Chapter 1: How Can a Good Understanding of English Learning Transform Your School?

1. Foster a school culture that values and welcomes multiple languages and cultures.

  • Get rid of "English only" policies

2. Ensure that all teachers are appropriately trained and empowered.

3. Create school schedules conducive to meeting ELL needs.

  • Acknowledge that ELLs at different levels will need to be in or out of different content classes.
  • Ensure that intermediate- and advanced-level ELLs continue their language learning through sheltered content classes, or with teachers trained in language and content learning.
  • Prioritize the TESOL professional’s time with ELLs when creating the school schedule.
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Chapter 2: What Do You Need to Know About TESOL?

1. There are many legitimate varieties of English spoken all around the world. We should value these differences, and not hold ELLs to an artificial and uninformed “native speaker” standard.

2. There are many acronyms in TESOL, and they are helpful in understanding the world of English language learning and teaching. Use acronyms correctly to increase understanding.

3. The global spread of English has sometimes caused some harm. Understand the potential for harm in your particular context, and work to turn possible harms into opportunities.

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Chapter 3: What Does It Mean to "Know English"?

1. Language is a system, but its function is communication. Ensure that ELLs are receiving instruction that enables them to communicate in English.

  • Hire TESOL professionals who have been trained in communicative language teaching, and who can train content-area teachers in fostering communicative language skills.
  • Understand that true communicative language development often is hindered when TESOL professionals are given curricula to cover from the general education classroom.

2. Common perceptions of correctness are frequently based not on real language use, but on artificial, prescriptive, grammar rules. Ensure that ELLs experience a program that seeks to develop real language competence in reading, writing, speaking, and listening, rather than one which focuses on passive knowledge about grammar or spelling rules.

  • Hire TESOL professionals who have been trained in communicative language teaching.
  • Allow the TESOL professional to select the curricula for pull-out ESOL classes.

3. English has a large vocabulary, and poses some particular areas of difficulty for learners (e.g., phrasal verbs and articles). Ensure that all teachers understand some of these difficulties, and are prepared to help ELLs as they learn.

4. In addition to acquiring social language (BICS), students must acquire academic language (CALP). Ensure that academic language is a developmental focus in all classrooms.

5. Language is inextricably linked to culture. Help all teachers to become aware of cultural knowledge that ELLs may not have.

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Chapter 4: How Does Someone Learn English?

1. Language that is used for real communication is largely acquired through use, not learned passively as an academic subject. ELLs need the appropriate opportunities, conditions, and time to acquire English.

2. There are many popular myths about language learning. Foster a school climate in which all teachers and families have an accurate understanding of language acquisition.

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Chapter 5: How Does Someone Learn English in School?

1. K–12 schooling is an optimal place and time to acquire an additional language. However, a school context that fosters language acquisition requires intentionality. ESOL classes, content classes, leveled placement, and curriculum all work together to provide a rich environment for language acquisition. Hire well-qualified TESOL professionals who can orchestrate these various dimensions of a successful ESOL program.

  • Ensure that the ESOL teacher is a TESOL professional who has the appropriate communicative competence, linguistic knowledge, theoretical knowledge, and methodological competence to teach ELLs at all levels of proficiency.
  • Ensure that the TESOL professional has a key voice in decisions pertaining to all aspects of the ESOL program.

2. The principles of language acquisition are relevant to all parts of the school day, in all classrooms and social venues. Ensure that all teachers and staff understand the principles of language acquisition.

3. All teachers need to create classroom environments in which the content is meaningful, and the classroom experiences include authentic, interactive tasks.

4. There are a number of different models for acquiring a new language during K–12 schooling. Be familiar with the model used in your school, and what is required for effectiveness.

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Chapter 6: Where Can an ELL Best Acquire Language and Learn Content?

1. There are many factors to consider when scheduling classes for ELLs, including previous education, language level, and interests. Work with your TESOL professional to personalize each ELL’s class schedule according to the student’s particular needs.

2. ELLs at different levels of proficiency have vastly different needs. Provide learning experiences which address these different needs.

  • Personalize schedules for ELLs, rather than providing the same schedule for all ELLs in a specific grade.

3. All testing and assessment procedures need to take into account an ELL’s language proficiency level.

4. There are a number of different types of classes that can meet the needs of ELLs for both acquiring language and learning content. Be familiar with concepts such as “coteaching”, “newcomer/intensive” classes, and “sheltered instruction.” Design an effective overall model, similar to the placement chart in this chapter, for your context.

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