I’ve had the good fortune of being an ESL (and sometimes bilingual) teacher across K-12 since I began teaching in 1996. This has led to many rewarding moments with language learners from all over the world. A little over a year ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and get my masters degree in ELL. While I initially thought it might not be a challenging enough program since I’ve spent the last 15 years in the field, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. The field of English language learning has grown incredibly since 1996! While I was on the front lines implementing what I thought was “good ESL practice,” there was a plethora of second language learning research flooding the field that I knew very little about. I can say that I’ve learned more in the last year and a half about teaching ELL students than I ever knew in my previous 15 years of teaching them! What I’ve also learned is that while there is much research now, there are still many unanswered questions. I’m hoping to search for some answers to those questions and perhaps make my own contributions to the field in the process.
In future posts I hope to explore such things as what a good secondary ESL program for newcomers looks like; the difference between first and second generation ELL students and how to meet their unique needs; how we can use the RtI process to improve instruction and progress monitoring of ELL students; what tools and research are available to us for better identification of special needs ELL students; how to improve staff understanding of ELL students’ needs as well as create buy-in that ELL students are everyone’s responsibility, not just the ESL teacher’s. These are only a few of the many ideas and questions I hope to explore.
During my time as a TESOL blogger, I welcome any comments, questions, or suggestions. I don’t consider myself an expert in this field and look to the wealth of knowledge and experience our membership has to offer. Thanks for reading!