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Educator Gives Advice for Teaching English Language Learners

Educator Gives Advice for Teaching English Language Learners

Educator Lindsey Meyer urges fellow educators to focus on helping English Language Learners (ELL) succeed in the classroom and offers several ideas on how to do so.

In Meyer's school, there are 64 ELLs from twenty different countries that speak over a dozen different languages combined. As a result, Meyer says she has taught a variety of students with different cultural backgrounds and past educational experiences that she has embraced in her teaching.

According to Meyer, ELLs too frequently do get left behind.

"As a group, ELLs are among the country's lowest-performing students, scoring far below the national average on the reading portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. ELLs have failed because we have failed to serve them. We often place these students in mainstream environments long before they are ready, with teachers who do not have the training or the preparation to meet their needs," she said in post on HuffingtonPost.com.

Meyer's experience leads her to believe that all teachers should think of themselves as language teachers when teaching a class with one or more ELLs so these learners do not get left behind.

In order to do this, Meyer thinks that teachers should have on-going support and training available so that they can best serve and educate ELLs. "Teachers need to collaborate with ESL specialists to identify and refine instructional practices, and integrate language goals into content," she said. This way, when teachers have an ELL in their classrooms, they are prepared to ensure the student can best understand and learn the content.

Meyer also urges educators to not "dumb down" rigorous and challenging Common Core standards for ELL but rather "be mindful to use specific strategies and supports to help make that rigorous content comprehensible to students who are just learning the language."

Meyer tells educators to think of ELL's mastery of the language as their tools to academic and therefore future success.

"i think about the words they [ELL students] have mastered in English and those they have not yet acquired. And I think about how these words will either grant or deny them access to the academic world we expect them to navigate as learners."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/18/2015

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