Stephanie Hime is the Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction in Clinton Public Schools. Within her role she is also the EL (English Learners) Facilitator for her district, which according to their website, 30% of students are classified as EL students. Recently Stephanie moderated a Twitter chat on the topic which challenged me to learn more about my own district and how we are serving our English learners. You can find Stephanie on Twitter @MrsHime or Pinterest.
Teaching students whose native language is not English in schools where the target language is English can be difficult. Students who fall into the category of English Learners (EL) spend much of their school day translating learned content into their native language and then translating information back into English in order to answer questions and engage in discussions. Many teachers that they don’t have the confidence to meet their EL students’ needs.
Below are the questions I prepared to ask Stephanie (there were some follow up questions in the podcast that are not included below):
- Share about your background/experience in education.
- Explain the work you do in your district for English Learners.
- What are the stages of language development learning another language?
- Why is it important for teachers to know and understand the progression of language development?
- What are the main obstacles teachers come across when teaching English Learners?
- What are the main struggles for students who are English Learners in the classroom?
- What strategies should teachers implement to support English Learners in the classroom?
- What interventions are most effective for teachers to use when working with English Learners?
- What should teachers remember when communicating with parents of English Learners?
- What are some resources that you direct teachers to?
- What other advice do you have for teachers?