ESL Language Development

Successful language development begins by the assessment of the strengths of each student and the continuous focus on and building upon those strengths. Each student is seen as a resource, and his or her strengths are used in a collaborative community. For successful language development to occur in the content area classes, teachers must have the philosophy that language development occurs during the learning of content and most often times, after. Teachers need to be aware that language development takes years and that they may not be able to see the full results of their efforts. They need to resist frustration by not focusing on the language deficiencies of their students. Instead, teachers should always stay focused on what they can do to support the students. It is important to be experimental, explicit, and transparent in using strategies and teaching skills.

Teachers need to clearly articulate to students the learning goals, language goals, and language supports used in the lesson. Students should always be aware and involved in this process; they must know what they are expected to do and how they will be expected to do it. The teacher shouldn’t forget that our EL students are able to think at high levels. Since they may not be able to independently express their ideas through writing or speaking correctly in English, teachers should strategically plan and provide language support, allowing students to express what they have learned or what they already know. It’s imperative that through this process the teacher maintains high expectations for reading, writing, and speaking by consistently assessing and adjusting language supports.

Guides and Resources

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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

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