The Power of Story for ELLs and Newcomers: Identity and Empathy

Fab 5 ELL Squad
It’s the personal stories that are often lost in the conversations we have about immigrants and refugees. One personal story may seem insignificant; however, when the stories of nearly five million English Language Learners are absent from the education narrative in the United States, so is the context through which we can learn to know our students, to build empathy, and to truly understand what our students — especially newcomer students — need to be successful.

A Story Can Shift Practice

Emily Francis’ immigrant story is compelling standing on its own; however, it becomes even more powerful if we ask what this story — and the many others like it — can teach us about how we can best reach newcomer students and any student who doesn’t quite fit in.

Teacher working with two young girls at a table in a classroom.As you read about Emily’s experience, think about the similar struggles and barriers your students face in the classroom each day. Allow Emily’s story to illuminate some of the ways that educators can identify their students’ needs and support newcomers with a few simple pedagogical shifts.

More importantly, keep in mind how a growth mindset and asset-based way of thinking is required to see the gifts that every student brings, particularly those from other cultures, languages, and countries.

When we remember the power of stories from others unlike ourselves, we can put ourselves in their shoes, developing empathy for different perspectives and different paths in life. We can learn about the funds of knowledge our students and their families posess, or the rich backgrounds, skills, and assets diverse populations bring to school. We can move beyond the challenging socio-political rhetoric and focus on the realities in our classrooms — the realities of the world our immigrant students bring to us every day.

Orange Dot Border

Read more

3 Tips for Supporting ELLs Through Co-Teaching & Collaboration

Power of Collab ELL Blog Header

We know the saying “two heads are better than one.” And we know that our English Language Learner (ELL) students benefit from both content and language instruction. Now, how can we put our heads together to form and sustain effective collaborative teaming for ELLs?

Below we share three tips that can support teams, whether you’re new to working alongside another educator, or if you’ve been doing it for years. Remember, no matter how long we’ve been teaching, we’re never finished learning!

Read more

New Course on Academic Language for ELLs

Do you have English language learners (ELLs) who need to develop and accelerate academic language? Do you want to understand why it’s important for all teachers to know about academic language across the curriculum? And do you want to know how you can support ELL students’ language development in your classroom as you teach your content?

Then consider joining “Academic Language for ELLs” on Teaching Channel’s Teams platform, which runs from October 6 to October 27, to learn more about supporting your ELLs’ language in your classroom. As an experienced ELL teacher, coach, and WIDA Certified Trainer, I will guide a private group through understanding academic language features, then implementing linguistic supports for ELL students. Each teacher in the group will focus on a personalized “action cycle” in order to bring this learning to life in real time for a student or group of students. Participants can be K-12 core content, Special Education, ELL, specialist teacher, or coach.

Read more