by Bethany Johnsen
According to a recently released report from the U.S. Department of Education, only nine states met all of their federal goals in 2008–2010 for English language learners (ELLs), in terms of meeting academic targets in language proficiency, math, and reading. With the percentage of public school students that falls in this population at a substantial 10%, the fact they are not receiving the services they need is especially troubling.
Although current practices for serving ELLs vary and are left up to individual states and districts, many states are working to develop a uniform way of identifying ELLs. But in the meantime, what tools can educators—so often working with insufficient financial resources—use now to improve outcomes for this population? Many exciting, free tools are available, including:
- Common Core State Standards-aligned mathematics teaching materials developed especially for ELLs, and designed to support both their math learning and language development;
- a language arts unit on persuasion for middle school students who are learning English; and
- a massive online open course (MOOC), Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for the Common Core State Standards, offered until December 9, that focuses on how educators can promote academic discourse among students who are not proficient in English.
For more guidance on how to cultivate the gifts and talents of ELLs, see our recently released Talent Development for English Language Learners.