Students who are learning content at the same time they are acquiring English Language Proficiency are called English Learners (ELs) or English Language Learners (ELLs). This fast-growing student population must keep up in content classes, even though they may not have yet become fully proficient in English. These students and their teachers have double the work.
Helping ELs to meet academic standards falls both on English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education teachers, as well as, increasingly, on content teachers who have not-yet-English proficient-ELs and former ELs in their classrooms.
By using learning activities that connect new content to students' prior knowledge, that require collaboration among students, and that support ELL learning of content at every stage of the lesson, teachers will help ELLs achieve the same grade-level content standards of their English-proficient peers.
TEACHING ENGLISH LEARNERS FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Finally, there is a new web portal that helps all teachers help the ELs in their classes master content and English language skills simultaneously. www.teachingenglishlearners.com provides literally thousands of appropriately designed, teacher-tested lesson plans, strategies, and activities for teachers to use with ELs, and with any other students who have language needs.
A membership in the Teaching English Learners (TEL) portal is the pathway for educators to find lessons and activities that incorporate key strategies for making content area lessons comprehensible, meaningful, and supportive of successful academic content and language development—the key to academic success for English Learners.
KEY BEST PRACTICES AND PRINCIPLES
English Learners need lessons that are scaffolded to support students' learning of both content and English. These scaffolds include supplementary activities and strategies developed to meet the learning and language needs of English learners, and that are effective within the regular academic classroom. The materials in Teaching English Learners:
- are meaningful and engaging for all learners
- provide support that links new concepts to students' background knowledge
- integrate teaching of academic content and concepts with interactive opportunities to practice academic language skills: vocabulary, reading, writing, listening, and speaking
- group students for maximum language interaction and collaboration
- use a variety of techniques to make concepts and language clear and comprehensible(e.g., modeling, visuals, hands-on activities, gestures, body language, graphic organizers, demonstrations, etc.)
- allow opportunities to use learning strategies while developing ELLs' higher-order thinking skills; and
- align with and support ELLs' achievement of academic content and standards.
All of the Teaching English Learners (TEL) activities and lessons reflect and incorporate these research-based ELL instructional "best practices" and support and apply sheltered instruction (SIOP/SDAIE) features and principles.
The goal? Academic success for English Language Learners.