120 TExES English as a Second Language (ESL) / Generalist 4 - 8 Exam:
- English Language Concepts and Language Development (Approximately 15 questions)
- English as a Second Language Instruction and Assessment (Approximately 27 questions)
- Foundations of English as a Second Language Education, Cultural Awareness, and Family and Community Involvement (Approximately 18 questions)
- English Language Arts and Reading (Approximately 38 questions)
- Mathematics (Approximately 27 questions)
- Social Studies (Approximately 27 questions)
- Science (Approximately 27 questions)
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 ESL / 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 an English as a second language program at the middle school level within the state of Texas.
Sample Study Notes
1. Describe language development.
2. Discuss strategies and approaches for teaching English Language Learners.
In general, researchers have been unable to prove conclusively and empirically that any particular strategy for teaching English as a second language is effective in increasing retention, proficiency and fluency. The evidence that does exist comes from anecdotal observations, surveys and case studies. What has been determined is that most successful classroom methods incorporate several approaches, and the effectiveness of each depends upon the age of the students and the degree of language proficiency already attained. Choices should be made based on the students involved and the environment in which the instruction takes place. No matter what the age or level of English proficiency, students come to school with knowledge and experience; the efficacy of including the student's native culture in the classroom is well documented. Assigning a Culture Study project encourages him to share his heritage and requires research, interviewing family members, writing, creating visual aids, and giving an oral presentation. Building on and accessing prior knowledge inspires students to explore new ideas and learn new concepts. It also builds bridges of understanding with other students.
3. Discuss some ideas to encourage cross-cultural understanding.
Society is diverse and schools reflect that diversity. Teachers play an important role in helping students understand and appreciate various cultures. Asking an ESL student to tell a story from his home country in his native language and then translate it into English builds his confidence. Sharing a favorite object from his homeland and explaining what it is encourages an appreciation for other cultures. It also generates questions that can lead to a lively discussion comparing and contrasting cultural mores and societal expectations that will lead to better understanding by all students. An effective strategy to address issues that arise between students with different cultural heritages is called misunderstandings. A student shares an incident that caused a problem. Words, body language, social customs, and stereotypes are just some of the things that may be involved. As students discuss the situation, they gain insight into the complexities of cultural differences and the importance of accurate cultural awareness and understanding.
4. Discuss the importance of meeting with parents and some ways to share information with them.
Studies have shown that the more parents are involved in their children's education, the better the students learn and the fewer the behavior problems. Teachers are an integral part of the process. This is especially true with ESL students, whose parents are probably learning English and may be uncomfortable approaching the teacher because of cultural differences. It is the teacher's responsibility to make an effort to keep parents informed about the academic progress and social assimilation of their children by encouraging parents to come to school, ask questions and be a part of the educational experience of their children. Report cards are not designed to explain how well the student is progressing in intangible skills like critical thinking, reasoning ability, study habits, attitude, communication with adults and peers and other social and interactive development. Sending home progress reports is an effective way to keep parents abreast of changes. Meeting with parents regularly to discuss their child's particular progress and being available to answer questions are excellent ways to work together to ensure the ESL student benefits the most from available opportunities.
5. Define language, vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines language as "voice sounds and written symbols representing those sounds, in combinations and patterns, used to express and communicate thoughts and feelings." Vocabulary is "all the words of a language." Pronunciation is a "way of speaking a word, especially a way that is accepted and generally understood." Grammar is the "rules of a language viewed as a mechanism for generating all sentences possible in that language." Vocabulary (a set of words), pronunciation (how the words are spoken), and grammar (the rules governing how to use the words) are all vital elements in learning, understanding, and using a language. If one or more elements are unlearned, learned inadequately, ignored, or misused, communication is impaired. The depth of a person's vocabulary and his ability to speak and write effectively is often used as a measurement of his intelligence and the quality of his education. This is especially true with students learning a new language, no matter what the age, cultural heritage, socio-economic status, or previous educational accomplishments.
6. Discuss strategies to help ESL students in a mainstream classroom.
English as a Second Language (ESL) students pose unique challenges in a mainstream classroom. Several activities enable them to learn conversational English faster, which will help their ability to master grammar and syntax, understand the subject matter, improve interactive skills, accelerate the acquisition of vocabulary, and participate more fully in classroom discussions and activities.
- Pair an ESL student with a native English speaker who can explain an idiom, colloquialism, or slang term in simple language.
- Let ESL students use a translation dictionary. It will ease the frustration of trying to determine the correct English word.
- Use lots of visual cues (pictures, illustrations, charts, etc.) during lectures and demonstrations.
- Emphasize key words with flashcards. Have students alternate between recognizing the word, the definition, and the picture.
- Have ESL students read the newspaper and/or watch the TV news, and then summarize the information in a few sentences for the class.
7. Define articulation matrix and explain how Bloom's taxonomy can be used to assess the progress of an ESL student.
An articulation matrix is the set of relationships between activities and outcomes. It is a defined set of goals and the methods used to reach those goals. For example, in a graduation matrix, completing the required courses is the outcome and the lectures, homework assignments, projects, papers, tests and evaluations are the activities. Bloom's taxonomy, which is a hierarchical classification system, is an articulation matrix that outlines six levels of cognitive learning. At each step students reach a predictable level of mastery.
- KNOWLEDGE LEVEL: ability to define terms.
- COMPREHENSION LEVEL: finish problems and explain answers.
- APPLICATION LEVEL: recognize problems and use new methods to solve them.
- ANALYSIS LEVEL: ability to explain why the process works.
- SYNTHESIS LEVEL: can use the process or part of it in new ways.
- EVALUATION LEVEL: create different ways to solve problems and use designated criteria; select the best method to obtain the correct solution.
8. Discuss some general concepts on preparing tests for ESL students.
It is a good idea to use several types of questions when preparing tests for ESL students. This will offer them multiple ways to express their knowledge of the subject, expose them to a variety of testing formats, and encourage them to recall and respond to information in different ways. Matching and true/false questions are an excellent way to quickly assess how well students remember specific facts as well as their ability to memorize data. Multiple-choice and short-answer questions require a deeper knowledge of the subject and better reasoning and thinking skills. Short-answer questions also test the ability to use grammar and punctuation properly. These four testing options are reasonably quick and easy to grade. Open-response questions can be used to evaluate in-depth content knowledge, the use of critical thinking skills, and the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas through the written word. This option requires more time, effort and concentration to evaluate fairly. It is a more effective tool in some situations and courses than it is in others.
9. Define these teaching methods: content-based language instruction, sheltered instruction, and language across the curriculum.
- CONTENT-BASED LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION combines information, hands-on tasks, and instructional techniques, and uses these tools to develop language skills and learn subject matter. The teacher uses English and the native language to explain and evaluate the student's verbal, written and group efforts.
- SHELTERED INSTRUCTION is used in immersion and bilingual programs, and is adopted to help students with limited or non-existent English proficiency. They are taught content in their native language and then moved to instruction in English (grammar, vocabulary, etc.), with the goal being to mainstream them as quickly as possible. Depending upon the size of the school and the number of students who speak the same language, this program may be separate or integrated into grade level classrooms.
- LANGUAGE ACROSS THE CURRICULUM is content-based teaching that deliberately coordinates English language instruction (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.) in all classes, no matter what the subject matter. Sometimes this program uses an integrated curriculum approach, sometimes it uses a team teaching approach, and sometimes it uses a combination of the two.
10. Discuss the importance of making connections to other areas of the ESL students' lives.
A great way to engage adolescents in the learning process is to offer them material that is interesting to them and helps them understand their world better. In other words, the information presented needs to be meaningful and make sense to students. It is imperative for teachers to make connections between classes, and to show students how to apply the knowledge from one class in other disciplines. Connected data can help students to understand new facts, integrate new information and apply lessons. The ability to see the relationships between seemingly unrelated topics and events requires critical thinking and advanced reasoning skills. As students share ideas and ask questions during discussions, alternate perspectives are presented, considered and integrated. When students explore the relationship between activities and attitudes in school, at home and in the neighborhood, they gradually begin to understand that individual actions have far-reaching consequences. Making that critical connection is a major milestone in an adolescent's maturation process.
Last Updated: 03/13/2013