Q6: How much and what kind of professional development is necessary to teach #ELL?

Q6: How much and what kind of professional development is necessary to teach #ELL?

Tchrs must learn to make tchng comprehensible to diff proficiency levels: use visuals, repetition, models.

We need to help our ELLs to keep up with content learning even as they are acquiring English.  That means we have to go beyond traditional approaches to presenting content: oral explanations and written directions.  Instead, we have to tear down those language barriers by using a variety of techniques that make our meaning plain to students who do not necessarily share our language.  Teachers need to accompany linguistic information with pictures, graphic organizers, and demonstrations.  They need to encourage their students to clarify their understanding by discussing content with peers, in English or another language.  They need to keep posters around the room that students can use as “anchors,” visual reminders of how to do important processes and engaged with key concepts in your class.

But teachers can’t be expected to figure all this out on their own.  For mainstream teachers of ELLs, professional development should be focused on teaching them how to ensure their ELLs don’t fall behind.  I like SIOP and Universal Design for Learning as approaches to planning for full access.  What tools do you turn to?


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Ingrid O'Brien

I am a literacy consultant, doctoral candidate, and educator living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in the language and literacy development of bilingual children, particularly ELLs in the Common Core. I coach teachers, design & adapt curricula for ELLs, and organize intervention programs.

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