Second Language Learners

As more and more English language learners (ELLs) are included in mainstream classrooms, what can we do to ensure that they understand academic content and develop their English language skills? Some strategies include homework and practice, summarization and note taking, and use of nonlinguistic representations, among many others. Because ELLs face cultural hurdles as well as linguistic ones, it is important for teachers to also glean insight into students’ backgrounds and address the cultural biases inherent in many classroom practices. Accommodating English language learners is one of the greatest challenges educators face today. Just as different levels of fluency require different approaches, so too do different backgrounds and languages. However, there is practical guidance for elementary school teachers that allow them to help ELLs of all nationalities thrive alongside their English-dominant peers.