwithstanding the above disclaimer, I’m confident that the approach I take in RUE can elevate a student’s level of English proficiency, especially if that goal is embraced by the student. Meanwhile, I strive to keep the stress level down, engaging the interest of the student in a fun way.
Our first unit is trains and railroads. It’s a theme I chose for its universal appeal and level of interest – ranging from preschool-age children to those with many years on their life’s odometer. It cuts across cultural lines as well. I plan to follow this unit with content that is more specific to school curriculum. Meanwhile, the trains and railroads unit has many academic tasks embedded in the general theme. As such, it’s also a rich source of language functions. I help viewers find more advanced forms of English to carry out those language functions.
When you visit our episode pages, you’ll see the leaning objectives listed, often relating directly to language functions. I’ll soon have a page that lists the functions by episode as well as academic content tied to each lesson.
Whether you use the program as part of your instruction or suggest it for parents, I’m vitally interested in hearing from you. Thank you for your interest in Ramping Up your English.
John Letz, Producer, Ramping Up your English