The English Language Learner (ELL) KnowledgeBase for Teachers is an online resource supporting educators responsible for implementing programs for ELL students. It offers resources related to teaching ELL students based on Office for Civil Rights and the No Child Left Behind Act requirements.
This KnowledgeBase is currently being updated to reflect recent changes under federal law. The current version is provided for your reference as much of the information may still be relevant.
Purpose: Districts are required to take affirmative steps to address the language development of English language learners (ELLs) where the inability to speak and understand the English language prevents the students from effective participation in the district's regular education program. Element 1 addresses the legal requirements related to ELL students. Besides school leaders and staff members, these requirements must be understood by the entire school community.
Guideline: Some approaches to alternative language programs include English as a second language (ESL), transitional bilingual education (TBE), bilingual/bicultural education, structured immersion, and developmental bilingual education. District and school leaders should compare different approaches and investigate one or more of them further.
Instructional Models for Teaching ELLs
To determine which ELL services and programs are best suited for a student identified as an English learner (EL), local education agencies (LEAs) must consider the student’s (1) English proficiency level, (2) Grade level, (3) Educational background, and (4) Language background for bilingual programs.
The article suggests three factors to consider when selecting an alternative language program model and reviews several alternative language program approaches.
A Global Perspective on Bilingualism and Bilingual Education
Authored by G. Richard Tucker, this online digest from the Center for Applied Linguistics, gives a global perspective on bilingual education. Though written in 1999 the article's themes remain relevant.
Instructional Methods and Program Models for Serving English Language Learners
'This booklet is one in a series of "hot topics" reports produced by Education Northwest, formerly the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This By Request has been compiled from existing research in the field of second language acquisition and education of English language learners, including works by acknowledged experts in ELL." This document focuses "on practical, research-based principles and instructional strategies that mainstream teachers can use to meet the needs of these diverse learners.'
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition & Language Instruction Educational Programs
This link is to the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) website. As noted at its website, NCELA "is authorized to collect, analyze, synthesize, and disseminate information about language instruction educational programs for limited English proficient children, and related programs. Priority is given to information on academic content and English proficiency assessments and accountability systems." The NCELA website also provides national and state data, research reports, and resources related to ELLs.
This Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) resource provides downloadable materials about two-way immersion programs in English and Spanish language versions.
Purpose: School districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but they should consider three general questions when making a decision.
The program chosen should be considered sound by experts in the field. If a district is using a different approach, it must show it is considered a legitimate experimental strategy.
Purpose: School districts have multiple obligations under Title III of the No Child Left Behind Act and Office of Civil Rights (OCR) requirements. Under Title III, schools receiving such funds are to ensure timely and effective notification to parents of ELL students and extend a means for them to be involved with their child's education. The OCR requirements specify districts do so in a way that ensures meaningful access to ELL students and their parents. Accordingly, schools must develop effective methods of involving parents of ELL students in their child's education. In fulfilling these responsibilities, districts should develop procedures for providing the parents of ELL students with the same information provided to the parents of their non-ELL peers in a language-appropriate manner.
Purpose: A district should have procedures in place for identifying English language learner (ELL) students and assessing their English proficiency. Such procedures should involve parents in making the final determination of whether their child is placed in the district's ELL program. Parents deciding not to have their child or children participate must sign a participation waiver.
Purpose: As noted at the National Clearinghouse for English Language Aquisition (NCELA), "School districts are to provide alternative language instruction programs to children with limited English proficiency to help them develop their English language skills and meet the same state academic content and student achievement standards all students are expected to meet.
In doing so, school districts have broad discretion in selecting appropriate language programs, but should consider the following when developing their program.
Purpose: A district should establish criteria to determine when English language learner (ELL) students qualify for exiting from the program. The exit criteria should be based on objective standards that ensure ELL students will be able to participate meaningfully and successfully in the district's regular education program.
Purpose: In fulfilling the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act and the Office for Civil Rights, staff development must occur to ensure ELL students progress academically and be afforded equal educational opportunity. This includes professional learning in the following areas: