Amrita CREATE Labs presents their research on ESL at IEEE’s Frontiers in Education Conference 2015, USA

Frontiers in Education, sponsored by IEEE Education Society, is one of the oldest and most prestigious Education conferences focusing on educational innovations. For the third year in a row, a research paper from AmritaCREATE was presented here. Rema Menon presented the paper "New Methodology to Differentiate Instructional Strategies for ESL Learners in the Indian Context". The paper was authored by Rema Menon and Prema Nedungadi, AmritaCREATE.

The objective of the research was to develop and evaluate a model that provides differentiated instruction for learning English as a second language.

Many students struggle with reading when whole group instruction forms the core of the reading program. This is especially true when teaching second language students. The proposed intervention methodology combines multiple proven methods to improve reading skills in students. The study focused on using differentiated instruction and multiple assessments such as Informal Reading Inventory (IRI), Qualitative Spelling Inventory (QSI), Running Records, Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), High-frequency words and phonological awareness. After the usage of the said tools, students learnt to follow a firm reading routine, respect classroom procedures, work in teams and solve problems independently. This five-month study examined the benefits of the differentiated instruction with thirty six 5th grade students, who were the second language English learners in a school in the state of Karnataka, India. The key findings from this study indicated that differentiating instruction and using small group instruction assisted and improved students’ reading and writing proficiency. With the proposed method, 94% of the students improved their reading comprehension by a minimum of three grade levels. An unexpected benefit was a positive change in attitude and behavior of the students along with increase in confidence.

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