Teachers in the United States face significant challenges as they strive to develop students’ English language proficiency while providing meaningful access to academic content instruction. English learners need instruction that is:
- Explicit and relevant to academic and social life
- Organized around a continuum of linguistic knowledge
- Backward mapped from cognitive tasks called out in Common Core and state content standards
- Focused on providing ample opportunities for oral and written language practice
Research reveals that students not fully proficient in English by the end of their elementary careers are likely to end up long-term English learners in middle and high school. Despite this significant gap between the English language knowledge many English learners possess and what they need to succeed academically, many schools lack a comprehensive framework for providing explicit instruction in advanced uses of English to help students express complex thinking.
Many teachers have not had access to training and learning opportunities that equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide explicit language instruction to move students from simple to complex English with the goal of fully proficient, grade-level use. No matter how effective an individual teacher, without the support of an effective system, strong student achievement is limited to pockets of excellence. Teachers deserve a system of support that includes a clear vision of instruction, adequate resources, time for collaboration, and a vibrant community of learners.
E.L. Achieve’s professional development model is not a one-time event; we are committed to a district capacity-building model. It includes comprehensive training and ongoing support for long-term implementation. Institute participants are given many layers of support for taking the initial training into the classroom. They use handbooks full of practical tools, watch videos of instruction, and study sample lessons. They are also provided guides for self-reflection, rubrics for developing key teaching skills, and protocols for facilitating collaborative discussions to examine instructional practice and gain support from colleagues.
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