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Resources for Educators
of English Language Learners

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Resources for Grades 9-12
Curricula and Standards
Classroom Resources
and Instructional Strategies
Culture and Orientation
Professional Development
Sample Search
of the ERIC Database
Resources for Grades K–12
Curricula and Standards
Classroom Resources
and Instructional Strategies
Culture and Orientation
Professional Development
Sample Search
of the ERIC Database

Immigrant students make up a growing segment of students enrolled at the secondary school level in the United States. The difficult transitions of adolescence combined with the challenge of mastering academic content in a language they are still learning can be overwhelming for these students. Students’ inability to communicate confidently can result in confusion, frustration, anger, and alienation. In addition, immigrant students must balance their native culture with that of the dominant culture. It is important for educators to help immigrant secondary school students through these critical transitions.

Educators can help in three important ways:

Provide Access to Information. Learning the rules and practices of a new school system is challenging for immigrant students and their parents, and they need information to become successfully integrated into the U.S. school system.

Support English Language and Academic Development. At the secondary level, immigrant students must learn English, master academic content, and earn high school and college credits in order to pursue challenging careers and higher education. Teachers and administrators need to help students attain these goals.

Promote Access to Postsecondary Education. Immigrant students face many obstacles in making the transition to higher education and need guidance to negotiate the system successfully.

To help immigrant students through secondary school, our schools need to commit to functioning as communities; building bridges to students’ families and to other organizations outside the school; providing students with information about the broader U.S. culture as well as the culture of the school; and developing curricula and instruction that incorporate students’ experiences, knowledge, and skills. The development of English language abilities, academic skills, and content knowledge, accompanied by support for native language development, can provide the foundation for the future success of immigrant students in secondary schools and beyond.

This guide provides resources for teachers and administrators of English language learners at the secondary school level. Part One is comprised of resources specifically intended for Grades 9-12. Part Two includes other resources for adult and K–12 learners that may be of interest to secondary school teachers and administrators. Included are print and online resources on ESL curricula and standards, classroom resources and instructional strategies, cultural orientation, and professional development.

This introduction was adapted from Lucas, T. (1996). Promoting Secondary School Transitions for Immigrant Adolescents. (ERIC Digest). Washington, DC: ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics.

Obtaining ERIC Documents

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, online, 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.

ERIC Journal Articles

The full text of journal articles may be available from one or more of the following sources:

  • the originating journal

  • interlibrary loan services at your local college or public library

  • the article reproduction service Ingenta: 800-296-2221;;

To obtain journals that do not permit reprints and are not available from your library, write directly to the publisher. Addresses of publishers are listed in the front of each issue of Current Index to Journals in Education and can now be accessed online through the CIJE Source Journal Index.

Changes Coming to ERIC

This year the U.S. Department of Education has decided to discontinue the ERIC system as we know it, with its 16 subject-specific clearinghouses and question-answering services, and to contract with a single company that will host the ERIC database. As a result, the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics (ERIC/CLL) and the other ERIC clearinghouses will cease to exist after December 31, 2003. For information about ERIC after that date, visit

Use one URL to:

  1. search the ERIC database

  2. search the ERIC Calendar of Education-Related Conferences

  3. link to the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS) to purchase ERIC full-text documents

  4. link to the ERIC Processing and Reference Facility to purchase ERIC tapes and tools

Despite the closing of the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics, the Center for Applied Linguistics will continue to make available many of the books and free publications developed by ERIC/CLL. Visit CAL’s Web site for more information.

December 2003

Prepared for the Council of Chief State School Officers by the ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics at the Center for Applied Linguistics

Compiled, written, and edited by:

Sophia Birdas
Beverly Boyson
Sally Morrison
Joy Kreeft Peyton
Tracy Runfola

Reviewed by:

Keith Buchanan
Barbara Carolino
Julia Lara
Deborah Short
Shelley Spaulding

This document is also available as a downloadable pdf document.

Copyright 2003
Council of Chief State School Officers
One Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001-1431