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Open Access Publications from the University of California

English Language Learners and Oral Language Anxiety: An Approach Using A Constructive Play Set

  • Author(s): Lee, Cindy Hsin-Yu
  • Advisor(s): Bailey, Alison
  • et al.

Studies have shown that on average, English language learners (ELLs) take seven to ten years under “optimal conditions” to acquire the language skills necessary to compete with native-born peers in the classroom (Cummings, 1991). There seems to be a lack of literature on the role of oral language anxiety for ELL student and how it may hinder their language production. The purpose of current study is to qualitatively investigate the role of incorporating LEGO� StoryStarter as manipulatives to facilitate communication through collaboration with peers to support their oral language production of anxious young ELL students. We interviewed six elementary ELL participants, paired them into dyads, and asked them to narrate stories together with and without LEGO�. Findings suggested that the use of LEGO� StoryStarter shapes the way that participants interact with each other, as it encourages communication not only with each other, but also with themselves. This study adds on to the lack of research on young ELL students.

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