Writing Language Objectives: 4 Categories to Consider

Language objectives are an important part of every lesson, for English learners and in many cases English-speaking students also. Academic language is sometimes considered a second language for all students. The academic language required to be successful in school is language that few students are exposed to outside of the classroom, e.g., compare and contrast… Continue reading Writing Language Objectives: 4 Categories to Consider


3 Ways to Increase Instructional Time for English Learners

English learners have double the academic load: they are learning new, rigorous academic content like other students, but they are doing it in a language in which they are not yet proficient. In addition to the complexities of learning through a second language, some English learners are making up for lost time due to interrupted or limited formal… Continue reading 3 Ways to Increase Instructional Time for English Learners


Administrators as Instructional Leaders

  At a recent university event I ran into Bob Ellis, a former principal at the high school where I was a teacher. We had a great time reminiscing about the good ol’ days, and also discussing the important role of administrators. We talked about effective leadership and chuckled about principals we knew who tried a heavy-handed, top-down approach… Continue reading Administrators as Instructional Leaders


Promoting Oral Language Development for English Learners

  English learners, by definition, are still in the process of acquiring English, especially the academic language used in school. Beginning speakers need practice in developing social language so that they can be understood by others and understand what others are saying. However, many English learners are conversant in English but struggle with academic language.… Continue reading Promoting Oral Language Development for English Learners


3 Ways ESL/ELD Teachers Can Improve Literacy for English Learners

An administrator recently asked me about how to maximize the effectiveness of ESL teaching (also called English language development, or ELD) because he is committed to advancing English learners’ language proficiency and literacy. Before I get to what I recommended, let me set the context. First, ESL/ELD teaching is an important part of an English learner’s… Continue reading 3 Ways ESL/ELD Teachers Can Improve Literacy for English Learners


Student Interaction Gone Awry

Collaborative discussions have become a part of classroom practice due in large part to CCSS listening and speaking standards as well as skills called for in other state standards. For English learners, it can be quite challenging to think critically about a topic and use academic language to express ideas, summarize another’s points, and pose… Continue reading Student Interaction Gone Awry


Research Evidence for SIOP

With the large and growing numbers of English learners (ELs) in the U.S., my colleagues Deborah Short, MaryEllen Vogt and I set out to develop and test an approach for making grade-level instruction understandable for ELs while at the same time, developing their English proficiency. That was 20 years ago….. Since that time, there have been lots of books… Continue reading Research Evidence for SIOP


Create a Positive Back-to-School Experience for English Learners

Back-to-school is an exciting time for teachers and students alike. I always look forward to the beginning of a new school year, although in the past my own children didn’t always appreciate my enthusiasm! Nonetheless, it is a time of preparation, new beginnings, and anticipation. There is also a certain amount of nervousness involved, especially… Continue reading Create a Positive Back-to-School Experience for English Learners


English Learner Alphabet Soup

Have you ever been at a social event where people are talking about something with which you’re not familiar, like fintech, but you’re a little embarrassed to admit you don’t know what it is? Or worse, when you’re at work and colleagues are using an acronym or educational term that everyone seems to know…except you.… Continue reading English Learner Alphabet Soup


The Advantages of Being Bilingual

I’ve been around long enough to remember the prominent and divisive debates about bilingual education and whether or not English should be the only language of instruction in U.S. schools. Some of the arguments — both for and against — were as steeped in ideology as they were in fact, but that is often the case with issues… Continue reading The Advantages of Being Bilingual