Helping English Language Learners Succeed

In states like California, up to 20 percent of students are English Language Learners, but we’re not just talking about Spanish. ELLs speak 150 different languages in the U.S., and teachers find it challenging to navigate the learning landscape. Today on the EdTech Podcast, brought to you by MarketScale, host Daniel Litwin sat down with two education experts from Dallas-based Istation to discuss the nuances and best practices of quality English Language Learning: Jami Herbst, customer success professional development manager, and Julie Robinson, bilingual professional development specialist.

Some school districts in more urban and suburban environments have ELL-specific classes, whereas rural areas may place ELLs in the general classroom. That’s a challenge for both the students and the teachers who are not trained or certified in this specialty of education.

“It’s just as stressful for the teacher as it is for the student,” Julie said. “As teachers, we should remember that each child brings something with them. Yes, there’s a barrier because of the language, but they’ve got knowledge coming in with them.”

Having taught in Costa Rica and Honduras, Jami pointed out that classroom cultures vary widely by country.

“Teachers should be culturally aware of what students are used to in the classroom, what makes them most productive, and what makes them tick,” she said.

Often, involvement in a student’s own learning and performance makes them tick.

“Personal time with the student is important, and going over the data is a way to do that,” Jami said. “Discussing the data with your student helps them take ownership of their success.”

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