ESL: Teachers’ Feelings about CCSS and ELs


Reblogged from obaverse

A recent study from the Education Week Research Center suggests that only half of all teachers feel prepared to teach Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Even more concerning—less than 25% of teachers feel prepared to teach using the CCSS for English learners (ELs)!

In a similar study of educators in California, Gándara, Maxwell-Jolly and Driscoll (2005) found that some of the top struggles cited by teachers in working with ELs both at the primary and secondary levels were, communication (both with EL students and students’ families), insufficient time to teach everything, the difficulty with having a wide range of academic levels in the classroom, and the lack of tools, resources and support available for teachers to use in the classroom to better support EL students.

The results of the Gándara, Maxwell-Jolly and Driscoll (2005) report suggest that teachers who work with ELs could be better supported by state, district and school-implemented programs which focus more directly on the development of resources for teachers (e.g. developing clearinghouses), reemphasizing the importance of professional development focused on working with ELs, as well as the further research investigating the needs of EL students.


Education Week Research Center. (2014). From adoption to practice: Teacher perspectives on the Common Core. Bethesda, Maryland.

Gándara, P, Maxwell-Jolly, J, & Driscoll, A. (2005). Listening to teachers of English language learners: A survey of California teachers’ challenges, experiences, and professional development needs. Santa Cruz, CA: The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.

Get involved! What does this fun fact mean for you, for your classroom, for your community? What resources would help you feel better prepared to support EL students in your classroom? Post your responses in the Fun Fact Friday Forum!

Raising Bilingual Children: The Non-Native Gone Astray?


By own family experience I can attest to the fact that raising bilingual children is difficult and time consuming. I recommend creating a firm foundation not just in receptive but also in productive skills. In other words, teach writing and speaking and give authentic purposes to children to use it. It worked for us. Our child, in 8th grade, just passed a college language placement exam in our home language after 20 minutes on graduate student level. So, keep it up and don’t let anyone tell you that it cannot be done.

A proud mother

Read this Blogpost from another about her experience:

16 Fantastic Words That Can’t Be Translated Into English


Find the list here:

Free PD presentation: Accessing the Common Core: Supporting ELs Through Language Analysis


Presenter(s): Danielle Garegnani
Date: 3/29/2014 11:30:00 AM
Access here:

Kentucky Teaching Positions


Ronald Chi (principal at The Learning Center in Lexington) is looking for a secondary math or science teacher to begin teaching in December/January

Kentucky Position


Erlanger-Elsmere Schools has an immediate opening for a full-time elementary school ESL Teacher. Please pass this information along to anyone interested.

Online application can be found at

Nichole Neuhard
ESL Program Coordinator
Erlanger-Elsmere Schools
(859) 342-2427 ext.156

Example of ESL Teacher Leadership


How can an ESL teacher become a leader in their district? One of my students pursuing the ESL certificate took initiative to her leadership. This in-service ESL teacher decided to create once-a-month messages sent to district employees. In the short messages she shines the spotlight on issues that enlighten classroom teachers and other personnel on English Learner matters. Please see one example below from Jessica Mitchell, ELL Social Studies Teacher at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Kentucky:

As I said last week this tip will be about building background knowledge. This strategy is often difficult for teachers because this means building the background knowledge that most Native born speakers would know. These often involve aspects of our culture that we do not think about and assume that our students already know or understand. When teaching an ELL student who has lived here less than five years do not assume that they have any background knowledge of a topic.

For example, in my U.S. History class we are currently discussing the period in American history before the Civil War. We were scheduled through our PLC to spend a day discussing different abolitionist movements in America however, I felt it important to build their background knowledge of slavery in the United States. Most native-born students have learned about slavery throughout their educational career and have an instant image of American slavery in their minds when the topic is discussed. An exception to this would be an ELL student. They have no history or concept of American slavery or the history of racism in the United States after the Civil War. I tried and tried to get my students to come to the conclusion about why Americans would choose Africans to become slaves but they could not get to the concept of racism and prejudice; they did not even know the meaning of those words.

It is important to take time to assess the background knowledge of your ELL students and bridge the gap between them and your native-born English speakers. This can be done:
in a formative discussion in the class where your regular education students fill in the gaps for the ELL students (providing a good review for your other students)
review/introduction to a topic (homework, flashback, etc.)
checking in with your ELL students while everyone is working on an assignment and filling in the gaps through a quick one-on-one discussion
any pre-assessments for a new unit

I hope this helps and as always please let me know if there is anything you need. Also please email me with any suggestions for tips that you would like to see discussed in future weeks.


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