George Lucas Educational Foundation

Merging content objectives for ELL students?

Merging content objectives for ELL students?

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I am currently enrolled in a graduate program, which will certify me as a literacy specialist. We have studied many trends and issues in literacy education. We have discussed the many issues regarding ELL learners and how the number of learners is increasing everyday. Today the figure is 1 in 9. In twenty years demographers estimate that it might be 1 in 4. The ELL population has grown 2 to 5 million since 1990. ELL learners come from 400 different language backgrounds. Many researchers have debated over which approach is the best method to teach ELL learners whether it be bilingual education or ESL approach. The increase in numbers of ELL students will affect how teachers will instruct such a variety of cultures. They will have to modify their instruction to the needs of this ever growing population of students. Some researchers have mentioned merging content and language objectives. What problems do you foresee if regular classroom teachers were to try to merge objectives and content? I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you.

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Ray Dorso's picture
Ray Dorso
Director of Special Services, New Milford School District

The only difficulty may be the teachers ability to truly differentiate instruction. Our district is using Achieve 3000 in some classes (including ESL) to help with this issue. This program enables students to read associated press articles at their own reading level; the teacher can assign one article to all students and the program diffentiates the article and assessments at each student's level. Without a similar program the benefits of exposure to content area goals may be minimized.

On a side note, Dr. Samual Ortiz has some interesting perspectives on ELL/ESL, here is a link to a powerpoint:

Ray Dorso's picture
Ray Dorso
Director of Special Services, New Milford School District

The summary brief below from the Alliance for Excellent education seems to speak to many of your points/questions.

The Role of Language and Literacy in College- and Career-Ready Standards:
Rethinking Policy and Practice in Support of English Language Learners

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