California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) Ultimate Guide2019-03-20T16:44:09+00:00

California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL)

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California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL)

Quick Facts

CTEL 1: Language and Language Development

CTEL 2: Assessment and Instruction

CTEL 3: Culture and Inclusion

California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) Quick Facts

The CTEL tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to educate English language learners in the state of California. It’s purpose is to determine if the test-taker is qualified to work as a teacher of English language learners.

Format:

There are 3 sub-tests included in the CTEL:

CTEL 1

  • Language and Language Development
  • 50 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay
  • 1 hour and 45 minutes

CTEL 2

  • Assessment and Instruction
  • 60 multiple-choice questions and 2 essays
  • 2 hours and 45 minutes

CTEL 3

  • Culture and Inclusion
  • 40 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay
  • 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • All 3 subtests can be taken in a single 6-hour session.

Cost:

CTEL 1- $98

CTEL 2- $147

CTEL 3- $99

All 3 subtests can be taken in a single session for $260.

Scoring:

220 is the passing score for each subtest.

Study time:

Study time will vary from person to person, but plan to spend many hours over several weeks to feel fully prepared. Continue studying until you have covered each topic of the test and feel confident with the practice questions.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  • There is no penalty for incorrect answers, so it is better to guess than to leave a question unanswered.  
  • Pace yourself, and make sure you are not spending too much time on difficult questions. You can always come back to a question later.
  • Plan to arrive early. Check the test administration site for the time you should arrive.

Information and screenshots obtained from the California Educator Credentialing Assessments website: http://www.ctcexams.nesinc.com/Home.aspx

CTEL 1: Language and Language Development

Overview

The Language and Language Development subtest has 50 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay.

This subtest has 2 domains, both with specific competencies:

Language Structure and Use

  • Phonology and Morphology
  • Syntax and Semantics
  • Language Functions and Variation
  • Discourse
  • Pragmatics

Additive-Language Development

  • Theories, Processes, and Stages of Language Acquisition
  • Theories, Models, and Processes of Second-Language Acquisition
  • Cognitive, Linguistic, and Physical Factors Affecting Language Development
  • Affective Factors Affecting Language Development
  • Sociocultural and Political Factors Affecting Language Development

       

So, let’s start with Phonology and Morphology.

Phonology and Morphology

This section tests your ability to teach English learners the language with attention to phonology and morphology. A knowledge of the unique facets of the English language, especially in regards to listening, speaking, reading, and writing, is needed to complete this section.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Phonology

Phonology is the relationship between speech sounds and the foundational components of a language. Features of English phonology include phonemes, intonation patterns, pitch, and modulation.

Phonemes are particular units of sound in a language. An example of a phoneme in the English language is /d/, heard in words such as dog, bandit, and add.

Intonation is the rise and fall of the voice while speaking. Common intonation patterns in the English language are rising, falling, and fall-rise. For instance, asking a question is an example of a rising pattern, because the voice rises at the end.

Pitch refers to how high or low a spoken voice is perceived. Pitch relates to the stress put on particular words or syllables. In the English language, using a higher pitch often serves to emphasize words.

Modulation is the act of altering your voice to create a certain tone to fit your intended message. For example, you might put stress on certain words to indicate their importance.

Morphology

Morphology is the study of words and how they are formed. A morpheme is a grammatical unit of a language that cannot be broken down any further. It can be either a word or part of a word that carries meaning. An example of a morpheme that cannot stand alone is “pre.” This is a prefix that means “before” when attached to a base word (prehistoric, preheat, preview, etc.).

Syntax and Semantics

This section tests your knowledge on English syntax and semantics, especially in terms of correctly modeling and teaching them to English language learners.

Here are some concepts that will be on the test.

False Cognates

False cognates are pairs of words that seem like they could be cognates (words with common origins) but actually have different origins. For example, it would be easy to think the Spanish word “carpeta” translates to “carpet” in English, but it actually means “folder.”

English Sentence Patterns

Sentences in the English language commonly follow one of the following basic patterns.

Subject + Verb

Fatima reads.

Subject + Verb + Object

Fatima reads an article.

Subject + Verb + Adjective + Object

Fatima reads an interesting article.

Subject + Verb + Object + Adverb

Fatima reads an article quickly.

Language Functions and Variation

This section tests your knowledge on the appropriate way to use the English language to communicate in various social and academic situations.

Take a look at these concepts.

Social Functions of Language

Here are the social functions of language:

Inform- give information

Example- “Our meeting will be at 9:30 in the conference room.”

Amuse- provide entertainment

Example- “I like my money where I can see it- hanging in my closet!” (Carrie Bradshaw played by Sarah Jessica Parker)

Control- to influence a situation

Example- “Don’t go in there!”

Persuade- to convince

Example- “You should carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Staying hydrated is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body.”

Social versus Academic Language

You use social language in social situations, such as gatherings or outings with family or friends. You use academic language in academic situations, such as class or communicating with teachers or professors. Social language is more casual, and academic language is more formal. Social language is informal, while academic language includes academic vocabulary.

Discourse

This section tests your knowledge on the meaning and proper formation of sentences used when communicating in oral and written form.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Oral-Language Structures

Oral-language structures are the ways people construct sentences that they say aloud so that what is being said sounds right and makes sense. Strategies for teaching oral-language include modeling and engaging in conversation, teaching and modeling attentive listening, posing questions that encourage students to explain their thinking, providing prompts or sentence starters, and directly teaching vocabulary.

Written-Language Structures

Written-language structures are how people construct sentences that they write to convey an intended message in a grammatically sound way. Strategies for teaching written-language include modeling writing and thinking aloud during the process, providing prompts or sentence starters, conducting writing conferences and offering feedback, and directly teaching grammatical skills.

Pragmatics

This section tests your knowledge on the features of pragmatics in oral and written English in various settings and situations.

Here’s a concept that you may see on the test.

Pragmatic Features of Oral and Written Language

Pragmatic features of oral and written language are the practical components of communicating when speaking or writing.

Different registers refer to the formality with which you speak or write. For example, you would use a casual register when communicating with friends or family. When on a job interview, you would communicate in a formal register.

Idiomatic expressions are common colloquial phrases that have a figurative meaning as opposed to a literal one. For example, “I have your back” means I will take care of you or watch out for you. “I’m in a pickle” means I am in a tricky or uncertain situation.

Gestures are body movements, most often of the hands or head, that people use along with speech when communicating orally. For example, nodding your head while speaking indicates you are sharing important information that you want your listener to pay close attention to and understand.

Eye contact refers to where a person is looking while speaking. The more comfortable you are when speaking, the easier you may find it to maintain eye contact with your audience.

Physical proximity is the distance between two or more people communicating with each other. Different proximities are appropriate depending on the situation and relationship between speakers. For example, it is appropriate to be in a closer physical proximity when speaking to a family member than a check-out clerk at a store.

Theories, Processes, and Stages of Language Acquisition

This section tests your knowledge on current theories and strategies used to teach English as second-language acquisition. It also tests your knowledge on the features of the varying stages of second-language acquisition.

Take a look at some concepts that may come up on the test.

Code-Switching

Code-switching is when an individual switches back and forth between 2 or more languages in a conversation. People attempting to speak in a newly acquired language may fill in unknown words using their native language.

Proficiency Levels of English Language Acquisition

Emerging– Students use English to address needs and begin to acquire an academic vocabulary. Progress is made at an accelerated rate.

Expanding– Students are growing their English vocabulary and applying it to a greater range of situations. Language skills are advancing and being used in grade-level appropriate ways.

Bridging– Students use advanced English language skills in a variety of situations. Students are ready to participate in all subjects of their grade-level without direct ELD instruction.

Cognitive, Linguistic, and Physical Factors Affecting Language Development

This section tests your knowledge on the cognitive, linguistic, and physical factors of second-language acquisition and the implications they may have on the English learner.

Here is a concept that may appear on the test.

Positive and Negative Language Transfer

Language transfer refers to individuals applying rules from one language to the acquisition of another

Positive language transfer occurs when the rules are the same and aid in second language acquisition.

Negative language transfer occurs when the rules are different and hinder second language acquisition.

Affective Factors Affecting Language Development

This section tests your knowledge on affective (emotional) factors that influence second-language acquisition and the implications they may have on the English learner.

Let’s talk about the main concept from this competency.

Affective Factors

Affective factors refer to certain emotions English learners may experience when working to acquire the language.

Motivation refers to the desire one has to complete a task. Students with high motivation may learn a new language more successfully than students with low motivation.

Inhibition is a feeling that causes one to act in an uncomfortable or unnatural way. Students with low inhibition may learn a new language more successfully than students with high inhibition.

Attitudes are how one feels about a certain situation or circumstance. Students with positive attitudes may learn a new language more successfully than students with negative attitudes.

Levels of Anxiety refers to the degree to which one worries or ruminates about the future. Students with low anxiety may learn a new language more successfully than students with high anxiety.

Self-Esteem refers to how one feels about oneself. Students with high self-esteem may learn a new language more successfully than students with low self-esteem.

Teacher Expectations are how a teacher presumes students will act or things will go in his or her classroom. Students who have teachers with high expectations may learn a new language more successfully than students who have teachers with low expectations.

Classroom Environment refers to both the physical space and emotional feelings common to a classroom. Students in a thoughtfully arranged, positive classroom may learn a new language more successfully than students in a disorganized, negative classroom.

Sociocultural and Political Factors Affecting Language Development

This section tests your knowledge on the sociocultural and political factors that influence second-language development and the implications they may have on the English learner.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Elective versus Circumstantial Bilingualism

Elective Bilingualism– Individuals choose to acquire a new language due to interest or desire to live abroad or travel.

Circumstantial Bilingualism– Immersion in a new language is forced due to relocation. Acquisition of the new language is necessary for survival.

Community Influences

The community can affect language development with the attitude toward and level of respect given to English learners. Positive attitudes and high levels of respect can foster a community in which English learners feel comfortable and can thrive. Communities also have the potential to provide resources or events to aid English learners in their acquisition.

And that’s some basic info about CTEL 1: Language and Language Development.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these

concepts might actually appear on the real test.

CTEL 2: Assessment and Instruction

Overview

The Assessment and Instruction subtest has 60 multiple-choice questions and 2 essays.

This subtest has 3 domains, each with specific competencies:

Assessment of English Learners

  • Principles of Standards-Based Assessment and Instruction
  • Role, Purposes, and Types of Assessment
  • Language and Content-Area Assessment

Foundations of English Language/Literacy Development and Content Instruction

  • Foundations of Programs for English Learners
  • Foundations of English Language Literacy
  • Instructional Planning and Organization for ELD and SDAIE
  • Components of Effective Instructional Delivery in ELD and SDAIE
  • Effective Resource Use in ELD and SDAIE

Approaches and Methods for ELD and Content Instruction

  • ELD-Approaches and Methods
  • ELD-Listening and Speaking
  • ELD-Reading and Writing
  • Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE)

So, let’s start with Principles of Standards-Based Assessment and Instruction.

Principles of Standards-Based Assessment and Instruction

This section tests your knowledge on designing and implementing appropriate instruction and assessments to meet the academic needs of English learners at varying stages of English language acquisition.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Wiggins and McTighe’s “Backwards” Lesson Planning

“Backwards” lesson design refers to the process of setting goals and designing assessments before planning lessons to teach an objective. It helps implement standards-based instruction before the standard is the starting point and focus of the design process. The process also allows the educator to think through the different learning styles and needs of individual students and plan instruction accordingly.

Curriculum Calibration

Curriculum calibration is a process in which an assignment given to students is examined through the lens of the skills students need to complete the assignment successfully and how well those skills align with the actual learning objective. This process helps implement differentiated, standards-based instruction, because if the standard is not clear or does not correlate with the assignment to meet the needs of all learners after the examination process, the next step is to revise the assignment until it does.

Role, Purposes, and Types of Assessment

This section tests your knowledge on when and how to use various forms of assessment to meet the needs of English learners.

Here are some concepts that you might see on the test.

Test Bias

Test bias is a notable difference in test performance between groups of test-takers based on categories such as gender, race, or ethnicity. This is a significant issue for English learners, because a deficit in proficiency of the language the test is given in may not accurately assess the content of the test.

Performance-Based Assessment

Performance-based assessments are tasks students complete to measure progress towards mastery of a standard. For example, a student may be asked to design a field day station that includes concepts covered in a science unit over force and motion as opposed to taking a multiple-choice test that covers the same material. The purpose of performance-based assessment is to assess students in a meaningful way that could be applied to a real-world situation.

Performance-based assessments are authentic, open-ended, and focused on the process and product. Limitations of performance-based assessments include the subjectivity involved in scoring and the time-consuming complexity of creating them.

Language and Content-Area Assessment

This section tests your knowledge on when and how to use various assessments to assess both English language skills and other content appropriately.

Let’s look at a specific concept.

Assessment of Content versus Assessment of Language Skills

Assessment of content means students are assessed on grade-level standards across the subject areas. Assessment of language skills means students are assessed on proficiency of communicating in a certain language. Teachers need to be aware of the distinction to ensure they design assessments that accurately measure the targeted skill.

Foundations of Programs for English Learners

This section tests your knowledge on how various programs implemented for English learners have influenced how they are educated and assessed.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 [NCLB]

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is an act of Congress with a focus on closing achievement gaps and ensuring that all students have an opportunity to receive a high standard of education. It became necessary for states and school districts to demonstrate progress made by English learners throughout the school year with a rating system.  

Proposition 227

Proposition 227 was a state statute on the California statewide ballot in 1998 that was approved. It changed the way LEP (limited English proficient) students were educated in California. Once Proposition 227 passed, LEP students were educated in classes taught primarily in English. Most bilingual classes were eliminated, and the time LEP students spent in special classes or programs was shortened to no more than a year.

Heritage-Language Movement

The Heritage-Language Movement is the desire of minority groups to relearn or improve their speaking skills in their native language.

Structured English Immersion (SEI)

Structured English Immersion is a strategy to teach English learners English at a fast pace. Most class time is devoted to developing proficiency in English. Other academic content is not the focus.

Foundations of English Language Literacy

This section tests your knowledge on developing English language reading and writing proficiency by the use of strategies that promote foundational literacy skills.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Language Experience Approach

The language experience approach is a shared literacy experience between the student and teacher in which the student’s personal experience becomes the basis for a text transcribed by the teacher. It is used to develop English learners’ reading and writing proficiency in English across the curriculum, because the text is revisited and expanded on to teach and model concepts like grammatical structures using a familiar experience that is meaningful to the learner.

Pre-Reading Activities

Pre-reading activities allow readers an opportunity to preview the text and activate any prior knowledge that may help them with comprehension. Some pre-reading activities to help develop English learners’ reading and writing proficiency include brainstorming, discussing, and paying close attention to the title and pictures. The teacher should prepare simple questions to guide the pre-reading experience.

Instructional Planning and Organization for ELD and SDAIE

This section tests your knowledge on setting up and managing a classroom that promotes both English language development and mastery of content across the curriculum. It also tests your knowledge of encouraging student interaction and community involvement to enhance students’ educational experience.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Student Grouping Strategies

To promote language development, conceptual development, and classroom community building, teachers can arrange the physical space of the classroom to encourage student interactions. Desks can be arranged in groups or pods as opposed to an individually placed arrangement.

Team Teaching

Team teaching is the coordinated effort of a group of educators working toward common goals of student achievement. It can be used to support student learning, because multiple teachers work together to plan, design, implement, and evaluate powerful instruction. Team teachers can also use flexible grouping to meet with small groups of students with similar needs.

Components of Effective Instructional Delivery in ELD and SDAIE

This section tests your knowledge on strategies used to deliver effective instruction for English learners.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Cummin’s Four Quadrants

Cummin’s Four Quadrants is a model that divides language tasks into four categories. Moving vertically, the scale goes from cognitively undemanding tasks to cognitively demanding tasks. Moving horizontally, the scale goes from tasks with a lot of context with which English learners can easily relate to abstract tasks with little to no context for English learners.

Levels of Comprehension

Literal comprehension involves understanding information that the author explicitly writes in the text. Examples of demonstrating literal comprehension include identifying the main idea and supporting details, sequencing events, locating specific information, and summarizing.

Inferential comprehension involves understanding the meaning behind the author’s writing. Examples of demonstrating inferential comprehension include identifying theme, the author’s purpose, and why characters feel or act the way they do, and making predictions.

Evaluative comprehension involves understanding why the author made the choices he or she did when writing a particular text. It requires the reader to use his or her own experience to evaluate the writing. An example of demonstrating evaluative comprehension includes agreeing or disagreeing with the author supported by reasons why or why not.

Effective Resource Use in ELD and SDAIE

This section tests your knowledge on choosing and using appropriate materials for English learners, with attention to culturally responsive resources.

Here’s a concept you may see on the test.

Technological Resources

English learners can benefit from a variety of technological resources, such as computers and other devices, document cameras, interactive whiteboards, and various programs, apps, or software. These technological resources can be effective in providing English learners with much needed visual examples (photographs, videos, graphics, etc.) of vocabulary and concepts. Students can also express themselves and demonstrate their learning in a visual way using technology.

ELD-Approaches and Methods

This section tests your knowledge on effective approaches and methods to teach English learners both English and other content-area standards.

Take a look at these concepts.

Implicit and Explicit Instruction

Implicit instruction is a less formal way to teach language skills. It can involve encouraging conversation in English between students with guiding questions or showing a video in English. The idea is that English learners will naturally pick up grammar and vocabulary through these types of communicative experiences.

Explicit instruction is direct teaching of a specific skill. It could involve teaching a particular grammar rule or set of vocabulary words and assigning students to practice using them correctly on a written assignment.

Generation 1.5

Generation 1.5 is a term used to describe individuals who arrived in the United States in their youth. This is a unique population because their identities may feel split between their native home and their home in the U.S. Generation 1.5 is typically still acquiring the English language and will require language acquisition support. They may also have strengths to be drawn on as multilingual learners.

ELD-Listening and Speaking

This section tests your knowledge on strategies to use to promote English learners’ listening and speaking skills.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Frontloading Vocabulary

Frontloading vocabulary means to pre-teach words that students need to know in order to be successful in learning a particular skill or completing a certain task. It facilitates English learners’ listening comprehension and speaking skills by preparing them for words they may hear or will need to say in the future task or assignment.

Structured Student Interaction

Structured student interaction provides opportunities for students to work together in class. Teachers should consider arranging the physical space of the classroom to promote structured student interaction. Teachers should also consider work habits, personalities, and skill levels of students when grouping them for particular tasks. Students can work together in different ways, such as:

  • Cooperative Learning: Students work in groups on tasks that involve both academic and social experiences.
  • Pair-Work: Students work with a partner to complete a task.
  • Small-Group: Students work in groups of about 3-5 to complete a task.
  • Whole-Class: Students interact with their whole class in a structured way. Examples include discussions, debates, and giving/receiving peer feedback.
  • Role-Plays: Students take on roles and act out different scenarios.
  • Interviews: Students ask and answer questions for each other.

ELD-Reading and Writing

This section tests your knowledge on strategies to use to promote English language learners’ reading and writing skills.

Take a look at these concepts that might come up on the test.

Systematic Vocabulary Development

Systematic vocabulary development is direct vocabulary instruction. The basic procedure for explicitly teaching a new vocabulary word includes introducing the word, giving a definition of the word that is meaningful to students, and using the word in a variety of examples. The teacher then checks for students’ understanding and coaches them in the use of the new word. It promotes vocabulary development for English learners by directly teaching them new, intentionally chosen words using a systematic method.

Multicultural Texts

Multicultural texts are literary works that include characters from a variety of backgrounds. They are important to use so students have exposure to other cultures and also so students can see their own culture represented in texts shared with their class. Students learn to value their own and other cultures through the use of multicultural texts in the classroom.

Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE)

This section tests your knowledge on the procedures and strategies to use to successfully implement SDAIE in the classroom.

Here are some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

SDAIE

SDAIE is Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English. It is an approach to teach students English and other academic content simultaneously. Key components of SDAIE include:

  • focus on academic vocabulary/directly teaching new vocabulary
  • active learning in which the students demonstrate learning to their teacher
  • activating/assessing prior knowledge
  • intentional student grouping
  • acknowledging/affirming individual student differences and contributions
  • teacher modeling of verbal skills
  • graphic organizers with pictures or words
  • integration of language skills including listening, speaking, reading, and writing
  • high-level thinking skills
  • intentional questioning
  • teacher takes on role of facilitator

Debriefing

Debriefing is to review and discuss a task after completion. Explicit instruction in debriefing means to directly teach and model the process with a student.

CTEL 3: Culture and Inclusion

Overview

The Culture and Inclusion subtest has 40 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay.

This subtest has 2 domains, both with specific competencies:

Culture and Cultural Diversity and Their Relationship to Academic Achievement

  • Cultural Concepts and Perspectives
  • Cultural Contact
  • Cultural Diversity in California and the United States
  • Crosscultural Interaction

Culturally Inclusive Instruction

  • The Role of Culture in the Classroom and School
  • Culturally Inclusive Learning Environment
  • Family and Community Involvement
  • Culturally Inclusive Curriculum and Instruction

       

So, let’s start with Cultural Concepts and Perspectives.

Cultural Concepts and Perspectives

This section tests your knowledge on addressing cultural diversity with an understanding of the internal and external elements of culture.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism is the evaluation of another culture based on assumptions typical  of one’s own culture. For example, belief that your own country is superior to all others is a form of ethnocentrism.

External and Internal Elements of Culture

External elements of culture are the components of culture that are easy to see and define, such as where people of a culture typically live, common ways to dress, and government structure.

Internal elements of culture are the components of culture that are abstract and not quite as simple to see and define, such as common values, customs, non-verbal communication norms, and gender roles.

Cultural Contact

This section tests your knowledge on how people respond when experiencing a new culture.

Take a look at these concepts.

Acculturation

Acculturation is the process of adopting elements of a new culture while retaining parts of the original. It is the blending of cultures for a group or individual. The process often moves through stages.

Stage 1- Honeymoon

This is the stage of initial excitement. The involvement with the new culture is similar to that of a tourist’s. The similarities between the new and original cultures are encouraging, and the differences seem manageable.

Stage 2- Culture Shock

The initial excitement of being immersed in a new culture has worn off. The differences between the new and original cultures now seem abundant and difficult to overcome.

Stage 3- Adjustment/Adaptation

The adjusting group or individual is becoming more comfortable with the new culture. There are still highs and lows, but the growing familiarity with the new culture eases the adaptation.

Stage 4- Acceptance

The new culture feels like another home. The cultural differences are accepted and do not influence the group or individual in a negative way.

Culture Shock

Culture shock refers to the feelings one may experience when moving to a new cultural environment. Individuals may feel uncomfortable with the differences of the new culture. For example, differences in communication norms (amount of eye contact, physical contact such as handshakes upon greeting, etc.) could feel overwhelming to an individual immersed in a new, unfamiliar culture.

Cultural Diversity in California and the United States

This section tests your knowledge on the specifics of cultural diversity in the state of California and the United States and how this affects the education of English learners.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

L1 Maintenance and Loss

L1 maintenance and loss refers to what happens to the original language when a new one is taught and used. It can be difficult for an individual to maintain the skills necessary to effectively communicate in his or her original language when he or she is not afforded opportunities to use it. Experiencing loss of the language could be difficult for the individual if he or she travels back to the country of origin or has family members that cannot be communicated with due to language loss.

Cultural Trends in California

Both Asian and Hispanic populations have increased at rapid rates in the state of California.

Crosscultural Interaction

This section tests your knowledge on the differences in communication of different cultures and how to promote positive interactions between culturally diverse students.

Here is a concept you may see on the test.

Cultural Differences in Patterns of Nonverbal Communication

Different cultures have different norms in terms of nonverbal communication patterns. The amount of distance people stand apart, how much eye contact is maintained, and the frequency of use of gestures, touching, and even smiling when speaking varies from culture to culture.

The Role of Culture in the Classroom and School

This section tests your knowledge on the important role that culture plays in students’ experiences both at school and home.

Here’s one topic that may pop up on the test.

Home Visits

Home visits are when teachers visit the home and family of a student outside of regular school hours. Teachers can use home visits to acquire in-depth knowledge of English learners’ home cultures and cultural experiences by coming face-to-face with them in an environment in which the student is comfortable. Teachers can gain a lot of knowledge by seeing actual artifacts from a student’s culture and also by observing interactions between family members.

Culturally Inclusive Learning Environment

This section tests your knowledge on qualities of a culturally responsive classroom that contributes to high achievement for all students.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Proactive Approach to Cultural Conflict

Using a proactive approach to cultural conflict means to anticipate issues or prejudices that may arise in the classroom and handle them through discussion before they become a problem. Teachers can use the strategy of facilitating an open discussion with guiding questions with norms established beforehand to ensure communication and language will be respectful and inoffensive.

Culturally Responsive Classroom

A culturally responsive classroom models respect and meets the needs of students from all cultures. A culturally responsive classroom knows its students well and draws on the experiences of all students. The teacher of a culturally responsive classroom holds all students to a high academic standard and believes they all can achieve success.

Family and Community Involvement

This section tests your knowledge on the importance of family and community involvement in a student’s education and strategies to use to be inclusive of all cultures and non-English speakers.

Here is a topic you may see on the test.

Outreach Strategies

Outreach strategies for getting family and the community involved include organizing events and resources that capture the interest or meet the needs of the community. Communication can also be provided in the family or community’s native language to ensure a clear understanding of the event.

Culturally Inclusive Curriculum and Instruction

This section tests your knowledge on using curriculum and instruction to design and maintain a classroom that responds to the needs and experiences of students from all cultures.

Take a look at this concept.

Transformative Approach to Multicultural Curriculum Reform

The transformative approach to multicultural curriculum reform alters the basic preconceptions of the curriculum and allows students to view issues from varying cultural points of view. An example of an instructional unit based on the transformative approach to multicultural curriculum reform is a study of a war in a history class. Students can use texts from all involved to gain a thorough understanding of motivations and implications of the whole war.

CTEL 1: Language and Language Development Practice Test and Answers

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Ready? Let’s go!

Question 1

Mrs. Johnson has been working with an English learner to develop his English language skills. The student has shown frustration in his progress because he feels many words are easier to say than to spell. She encourages the students to continue trying to pronounce words and write them correctly. Mrs. Johnson’s encouragement most accurately reflects the knowledge that:

  1. if a student cannot say a word, they will not be able to spell it.
  2. language skills are interrelated and do not develop sequentially.
  3. a student must have a positive attitude to learn a new language.
  4. the phonetics of some words are reflected in their spelling.

Correct answer: 2. This is true. Language skills are interrelated and the development in one area may prompt development in another.

Question 2

Mr. Levitt notices that one of his English learners is adapting his speech depending on the social situation. The student best demonstrates an awareness of:

  1. language register.
  2. language function.
  3. morphology.
  4. phonology.

Correct answer: 1. A language register is the adaptation of one’s speech to fit certain social situations.

Question 3

A sixth-grade student in an intermediate-level ELD class, Marta, routinely approaches the teacher’s desk to ask questions and maintains a proximity to the teacher while asking the questions. The teacher becomes uncomfortable with such proximity. What is the best explanation for the student’s proximity to the teacher?

  1. The student’s native culture uses a proximity in personal conversation
  2. The student is not speaking loud enough for the teacher to hear
  3. The student is worried her speaking skills will be made fun of among her peers
  4. The teacher is huddling close to the student

Correct answer: 1. This is the best explanation. Many cultures encourage a proximity for communication.

Question 4

A teacher is perplexed by a recurring syllable appearing within words that an Englisher learner has included in his composition. The student explains that in his language there are ways to express affect by adding in this syllable. This is an example of:

  1. cognates.
  2. semantic drift.
  3. language interference.
  4. syntax.

Correct answer: 3. This is the correct answer. Information that a student uses from his first language that does not exist in the second language is an example of interference; when the information does exist and it is helpful to the student to use it, it is called ‘transfer.’

Question 5

The study of existing sounds in a particular language is called?

  1. Phonetics
  2. Morphology
  3. Phonology
  4. Phonics

Correct answer: 3. Phonology refers to the study of sounds that exist in a language.

Question 6

In a cookbook, there are many instances of command forms of verbs. This is true because the purpose of the recipes is to tell how to prepare various food items.  This is an example of:

  1. a language proficiency level.
  2. a language function.
  3. a language register.
  4. a lexical expansion.

Correct answer: C. This refers to the function of a particular language. The purpose of the language used in a cookbook is to guide the reader to make the specific food items correctly.

Question 7

At the beginning of the school year, Mr. Covey notices that one of his students, who is classified as an English learner, speaks almost fluent conversational English. Of the following, which would be the best assessment of the situation by Mr. Covey?

  1. The student will be academically successful because he is articulate
  2. The student will be academically successful because conversational English must be learned before formal English
  3. The student will be academically successful as his knowledge of conversational English indicates he is highly intelligent
  4. It is uncertain if the student will be academically successful because conversational English develops much faster than the English skills necessary to be academically successful

Correct answer: 4. The first three answers are misconceptions people have, but there is a distinction between socio-oral language and the academic language needed for school.

Question 8

Mrs. Summerville is teaching a unit on synonyms and antonyms. Her instructional activities would best cover what concept?

  1. Conventions of English
  2. Semantics
  3. Syntax
  4. Phonology

Correct answer: 2. The study of word meanings is a part of semantics. This is the most specific answer choice.

Question 9

Which of the following best describes children’s language development at birth?

  1. Children are born without a facility for language acquisition or processing and learn language through social interaction
  2. Children are born with a simple and complex understanding of syntactic rules
  3. Children are born without knowledge of language and learn through parental instruction
  4. Children are born with a natural predisposition for learning language and language rules

Correct answer: 4. According to language acquisition theory, children are born with a “language acquisition device.” This device helps their language development. Language acquisition theory also states that children unconsciously learn normal social interaction without the need of structured vocabulary teaching or grammatical structures.

Question 10

Mrs. Lewis has a student who is having difficulty pronouncing certain consonants. She is trying to determine if the student’s primary language is contributing to the difficulty in pronunciation. Which of the following strategies would likely be most effective in addressing Mrs. Lewis’s goal?

  1. Look through literature of the student’s primary language to see if the consonants in question appear
  2. Have the student recite the primary language alphabet
  3. Ask a bilingual teacher of the student’s primary language whether the consonants in question exist in the student’s primary language
  4. Look for information about the student’s primary language in a general linguistics textbook

Correct answer: 3. The best strategy would be to collaborate with a bilingual teacher of the student’s primary language. This would allow Mrs. Lewis to talk with the other teacher about the consonants in question and ask for strategies to help promote the English learner’s English skills.

CTEL 2: Assessment and Instruction

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Ready? Let’s go!

Question 1

Mrs. Homers usually incorporates literature that reflects various cultural and literary traditions into literacy instruction for her English learners. Which of the following is the greatest benefit to this practice?

  1. It helps maintain the students’ interest in literature study by continually presenting them with new settings, characters, and situations
  2. Students are better able to understand perspectives, values, and beliefs beyond those that are familiar
  3. It promotes the students’ critical thinking skills by encouraging them to analyze the author’s purpose, point of view, and voice
  4. Students are exposed to repeated and meaningful vocabulary

Correct answer: 2. Using multiple resources that reflect various literary and cultural traditions exposes students to differing viewpoints.

Question 2

Mr. Sanchez’s sixth-grade ELD class is currently working on a research project about cultures across the world. Each student has been assigned a different culture and has been instructed to research the culture and present the findings to the class. Mr. Sanchez notices many of his students, who are classified as English learners, are nervous about their upcoming presentations because they are uncomfortable speaking in front of the class. Which of the following recommendations would be most appropriate for Mr. Sanchez to advise his students?

  1. The students should practice their presentations in front of a mirror to monitor their performance
  2. The students should record themselves and listen to the pronunciation
  3. The students should practice with a small group and use the feedback from the small group to improve the presentations
  4. The students should write down the presentations and have a peer proofread them for grammatical errors

Correct answer: 3. This is the best recommendation as the students will be able to practice their presentations in a safe environment to gain confidence in public speaking and to perfect their word pronunciation.

Question 3

Mr. Martin is planning an instructional unit and wants to adjust the lesson to meet the needs of the English learners in his class. Each student has a varying level of English proficiency. What is the best strategy to adjust the instructional unit to meet the students’ needs?

  1. Allow the English learners to work together during group activities to promote English proficiency
  2. Adjust the content to make the presentations and homework assignments simpler to accommodate the varying language proficiencies
  3. Make dictionaries accessible to the students and allow for additional time to complete the assignments while other students work independently
  4. Send the English learners to the resource room for supplemental instruction during the presentations

Correct answer: 3. By allowing students a dictionary and additional time, the teacher is adjusting instruction to meet the needs of the students while promoting English proficiency and grade-level appropriate content.

Question 4

Students in a kindergarten ELD class are cutting out pictures from magazines.  Their next step is working in small groups to categorize each picture. For an English learner, what is most beneficial about this activity?

  1. Promotes conversation in L2 related to categorization
  2. Improves memorization
  3. Encourages role play
  4. Creates an opportunity to participate in groups

Correct answer: 1. Working with other classmates to categorize the magazine pictures will enhance L2 learning because the English learners will need to use a variety of words to describe each picture and to talk about which category the pictures belong to.

Question 5

Exercises that promote the English learners’ ability to request clarification for words they do not understand helps their language acquisition primarily by:

  1. teaching students a strategy for overcoming gaps in comprehension.
  2. helping students identify problem-solving strategies.
  3. supporting students’ development of metacognitive learning strategies.
  4. providing students with opportunities to engage in extended discourse.

Correct answer: 1. Equipping students to clarify areas of the English language they do not understand helps them overcome gaps in their comprehension.

Question 6

Many concepts transfer from one language to another, such as distinguishing fruits from toys. Of the following, which is the most likely reason an English learner would not able to identify the picture of the fruit in front of him?

  1. The student is unfamiliar with fruits and vegetables
  2. His concept of a noun does not include fruits
  3. Certain fruits do not grow in his homeland
  4. The fruit might be a different color in his homeland

Correct answer: 3. Certain fruits do not grow in certain lands. The most likely reason an English learner would not be able to recognize a fruit is they have never seen the fruit.

Question 7

Which of the following would be the most appropriate adjustment to make for a test given to an English learner?

  1. Use only multiple-choice questions
  2. Use multiple-choice and short-answer questions
  3. Use vocabulary that is easier for the English learner to understand
  4. Provide a glossary of terms found on the test

Correct answer: 4. This is an adequate adjustment as it allows the ELL student to understand all of the test questions.

Question 8

Which of the following types of assessments would be most beneficial for assessing the academic achievement of an English learner?

  1. A state standardized test from the preceding grade level
  2. A self-reflective survey filled out by the student and his parents gauging the success of the student in classroom objectives
  3. A standardized language proficiency test
  4. A teacher-designed test that will assess the student’s understanding and knowledge of the objectives that have been addressed in classroom instruction

Correct answer: 4. This is the best option as it will gauge the current achievement of the student in the concepts that have been taught. Because the teacher is able to create the test, the test will assess all material covered in class that the student is responsible to know.

Question 9

Mr. Abrams has five English learners of varying abilities in his class. Which of the following options would be the best way to assess their content knowledge?

  1. Use multiple types of assessments
  2. Use a curved assessment
  3. Use a state standardized test assessment
  4. Have the students assess themselves

Correct answer: 1. Using multiple assessments allows students to demonstrate their knowledge to the best of their ability.

Question 10

Mr. Chalmers wants to evaluate the learning progress of his English learners over the past few weeks. Since there are no major formal assessments scheduled in the upcoming week, which of the following would be the most appropriate informal assessment of the students’ learning progress?

  1. Take an alternate form of the unit test provided by the textbook company after school
  2. Have the English learners read back questions from a unit test
  3. Review past formal assessments
  4. Listen in on the English learners’ group activity

Correct answer: 4. This is the best option as the teacher can gauge progress in a variety of areas, including oral language proficiency.

CTEL 3: Culture and Inclusion

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Ready? Let’s go!

Question 1

The students’ understanding of values, ethics, and relationships is greatly influenced by their culture and society. This is important to remember in working with English learners because:

  1. their native cultures might place different emphases on values, ethics, and relationships than the American culture.
  2. their ability to grasp basic mathematical concepts might be complicated by cultural influences.
  3. their learning styles will be vastly different due to differences in cultural backgrounds.
  4. their family relationships might have different priorities than that of the American culture.

Correct answer: 1. This is the most important thing to remember because students’ behavior and thought processes can be shaped by the different emphases on values. To adequately communicate and teach English learners, these differences need to be considered in communication.

Question 2

Along with promoting English proficiency among her students, Mrs. Armstrong strives to help her English learners express their feelings and consider other students’ viewpoints. Of the following, what is the greatest benefit of this practice?

  1. Helping students understand English culture
  2. Allowing students to gain greater proficiency in English
  3. Encouraging high expectations in the students’ academic achievements
  4. Reducing conflicts among students with different backgrounds

Correct answer: 4. Helping students express their feelings and understand the viewpoints of others will help reduce conflicts among students of different cultures as misunderstandings are more likely to be prevented.

Question 3

Henry is an English learner and has mastered the English language. He also performs well academically and participates in various extracurricular activities. He has many English-speaking friends; however, he continues to speak his primary language with his family and friends from his home country. Also, Henry is actively involved in community events that celebrate his heritage and home culture. Henry’s behavior is most indicative of which of the following?

  1. Assimilation
  2. Enculturation
  3. Deculturalization
  4. Acculturation

Correct answer: 4. Acculturation−the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture. This is what Henry is doing. He is not replacing his own culture but incorporating American culture while maintaining his primary heritage and culture.

Question 4

The greatest benefit to creating a multicultural and multilingual classroom environment is to:

  1. allow each student to understand the benefits of each culture.
  2. allow each student to learn about the differences of each culture.
  3. create a classroom environment that promotes respect for different cultures.
  4. create a classroom environment that adopts aspects from various cultures

Correct answer: 3. It is a high priority for students in the classroom to respect different cultures. Among the answer choices, this is the highest priority. While it is important to understand and learn about different cultures, it is not useful unless the students develop a respect for the cultures they learn about. It is not necessary for students to adopt aspects of different cultures.

Question 5

Mrs. Moore is a principal who is scheduled to meet with an English learner and his parents after school. She asked the Spanish teacher to sit in on the meeting to serve as a translator between the parents and herself. Which of the following is the greatest benefit to using the first language of the parents in the meeting?

  1. Increase family involvement in their child’s academic learning
  2. Demonstrate cultural sensitivity
  3. Establish safeguards to prevent a lawsuit or legal action
  4. Allow the Spanish teacher to build a relationship with the parents

Correct answer: 1. This is the greatest benefit as it should be the goal to increase family involvement in the child’s academic learning. By establishing a relationship with the parents and making them feel comfortable by using their primary language, the school increases the likelihood of parental involvement.

Question 6

Mr. Hernandez is planning an after-school activity for students and parents. He contacts the parents of his English learners to discuss the activity and asks for their input in the planning. Mr. Hernandez’s actions best reflect his awareness that:

  1. English learners are more likely to develop English proficiency if their families are involved in community activities.
  2. the teacher-parent conversation provides a proper grammar model for English learners to develop English proficiency.
  3. families of English learners are more likely to promote academic studies if they are familiar with the content being taught.
  4. families of English learners who have a positive opinion about school and their child’s learning are more likely to develop English proficiency.

Correct answer: 4. This is the best answer as families of English learners are more likely to be more involved and implement English in the home if they have positive attitudes towards the children’s school.

Question 7

An ELD teacher should always encourage the students to share information about school with their parents and use their native language at home. The greatest benefit to this activity is:

  1. it validates the parental role.
  2. it does not limit the communication between the parent and child regarding academic progress.
  3. it promotes the parents’ knowledge of the child’s school system.
  4. it allows the teacher to have more efficient interaction with the parent.

Correct answer: 2. Parents and students need to communicate about school and by requiring the students and parents to speak in English can limit that interaction. It is more important for students and parents to communicate about schoolwork and school activities than for students to use English in the home. Communication between students and parents is the highest priority among the answer choices.

Question 8

A parent of an English learner might not understand the purpose of an Open House at the beginning of the school year. What is the most appropriate way to explain the purpose of an Open House to the parent of an English learner?

  1. To see the campus and meet other parents
  2. To see the classrooms where their children have instruction
  3. To gather classroom information and the scope and sequence of the curriculum for the year
  4. To meet the teacher and understand the instructional plans for the year

Correct answer: 4. This is the best way to communicate the importance of an Open House.

Question 9

Marie, an English learner, avoids contact with other members of her cultural group and tries to emulate the behavior of U.S.-born classmates; Arnold, another English learner, takes great pride in his heritage and is condescending of other cultural heritages; Bobby, another English learner, has friends from a variety of cultural groups. Which of the following is true?

  1. How quickly individuals assimilate into a culture is directly related to how much contact they have with the culture
  2. Cultural identity levels can vary among individuals who live in a culture different from their primary culture
  3. Academic success is dependent upon positive attitudes towards the main culture of the school
  4. Some cultures retain a stronger cultural identity than others

Correct answer: 2. This is the best option as it is the most accurate of the given options.

Question 10

All of the following are strategies that teachers can use to acquire in-depth knowledge of English learners’ home cultures EXCEPT?

  1. Home visits
  2. Interviews
  3. Chunking of information
  4. Using observations

Correct answer: 3. Chunking of information is a strategy for facilitating English learners’ listening comprehension and speaking skills.

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