Both the structure of the Learning Platform, and the huge library of multi- cultural content in Ripple Effects are designed to address special needs of English Language Learners (ELL) and their teachers.
Provides direct assistance for reading and writing
Ripple Effects provides peer narrated audio, matched to text in the program, engaging illustrations as visual clues, and word prompts in the journaling exercises, to assist English language learners with reading comprehension and help them make a successful transition to English.
It also allows learners to complete the journal writing exercises in any language recognized by the computer, so the depth of their thinking and analysis is not limited by their ability to do that thinking in English.
Separates decoding from higher order thinking
It is usually the case that until ELL students fully master decoding skills, they do not have opportunities to participate in higher order reasoning for reading comprehension, or higher order, analytical thinking. By delaying these higher order skills beyond the time they would be developmentally appropriate in their native language, even when these ELL students complete high school, they are at a disadvantage for succeeding in college. By contrast, with Ripple Effects these students can temporarily suspend their decoding skills and engage in higher order thinking even before they are fully proficient readers, about a content area in which they are indisputably experts, their own lives.
Address lowered reasoning demands
Ripple Effects also addresses the phenomenon of lowered reasoning demands on ELL students because of the imposition of stereotypes about limited academic ability by some teachers, and internalization of those limiting stereotypes by some students. Teacher training directly addresses stereotypes based on ethnicity and English language status. A student tutorial provides training in how to confront discriminatory expectations by teachers. Another tutorial (“ELL”), includes a true story by an Hispanic student who refuses to believe the counselor, when she tells him he will not have sufficient command of English to go to college. The student sets a personal goal and ends up getting a full scholarship to Cal Berkeley.
Addresses motivation and emotional issues related to ELL
Additional tutorials specifically address motivation, goals, family background, culture.