The student news publication of Libertyville High School
Alison+Reifenberg

Dylan Trott

Alison Reifenberg

Mrs. Alison Reifenberg teaches all of the students in the ELL program. She attended Loyola University originally to get her degree in secondary education as well as English. That is, until her mom suggested she look into getting a certificate to teach English as a second language.

“I went for it, and I really enjoyed the classes. I enjoyed the clinical work we had to do,” Mrs. Reifenberg stated.

Her first job after college cemented her love for teaching the subject: “My first job was in Taiwan at a boarding school for a year. Every student there had English as a second, third or fourth language. So every student there was from Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea or Cambodia. I just absolutely loved working with that group of students. It was a different challenge than what I had expected as a teacher. The classroom environment is so different than the classroom environment that we grew up with, and I just really find it interesting.”

Mrs. Reifenberg aids the process of acculturation rather than assimilation. She explains that “assimilation means that a student has completely lost all of their previous culture and now they are in our culture completely. Acculturation means that they have both cultures inside of them and are experiencing both of them. Acculturation is my goal. We want [the students] to experience and appreciate both cultures.”

To help her students acculturate, Mrs. Reifenberg utilizes many techniques and methods, such as sheltered language instruction.

“For other teachers in the building, I’ve been trying to work with this thing called sheltered language instruction that would be previewing your lesson plans and your quizzes and tests to see any vocabulary [ELL students] might not be familiar with,” explained Mrs. Reifenberg.

When looking to the future of the ELL program at LHS, Mrs. Reifenberg dreams “that the class size would be smaller so we could do more direct English instruction in the support class, which would be amazing.”

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