Whether you have one long-term English learner (LTEL) in your class or hundreds throughout the day, you know planning effective instruction requires much more than an interesting curriculum and classroom management.
LTELs, or those who have been in a U.S. classroom for more than six years, can seem especially perplexing. They often appear fluent in social English but have not yet acquired the academic language skills necessary to flourish in content classes. They typically have poorer academic performance compared with their peers and have insufficient vocabulary and syntactic knowledge to independently complete grade-level literacy assignments.
Supporting LTELs in the Classroom
Since LTELs are at high risk for disengaging from school, it’s imperative to thoughtfully plan instruction. Thankfully, there are tangible ways to support them in the classroom that will also benefit all learners.
1. Talk to the Student
No two LTELs are alike. Get to know them and their perspective on education. What are their aspirations? What’s their view of their academic progress? How are they supported at home? Do they take advantage of all the available supports at school? If students aren’t addressed individually, they may not understand their class placement, their results on language assessments, or how their academic performance could impact their next steps.
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