I have long been an active member of a Twitter community that supports teachers of multilingual learners (MLLs). If you check the #MLLCHAT hashtag on Twitter (formerly #ELLCHAT), you will find many educators who write books, articles, and blogs on the topic of educating MLLs. This month, I share a sampling of blogs and articles that have been written by participants of the #MLLCHAT community. Next month, I will review some of the books our Twitter community has written over the last year.
1. Co-Teaching in Reading and Writing Classrooms
According to Valentina Gonzalez of Seidlitz Education, coteaching has the benefits of lowering student-teacher ratio and time for increased interaction with individual students. MLLs in the reading and writing classroom greatly benefit from the presence of an additional teacher. Valentina presents ideas on how to best utilize two teachers in a reading or writing classroom. She also rates different coteaching models on how they adapt to different literacy components. I suggest that readers pay close attention to the chart at the end of the blog.
2. The Substitute Teacher Shortage: Impacts on ELLs and ELL Educators
Colorín Colorado launched a survey in November of 2021. They asked Diane Staehr Fenner to review the data and write a summary. Diane discusses the impact of teacher and substitute teacher shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has greatly affected MLLs. These students are missing instruction because their teachers have been sent to substitute in general education classrooms. Many teachers of MLLs report that they have not been able to provide consistent services to their students. Diane’s review includes examples of what individual educators have done to alleviate the situation and ideas from school districts that have worked on this issue through systems-wide approaches.
3. What Are the Legal Requirements Related to ELL Education
Debbie Zacarian wrote this article for Colorín Colorado in 2021 and updated it this year. It has become even more relevant as we are experiencing shortages of classroom, subject-area, and substitute teachers as well as ESL educators during this past school year. Debbie answers question that reflect this current reality, including
- Do the regulations require language education programming for English learners?
- Is it okay to cancel or postpone our English language education programming when schools experience teacher shortages?
- What are some common civil rights issues in MLL education that districts should be aware of?
Teachers of MLLs should all be familiar with the issues discussed in this article.
4. Fast 5 Game Changers Empower DLLs With Conversations!
Karen Nemeth has a series of Fast 5 Game Changers on her website, Language Castle, on a variety of topics. In the article “Empowering Dual Language Learners,” she champions less teacher talk and more talk from young children. Karen includes explicit strategies for teachers and parents on young dual language learners who want to empower students to hold two-way conversations. I also recommend that you look over the other Fast 5 Game Changers on her website.
5. Three Research Findings Every Educator Should Know
Dr. Jane Echevarria writes a blog on her own website, janeechevarria.com. In this blog, she talks about the importance of knowing which teaching practices are research driven. The three findings mentioned include knowing the difference between conversational and academic language, understanding the assets MLLs bring to school, and how learning to read as an English speaker and as an MLL are similar in that MLLs need to learn the same foundational skills as their peers.
6. Eight Best Practices for Teaching in Dual Language and Other Bilingual Programs
Gail Cornwall’s article for the School Library Journal begins with a short history of bilingual education in the United States and then provides eight strategies for school librarians who are working with MLLs. These strategies include using welcoming signs and posters that reflect the culture of students from diverse backgrounds, rejecting myths about second language acquisition, scaffolding lessons and book selection, and making use of community resources. I think this is a great article to pass on to your school librarian.
7. Three Reads to Support Math Understanding
According a blog by Cindy Garcia, the difficulty that multilingual learners have with understanding problems in mathematics are related to reading. Three Reads is an effective strategy that supports students’ understanding because it provides a purpose for reading. During the first read, MLLs read the problem to understand the context. The second read is to help MLLs understand the question that is being asked in the math problem. The third read is to help students determine which information is relevant to solving the problem.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this sampling and found something useful. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, or pass along any other MLL reading you’ve found beneficial to your teaching.