120 TExES English as a Second Language (ESL) / Generalist 4 - 8 Exam:
- Bilingual Education (60 questions)
- English Language Arts and Reading (37 questions)
- Mathematics (28 questions)
- Social Studies (28 questions)
- Science (27 questions)
The information covered in each section of the exam relates to the same specific topics that are covered on the Bilingual Education Supplemental 4 - 8 Exam and the Generalist 4 - 8 Exam. The exam-taker will be supplied with a Formula and Definitions Reference Sheet, a copy of the periodic table, and a scientific calculator. The exam-taker will have five hours to complete the exam and the exam will be scored on a scale of 100 - 300 with 240 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. The registration fee for the Bilingual Generalist 4 - 8 Exam is $82 and the exam is only offered in a paper-based format. However, there may be other exams and fees in addition to this exam that are required in order to become a certified educator in a bilingual education program at the middle school level within the state of Texas.
Sample Study Notes
1. Describe some strategies to create an effective bilingual learning environment.
- Enunciate clearly; speak in a normal volume at a normal pace.
- Use short sentences; avoid idioms and slang.
- Use appropriate gestures.
- Point to pictures and objects for clarification.
- Print information (cursive can be difficult to read).
- Explain objectives and answer questions before beginning activities.
- Repeat, review, rephrase and summarize frequently.
- Praise when earned, unless the student's cultural heritage considers individual attention inappropriate, in which case a private word is better.
2. Discuss English Language Learners instructional methods using the native language of the student.
There are five main English Language Learner (ELL) programs that use the student's native language while he is learning English:
- TRANSITIONAL BILINGUAL uses the native language in core academic subjects. However, the goal is to phase into English-only instruction as quickly as possible.
- DEVELOPMENTAL BILINGUAL uses the native language in core academic subjects throughout elementary school. Sometimes the program extends into middle and high school even after the student has been classified proficient in English.
- In TWO-WAY IMMERSION the students are from similar backgrounds, with about half the class speaking the native language and the other half speaking both. Instruction is about evenly split between English and the native language.
- In some cases, the native language is used in a SUPPORT ROLE ONLY. Instruction is entirely in English with a bilingual paraprofessional available to translate vocabulary, explain lessons and clarify confusing assignments.
- NEWCOMER programs are usually reserved for recent U.S. arrivals. Instruction is in the native language and students are also helped to acclimate to their new environment.
3. Describe methods used to teach English as a Second Language.
Basic interpersonal communication skills encompass two different and distinct styles of communication. Context-embedded communication uses visual and vocal props to help the student understand what is being said. Pictures and other objects graphically explain and demonstrate. The speaker's gestures and tone of voice also help. Context-reduced communication doesn't have visual cues, so the student must rely on competency and fluency to understand. Phone conversations don't allow the listener to see the speaker, so visual aides are missing. Reading a note without pictorial guides may make it difficult for the student to understand the written words. The three methods most commonly used to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) are grammar-based, communication-based and content-based. Grammar-based teaches students the rules: structure, function and vocabulary. Emphasis is on the why and how. Communication-based teaches how to use English in everyday, realistic situations. It emphasizes practical conversational usage. Content-based teaches grammar and vocabulary, and uses written assignments to practice these skills. It emphasizes an integrated approach to learning English.
4. Discuss the continuum of learning theory as it applies to learning English as a second language.
The Continuum of Learning theory outlines predictable steps when learning a new language. No matter what the characteristics of the person or the subject matter being presented, teachers will encounter these general levels of mastery.
- The SILENT/RECEPTIVE OR PREPRODUCTION stage can last from a few hours to six months. Students usually don't say much and communicate using pictures, pointing and gestures.
- In the EARLY PRODUCTION stage students use one and two word phrases. They indicate understanding with yes/no and who/what/where questions. This stage can last six months.
- The SPEECH EMERGENCE stage may last a year. Students use short sentences and begin to ask simple questions. Grammatical errors may make communication challenging.
- In the INTERMEDIATE LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY stage students begin to make complex statements, share thoughts and opinions and speak more often. This may last a year or more.
- The ADVANCED LEARNING PROFICIENCY stage lasts five to seven years. Students have acquired a substantial vocabulary and are capable of participating fully in classroom activities and discussions.
5. Discuss the key principles of language acquisition for English language learners.
There are four key concepts teachers in mainstream classrooms can use to help English Language Learners (EEL) acquire proficiency in both written and spoken English.
- INCREASE COMPREHENSIBILITY of the content of lesson plans and activities by using pictures, props, gestures and voice variations to explain and demonstrate the subject. Use short sentences and avoid slang and idioms. Build on the language concepts the student already has.
- ENCOURAGE INTERACTION by asking questions and assigning group activities (only with students willing and able to respond to the unique requirements). This provides the ELL student with lots of opportunities to practice what he knows and increase his confidence, so he is able to learn more effectively.
- INCREASE THINKING AND STUDY SKILLS by asking thought-provoking questions and assigning complex topics for research projects. Establish and expect the same high standards from every student.
- USE THE NATIVE LANGUAGE to increase understanding and comprehension. Translating questions and assignments into the student's native language clarifies instructions and helps him understand what is expected.
6. Define fluency and describe ways to determine an English Language Learner's level.
Fluency is the ability to read and comprehend the written word accurately and quickly. Fluent readers recognize words and expressions and understand their meaning. When reading out loud, their presentation is smooth, expressive and effortless. Fluent readers don't focus on the words; they concentrate on the meaning. They make connections between knowledge they already have and ideas and concepts discovered in the new information. A student who is a good reader in his native language will be a good reader in English. However, when assessing an English language learner's level of competency, just because he "sounds" good, it doesn't necessarily follow that he understands the meaning in the message. It is important to ask open-ended questions about the text to determine his comprehension level. If the student doesn't understand what he is reading, it doesn't matter how fast he says the words: it is meaningless gibberish. A word of caution: be careful not to conclude that the student struggling with reading English has a learning disability; it may just be necessary to find other means to test his general knowledge.
7. Discuss general standards that should be present in all language arts programs.
Home, church, community and culture all play vital roles in a student's life away from school. Recognizing and working with these influences will help students acquire the skills they need, retain knowledge, and apply it outside the classroom. Understanding, evaluating, integrating and sharing information gleaned from the literature of many eras and a variety of genres helps students appreciate diversity and enhances their knowledge of the world. The ability to read, write, analyze, and communicate ideas and concepts effectively should be the goal of every language arts program. Students don't learn if they are not engaged in the process. A great way to motivate students is to offer material that is interesting to them, on topics that help them understand their world better. To prevent boredom and help students retain key concepts, teachers need to build on previously acquired knowledge and link new data with old information. Create lesson plans and hands-on activities that relate to the students' lives. Encourage student discussion; as they share ideas and ask questions, alternate perspectives are presented, considered, and integrated.
8. Explain what math is and why the basics are important.
Math explains the logic of and relationship between numbers. It is used everyday in countless ways and in order to minimize potential math phobia, teachers need to make the subject relevant to the students' lives and use examples with which they are familiar and that make sense to them. In order to do that, learning the basics is critical, because all math concepts are built on addition, division, fractions and shapes; all mathematical relationships flow from these concepts. It is imperative students understand one concept before moving on to the next. If they fail to grasp the basics, students become confused as they progress to higher levels, because they are unable to apply appropriate background knowledge when introduced to geometry, algebra, probability and statistics. Making math fun by injecting a sense of wonder and excitement into learning how to use numbers in everyday life goes a long way in preventing a fear of math from developing. Some fun activities: play cards, checkers or backgammon; build a tower with interlocking blocks; or count the legs on a centipede.
9. Discuss the importance of making social studies activities relevant to today's world.
Social studies is composed of history and the social sciences (government, citizenship, sociology, economics, cultural influences and the effects of technology). It is a broad subject, indeed. Imparting the values and mores of society to impressionable young people and teaching them how to be involved, engaged, active members of the world is a huge responsibility. It is critical for teachers to use real problems appropriate to the students' age, and prod them to use their creativity to dissect problems and devise solutions. Part of the process is to challenge students' thinking by offering stimulating subjects from which to select their reading, writing, discussion and debate topics. The projects need to combine independent study with group responsibilities, because this is the way the real world works: people bring their unique perspective to the group and the group reaches a consensus on the best way to tackle a problem. Social studies is a class that can and should be realistic preparation for participation as an adult member of society.
10. Discuss science in middle school.
Adolescents come to school with background knowledge and a basic understanding of how things work. They have reached conclusions based on their perception of the physical world and what they learned in previous classes. A wise teacher uses students' knowledge and natural curiosity when introducing and explaining complicated scientific concepts. He builds on ideas already known and corrects any misconceptions. Science has a history. Students need to be familiar with the socio-economic environment in which a theory was introduced in order to truly understand why something did or did not work, why it may have been proven wrong or why a better way was discovered with later experimentation. In a science classroom, safety must always be a priority. Since it is an interactive area, it needs to be ventilated and appropriate safety equipment (e.g. water, fire extinguisher, protective gear, etc.) needs to be available. The students need to understand how to operate the instruments in a safe manner, so instructions should be provided in writing as well as verbally. Questions should be asked and answered before any activity is started.
Last Updated: 03/13/2013