Coleman, R. and Goldenberg, C. (2012, February). The Common Core Challenge for English Language Learners. Principal Leadership, 46–51.
Coleman and Goldenberg explain that many students who are expected to meet the Common Core State Standards are English language learners (ELLs), yet the standards don’t sufficiently acknowledge the difficulties these students face. ELLs are challenged by the dual task of studying academic content and learning oral and written language skills. Drawing on educational research, the authors suggest guidelines for content learning and English language proficiency, such as sheltered and direct instruction, incorporation of academic language, and structured student talk. They conclude that schools and districts play a key role in ELLs’ achievement, and that school-wide goals and strong leadership are paramount.
Bunch, G. C., Kibler, A., and Pimentel, S. (2012). Realizing Opportunities for English Learners in the Common Core English Language Arts and Disciplinary Literacy Standards. Understanding Language: Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas. Stanford University School of Education.
This paper investigates what needs to be done by educators of ELLs to realize opportunities presented by the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the literacy standards in various subjects. The authors focus on four areas that the standards highlight as required for literacy and for career and college readiness: engaging with complex texts to expand knowledge across the curriculum; using evidence for analysis in writing and research; speaking and listening in order to work cooperatively and present ideas; and developing linguistic resources.
Goldenberg, C. (2008, Summer). Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does – and Does Not – Say. American Educator, 8–44. Washington, DC.
Goldenberg summarizes the significant findings of research on educating English language learners (ELLs). He condenses the findings into three key points: 1) teaching children to read in their first language promotes reading achievement in English; 2) what works for learners in general works for ELLs; and 3) teachers must adapt instruction to ELLs’ instructional needs. The author identifies gaps in research by highlighting three groups of questions that educators often ask regarding bilingual reading instruction, oral language development, and the best way to teach ELD. The article includes details on instructional modifications that can strengthen ELLs’ English proficiency and expand access to academic content.
Fisher, D. & Frey, N. (2008, November). Releasing Responsibility. Educational Leadership, 32–37. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Fisher and Frey assert that in order to set students on a path of true independent education, teachers must gradually release responsibility for learning to students. To make the transfer successful, instructors need to offer support at each stage of the process. The article shares instructional routines and strategies to help students take charge of their education, including setting learning objectives, teacher modeling, and collaborative work.
Merino, B. and Scarcella, R. (2005, Summer). Invited Essay: Teaching Science to English Learners. University of California Linguistic Minority Research Institute. Newsletter, Volume 14, Number 4, 1–7.
Merino and Scarcella argue that in order to teach science successfully, educators need to teach both the rigorous academic content and the required literacy skills. The authors describe the low achievement levels of English learners in the sciences. They discuss recent developments in science curricula and the challenges posed by these changes, and then consider the literacy requirements for students in science classes. Lastly, the authors examine current practices for teaching science – including Sheltered Instruction, the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach, the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Model, and the Focused Approach – and underscore the most effective approaches.
Dutro, S., Levy, E., and Moore, D. (2011). Equipping Adolescent English Learners for Academic Achievement. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Volume 19, Number 4. December 2011/January 2012 International Reading Association.
Dutro and Levy discuss a research-based approach for meeting the academic language needs of adolescent English learners. They recommend making visible the otherwise invisible language of academic content. They address the role oral language plays in developing academic skills and the importance of opportunities to orally process new learning and develop new ways to express understanding.
Dutro, S. and Helman, L. (2009, April). Explicit Language Instruction: A Key to Constructing Meaning. Chapter 3 in Helman, L. (Ed.), Literacy Development with English Learners: Research-Based Instruction in Grades K-6. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.
This chapter examines the complexity of language development for English learners (ELs) and outlines what is needed for elementary school ELs to achieve at high levels in literacy tasks. The authors provide language development theory to help teachers gain insight into their students’ instructional needs, suggestions for structuring the classroom, and powerful instructional routines for teaching and practicing essential language skills. They define and explore an approach to explicit language instruction that encompasses identifying the cognitive task and teaching the language tools (vocabulary and essential grammatical forms) needed to construct and express meaning.
Dutro, S. and Moran, C. (2003). Rethinking English Language Instruction: An Architectural Approach. Chapter 10 in Garcia, G. (Ed.) English Learners: Reaching the Highest Level of English Literacy. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
This chapter lays out an early foundation for rethinking English language instruction that Dutro and E.L. Achieve associates have evolved over the past decade. The authors introduce a metaphor of a blueprint to describe a well-designed approach to English language development (ELD) instruction throughout the day that includes: Systematic ELD, front-loading language for content instruction (now Constructing Meaning: Explicit language for content learning), and maximizing the “teachable moment” (now fully developed into a vision of instruction). The authors describe the instructional theories and design components that are needed for rigorous second language teaching. They outline how to conceptualize an ELD program, how to design instruction, and how to teach English for academic purposes.
William Saunders, Claude Goldenberg, and David Marcelletti (2013, Summer). English Language Development: Guidelines for Instruction.
Rhonda Coleman and Claude Goldenberg (2010, Winter). What Does Research Say about Effective Practices for English Learners?