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Instruction techniques for English Language Development evolving at Inderkum High School
Eric Ly, Inderkum’s only ELD Teacher for 154 students from Latino, Arab, Afgani, Pakistani, Punjabi, Ukrainian, and more backgrounds
Eric Ly, Inderkum’s only ELD Teacher for 154 students from Latino, Arab, Afgani, Pakistani, Punjabi, Ukrainian, and more backgrounds


Shortly after the bell rings announcing the next class period, myriad faces pile into Eric Ly’s room, plastered with maps of the United States and posters of English word examples. The discussions in this Inderkum High School classroom flow between Pashtun, Punjabi, Spanish, Arabic and many more.

Inderkum has an English learner population of 154 students. Potential plans to transform the environment for local English Language Development (ELD) could soften the process of adjustment for these students. 

Adam Mungia, the school counselor in charge of all English learners, said, “It’s mind boggling how so many students are able to overcome cultural and academic obstacles and some cannot.” 

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Mungia also noted ELD students at Inderkum receive “anywhere from one or two English classes depending on the support that they need.” 

A poster in Mr.Ly’s classroom, titled “Idea.”

According to the California Department of Education, ELD is “instruction provided during a time during the regular school day for focused instruction on the state-adopted ELD standards to assist English learners to develop critical English language skills necessary for academic content learning in English.”

Ly plans to bring higher-level English learners to support their newcomer peers. Using peers to guide their learning, he believes, will help keep the new students engaged in their learning outside the classroom.

“It’s more difficult if I don’t have a buddy for a student that speaks a language I don’t,” Ly said.

He added, “I like the fact that I have students who are willing to help their peers. The whole community aspect of the classroom has made huge differences. Foreign language speakers tutoring fellow newcomers should get the credit for their contributions to the classroom and helping new students with their learning.

“The idea would fall in line with the district’s goals for bi-literacy. If you’re fluent in your home language and you’re fluent in your current country’s language of English, then you should be awarded, you should be recognized.” 

The ELD classroom teems with the maps of different U.S regions and their respective population demographics. 

Jessica Chahal, a sophomore whose native tongue is Punjabi, said, “I do enjoy reading about all the cultural things of the U.S in this class, getting more familiar.” 

Chahal also said she participates in a currently informal program of mutual support, where students proficient in English help tutor others who speak the same first language.  

On getting students to fully engage with him and his class, Ly said, “There are challenges of connecting, and some embrace me, but with others it’s harder to get through to them.” 

A Colombian student, Andres Ramirez, said in Spanish, “Being here in the states is very difficult and lonely. You don’t often have friends, and it takes a lot of work to adjust. Having more young people to help would be very nice.” 

Ly agreed, saying, “I think learning from peers is a little bit more approachable than learning from an outsider, especially since asking an adult for help can be a little intimidating for some. With this potential route, it could provide resume building tools and some eligibility for jobs. I think it would be highly beneficial, if students are willing to put forth their efforts.” 

Ly said he has not “seen a program ever formally implemented” like his idea to credit students who are willing and able to tutor their same native-language peers. 

If implemented, he said, having a team of readily able student mentors could solve many of the struggles of being a newcomer and ease the isolation that can come with being an immigrant going through high school. 

“I see my role as letting these students achieve their American dream,” Ly said.


Student name plates on the wall of the ELD classroom, with artistic self-representations. Photo by Benjamin Lopez.

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Lopez
Benjamin Lopez, Reporter
I am a freshman at Inderkum High School. I am also a poet for Sacramento Area Youth Speaks representing Sacramento in an international poetry competition hosted by Brave New Voices. I am also a swimmer and love to write and make art for clubs in my school.
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