English language learners
- English language learners
English language learners make up a rapidly growing population of students in the United States. As such, teachers must be prepared to work with them by understanding their needs. This does not imply that teachers must learn additional languages. Instead, they should acquire an understanding of language development in general and specific challenges related to learning English.
If teachers have not worked directly with speakers of other languages, teaching English may seem like uncharted territory. However, most everyone learns at least one language at a young age, so we all have experience in this area. In fact, exposure to students across several ages shows the progression of language abilities, so classroom experience may provide more background knowledge than teachers expect. Teachers should also be aware that English language learners already have knowledge about language in at least one other language. Whether learning a first language or a sixth language, there are similarities in the processs each time.
Additionally, just as native English speaking students come to school with unique experiences, so do English language learners. Many best practices that are useful for English speaking students are also useful for English language learners. Teachers need to consider the strengths of each individual student and provide support where students need help.
Here are some current resources that may help you learn more about this topic and assisting language learners:
All 4 Ed
Addresses language learners at the high school level
Center for Applied Lingusitics
Discusses many factors that influence a student learning a new language
Bilingual site that addresses questions and concerns on all topics related to language learning
Stages of acquisition
Information on assessment, curriculum, and professional development
Reading difficulties for English language learners
U.S. Department of Education
Discusses many strategies, facts, research, and opinions on best practice
Provides assessment information and curriculum materials in the Standards section