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The placement of English language learners in mainstream classes has become more and more common in recent years. Many of these students have not developed the necessary English language proficiency to keep up with their classmates. "Even though language minority students may take up to seven years to develop the level of language proficiency necessary to compete on an equal footing with native speakers of the school language, they are likely to be in mainstream classes long before then" (Harklau, 1994). What can mainstream teachers do to help English language learners in their classes excel?
This Resource Guide Online provides links to articles, digests, books, Web sites, and ERIC documents that offer information on the teaching of English language learners in mainstream classes.
Harklau, L. (1994). ESL versus mainstream classes: Contrasting L2 learning environments. TESOL Quarterly, 28, (2), 241-272.
ERIC/CLL is grateful to Bronwyn Coltrane of the Center for Applied Linguistics and Rebekkah Kline of Fairfax County Public Schools for their valuable assistance in compiling this Resource Guide Online.
Adger, C. T., Snow, C. E., & Christian, D. (Eds.). (2002). What teachers need to know about language. McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Cary, S. (2000). Working with second language learners: Answers to teachers’ top ten questions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Claire, E., & Haynes, J. (1994). The classroom teacher's ESL survival kit #1. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education ESL.
Claire, E., & Haynes, J. (1995). The classroom teacher's ESL survival kit #2. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education ESL.
Franklin, E. (Ed.). (1999). Reading and writing in more than one language: Lessons for teachers. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Freeman, D. E., & Freeman, Y. S. (2000). Teaching reading in multilingual classrooms. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Helmer, S., & Eddy, C. (2001). Look at me when I talk to you: ESL learners in non-ESL classrooms. Toronto, Canada: Pippin.
Irujo, S. (Ed.). (2000). Integrating the ESL standards into classroom practice. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
Jameson, J. (2002). Professional
development for bilingual and ESL paraprofessionals: The aspire curriculum.
McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics..
Grognet, A., Jameson, J., Franco, L., & Derrick-Mescua, M. (2000). Enhancing English language learning in elementary classrooms. McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Jameson, J. (1998). Enriching content classes for secondary ESOL students. McHenry, IL, and Washington, DC: Delta Systems and Center for Applied Linguistics.
Peregoy, S., & Boyle. O. (2001). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Reed, B., & Railsback, J. (2003). Strategies and resources for mainstream teachers of English language learners. Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.
Spangenberg-Urbschat, K., & Pritchard, R. (Eds.). (1994). Kids come in all languages. Alexandria, VA: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) offers the Web document Conversations with Mainstream Teachers: What Can We Tell Them About Second Language Learning and Teaching? This list of frequently asked questions concludes with an annotated bibliography.
The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) offers the publications Successful Transition to Mainstream English: Effective Strategies for Studying Literature, Teaching Language Minority Students in Elementary Schools, and Teaching Secondary Language Minority Students.
Eastern Stream Center on Resources and Training offers a series of starter kits for teachers, Help! They Don’t Speak English! Starter Kit for Primary Teachers, Help! They Don’t Speak English! Starter Kit for Teachers of Young Adults, and The Help! Kit: A Resource Guide for Secondary Teachers of Migrant English Language Learners.
The ESL/Bilingual Resource Guide for Mainstream Teachers from Portland public schools covers the basic concepts of language acquisition theory, essential tips for mainstream teachers of ESL students, teaching reading tips, and a list of terms related to ESL and bilingual programs.
ESL Infusion: Principles for Teaching English Learners in the Mainstream Classroom describes key concepts for effective instruction for English language learners, such as comprehensible input, meaningful access to the curriculum, and conversational versus academic language.
ESL in the Mainstream: How Technology Can Help is intended to give teachers resources and hands-on practice in using technology to assist in their instruction.
ESL Students in Mainstream Classes covers some of the similarities and differences between ESL students and native English speakers.
ESL Versus Mainstream Classes: Contrasting L2 Learning Environments, from TESOL Quarterly, documents differences in the goals and organization of instruction of mainstream and ESL classrooms.
For Mainstream Teachers of ESL Students, from Frankfurt International School, provides information to answer mainstream teachers’ most basic questions about teaching ESL.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs (NCELA) has a section in its online library devoted to Strategies for Mainstream Teachers. NCELA also provides the publication Helping Language Minority Students After They Exit from Bilingual/ESL Program: A Handbook for Teachers. NCELA's In the Classroom: A Toolkit for Effective Instruction of ELLs is a user-friendly guide designed for teachers who know very little about ESL and includes links to descriptions of each method, sample handouts, and activities.
TESL Manitoba provides links to a number of online resources for content-based ESL teachers and for teaching ESL students in mainstream classes.
The English Language Learner/Diversity Listserv provides an open forum for sharing information related to teaching English as a second language, multicultural issues, culture, and diversity.
TESLK–12 is an electronic discussion group for K–12 ESL teachers. Join by sending a message to email@example.com. In the body of the message type the following: subscribe TESLK–12 yourfirstname yourlastname
Information on obtaining the documents listed below can be found at the end of this section. These documents were identified by searching the ERIC database using the following combination of ERIC descriptors and keywords:
English (Second Language)
Language, Literacy, Content, and (Pop) Culture: Challenges for ESL Students in Mainstream Courses.
Duff, Patricia A.
Canadian Modern Language Review, v58 n1 p103-32 Sep 2001
Examines issues confronting English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students in mainstream content areas at the secondary school level. Research on the integration of language, content, literacy, and culture in courses is reconducted at a Canadian school with a concentration of Asian background students. Focuses on discourse contexts for mainstreamed ESL students in two Grade 10 social studies classes. (Author/VWL)
Working with Younger-Arriving ESL Learners in High School English: Never Too Late To Reclaim Potential.
Roessingh, Hetty; Kover, Pat
TESL Canada Journal, v19 n2 p1-20 Spr 2002
Discusses the fallacies that pervade the English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) profession: that students arriving in primary school do not require ESL support in order to mainstream successfully. Describes a program designed to help younger-arriving ESL learners once they reach high school, with powerful implications for practice in all K–12 settings. (Author/VWL)
Classroom Conversations: Opportunities To Learn for ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms.
Williams, Joan A.
Reading Teacher, v54 n8 p750-57 May 2001
Notes that educators should closely examine the theoretical backgrounds of their beliefs to determine how mainstream values affect educational opportunities for the linguistically and culturally diverse students. Suggests that educators must carefully combine theory and practice within broader social, cultural, and historical contexts to produce reasoned decisions as they guide the academic progress of English language learners in mainstream classrooms. (SG)
Predictors of Mainstream Teachers' Attitudes Toward ESL Students.
Youngs, Cheryl Stanosheck; Youngs, George A., Jr.
TESOL Quarterly, v35 n1 p97-120 Spr 2001
Examines attitudes of mainstream teachers to English-as-a-Second-Language learners in the central part of the United States. Based on results of a survey of 143 junior high/middle school mainstream teachers, multiple predictors were identified that were interpreted as indicators of exposure to cultural diversity. Argues for inclusion of explicit experiences that heighten experience with diversity in teacher education programs. (Author/VWL)
Assessment and Skill Development for ESL Students in Mainstream Communication Classes Requiring Oral Presentations.
Hendrix, Katherine G.
JACA: Journal of the Association for Communication Administration, v 29 n2 p196-212 May 2000
Notes that regular sections of public speaking courses may have ESL students enrolled. Outlines recommended assessment and instructional strategies including four assessment steps and three groups of instructional strategies. Discusses perceptions of the two ESL student participants regarding the effectiveness of these strategies. Discusses four issues associated with assisting ESL students in the "mixed" classroom. (SR)
Needed: A Compass To Navigate the Multilingual English Classroom.
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, v44 n5 p440-49 Feb 2001
Presents a way to help English as a Second Language (ESL) students make the transition to mainstream English classes that mitigates many of the problems these students encounter. Suggests that high school English teachers need professional development to relate their instructional and assessment practices to what is known about second-language acquisition. Notes the importance of collaboration. (SG)
Facilitating Secondary English Language Learners' Transition into the Mainstream.
Lucas, Tamara; Wagner, Suzanne
TESOL Journal, v8 n4 p6-13 Win 1999
Two teacher-researchers present a framework of criteria and strategies to help English-as-Second-Language/bilingual practitioners, counselors, and administrators develop a process for determining how and when to move ESL students into mainstream classes smoothly and successfully. (Author/VWL)
Using What We Know about Language and Literacy Development for ESL Students in the Mainstream Classroom.
Watts-Taffe, Susan; Truscott, Diane M.
Language Arts, v77 n3 p258-65 Jan 2000
Reviews recent research about literacy development, the development of English-language proficiency, and the social, academic, and emotional challenges of entering a new culture. Recommends and describes instructional practices for teaching second-language learners in integrated settings. Focuses on writing, discussion, and scaffolding in the areas of background knowledge, vocabulary, and communication, stressing their importance to the literacy development of second-language students. (SR)
English Second Language Students in a Grade 11 Biology Class: Relationships between Language and Learning.
Publication Date: April 08, 2001
Notes: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
For English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) students learning academic content is complex. The purpose of this study is to explore and gain an understanding of ESL students' participation and learning in grade 11 biology classes in a secondary school in Vancouver, British Columbia. The paper reports on one aspect of the study--the mediational role of language in learning biology terms and concepts. The main question guiding this aspect of the study was: what are the relationships between language and the ESL students' learning of biology terms and concepts? This question was explored by focusing on the following: teaching, how the teacher explains terms and concepts; and learning, how students' interpret terms and concepts in the teacher's oral explanations and written questions. The significance of this study lies in the provision of insights into particular language and content-related issues associated with both the learning and teaching of science in a mainstream secondary science classroom. Results suggest the following: (1) talking about language is integral to biology teaching and learning; (2) teaching involves more than showing and describing concepts in isolation; (3) English words in science worksheets often elicit functional explanations that support the construction of discourses of reasoning; and (4) new labels in second language may refer to a different set of features associated with the concept. (Contains 34 references, 4 figures, and 1 table.) (KFT)
The full text of most materials in the ERIC database with an "ED" followed by six digits is available through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) in microfiche, by email, or in paper copy. Approximately 80% of ERIC documents from 1993 to the present are available for online ordering and electronic delivery through the EDRS Web site. You can read ERIC documents on microfiche for free at many libraries with monthly subscriptions or specialized collections. To find an ERIC center near you, contact our User Services staff.
The full text of journal articles may be available from one or more of the following sources:
To obtain journals that do not permit reprints and are not available from your library, write directly to the publisher. Addresses of publishers can now be accessed online through the CIJE Source Journal Index.
If you would like additional information about this or any topic related to language education or linguistics, contact our User Services Staff.
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