In the interest of not stigmatizing their peers, students want to change the ELL label to reflect that English language learners are multilingual students.
The description statesÂ â€śThe strengths-based label highlights the fact that being bilingual is a highly desired and valuable skill. It more accurately represents their intelligence and abilities and enables students to see themselves in a more positive light than the deficit based ELL label.â€ť
Christine Olsen teaches seventh and eighth grade ELL students at Seven Hills. Â She says that she began to think about the significance of the ELL label after attending a conference last year.
â€śI wanted to know how my students felt about it,â€ť she said. â€śAnd they were very honest and open about how they didnâ€™t like it, how it makes them feel stupid and that they arenâ€™t good enough in the eyes of their peers and teachers.â€ť
She asked her class to come up with another term, and they suggested multilingual students. They spread their idea throughout the school. Â Since they didn’t want to stop at the school level, they came up with the idea of creating a White House petition.