Helping Educators Work Effectively with English Language Learners

As the number of English learners increases in schools across the United States, educators are seeking effective ways to help them acquire the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.
The SIOP Model* is a research-based and validated model of sheltered instruction. Professional development in the SIOP Model helps teachers plan and deliver lessons that allow English learners to acquire academic knowledge as they develop English language proficiency.

Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol -- Best Practice for ELLs

Advanced Preparation is essential
Before a mainstream teacher stands in front of the classroom, advance preparation is essential in order to provide necessary adaptations in content area instruction and materials for second language learners. Teachers must consider what they should do to make the content information accessible to their ESL students. They need to determine the language level of instruction appropriate for the ESL students in their class. Teachers should:
o Evaluate their second language learners' listening comprehension skills. How much do they understand?
o Simplify the language of instruction, not the concept being taught.
o Work toward depth, not breadth of information, presenting materials in a clear, concise, comprehensible manner and eliminating all peripheral, nonessential information.
o Impart information through oral, visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities.
o Use graphic organizers, such as webs, Venn diagrams, and charts, to make information more accessible to second language learners. Content materials present text which is too dense for second language learners.
o Present content area vocabulary and concepts using realia, picture files, and hands-on activities.
o Examine their ESL students' backgrounds and learn how their past experiences will affect learning. The impact of students' backgrounds on learning will depend on the their previous schooling, home languages and cultures, and the concepts important to those cultures.
o Understand that ESL students may not have experience with all of the concepts being taught in American schools. For example, concepts such as freedom and democracy, perceptions of time, and right to privacy may be different or non-existent in many cultures.
o Build background knowledge before teaching a lesson.