Sycamore High School’s English Learning Class Makes Students Feel Like They Belong – Shaw Local


SYCOMORE – Shellyara Maymi Hinojosa describes her favorite classroom as a safe space where she feels at home, even though the classroom is often full of students speaking foreign languages.

Hinojosa, a freshman at Sycamore High School, attends an English Learning (ELL) class taught by Claribel Robles. Hinojosa, whose mother is Puerto Rican and father Mexican, speaks Spanish at home.

There are 97 ELL students in the school district, said Robles, who is the ELL program director for the Sycamore School District.

“That means they speak another language at home that’s not English,” Robles said. “We have students who speak Spanish, Arabic, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Gujarati, French and Creole.”

In the Robles Transitional Education program, students are immersed in English, learning language and grammar. During the lessons, they receive translation assistance for their homework and tests.

Claribel Robles, English Language Learners Program Director for the Sycamore School District, speaks with Rocio Cuautle, a sophomore, about the mural Cuautle is working on during an ELL class on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 , at Sycamore <a class=High School.” src=”https://www.shawlocal.com/resizer/JHoLf1819xQYZ4nexBy7OZlFtcc=/1440×0/filters:format(jpg):quality(70)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/shawmedia/XMD2USQQSJAAZAJSUFNJGTNT3U.JPG” width=”1440″ height=”0″ loading=”lazy”/>

“It’s a safe space where students feel comfortable learning new material and where they can make sense and translate when needed,” Robles said. “Bilingual students have two jobs in one: learning a new language and learning new content. Bilingualism is a treasure, and not everyone is fluent in two languages.

Robles teaches three ELL classes at Sycamore High School and one ELL class at Sycamore Middle School.

“Students read in English, learn about United States history, culture, and customs, and work on their English reading, writing, speaking, and listening,” Robles said. “What they learn in their ELL class also helps their understanding of the language in their other classes.”

Hinojosa said her ELL class helped her understand the English language better.

“Although sometimes I make mistakes, I can fix it and learn from my mistakes,” Hinojosa said. “The class really helped me a lot. It taught me how much we can learn from each other and how different the world can be. I always feel comfortable and loved in my ELL class.

Robles’ guidance made a difference in his upbringing, Hinojosa said.

“As a teacher, she does an amazing job,” Hinojosa said. “She makes everyone feel at home. It helps us to understand and helps us a lot. She is like my school mom and I love her so much.

Robles said she was inspired to become an ELL teacher after participating in a bilingual program when she was in kindergarten through third grade.

“It helped me learn to read and write in Spanish,” Robles said. “It made my language skills a major asset for me. I have been able to use it in other areas and I realize the importance of having the ability to understand both Spanish and English.

William Romero, a junior from Sycamore High School, has taken ELL classes with Robles since he was in middle school. Romero, whose family is originally from Mexico, said he speaks Spanish at home.

“We all feel really comfortable in this room,” Romero said. “She doesn’t walk away from a topic until everyone understands it. She answers our questions and puts us at ease. The class has always been great fun. It helps us feel like we belong. »

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