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Teachers Are Powerful

Teachers’ expectations for students – indeed, even their attitudes toward them – has a direct influence on students’ performance and impacts their perceptions of themselves as learners. Research over the past several decades shows that teachers treat the students who they consider achievers (thus, have high expectations for them) differently than those for whom they… Continue reading Teachers Are Powerful

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Make Back-to-School A Positive Experience for English Learners

Many of you have headed back to school and others will be soon. Back-to-school is typically an exciting time of preparation, new beginnings, and anticipation. There is also a certain amount of nervousness involved, especially for English learners (ELs) who may be anxious about doing well in school. There are some great blog sites for teachers and… Continue reading Make Back-to-School A Positive Experience for English Learners

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RTI and English Learners: 4 Considerations

How can I tell if an English learner has some type of disability or is struggling because of the language difference? Oh, the number of times I’ve been asked that question or similar ones! Often educators are looking for an assessment to use with English learners that will definitively answer the learning disability question when… Continue reading RTI and English Learners: 4 Considerations

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The Value of Language Objectives

A colleague, Karen, told me about the struggles her stepson is having in school. He is an English learner who immigrated to the U.S. in fifth grade and although he is very bright, she said, “He has been lost for 2 years in middle school.” She attributes his struggles in large part to a lack… Continue reading The Value of Language Objectives

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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

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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

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

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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

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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

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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