EEIS News, Volume 31:1 (October 2010)

by User Not Found | 11/04/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Greetings from the Chair
    • Greetings from the Chair-Elect
    • Minutes from EEIS Meetings in Boston
  • Articles
    • Examining Elementary ESL Teacher Efficacy
    • Adventures in Collaborative Teaching
    • Supporting ELLs During the Recession
  • About This Member Community
    • Meet EEIS Board Members
    • EEIS Officers and Leaders
    • EEIS News Call for Articles
Leadership Updates Greetings from the Chair

Laura Lukens, 2010-11 EEIS Chair,

I hope everyone has had a restful and relaxing summer! The first day of school is just around the corner for us in North Kansas City.

I'd like to take a moment to introduce myself. I am Laura Lukens, from Kansas City, Missouri. I was elected last year to serve a 3-year leadership term with the EEIS. In my non-TESOL life, I am the ELL Program Coordinator for North Kansas City Schools (NKCS), a large and diverse school district in Kansas City, Missouri. We serve approximately 1,000 English language learners in grades K-12 who speak over 73 different languages. I am also privileged to serve as the codirector of a U.S. Department of Education National Professional Development Grant, Project EXCELL, which trains mainstream teachers and university faculty on ELL issues and strategies. We will be certifying 60 NKCS teachers in ESOL by the end of our grant project in 2012! I also teach some of the grad courses for the certification program as an adjunct professor for the School of Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

TESOL 2010 Boston

Last year's EEIS offerings at TESOL in Boston were varied and well-attended. The EEIS presented two Interest Section sessions on topics of interest to its members.

The Academic Session, entitled "Observation Tools and Techniques for Administrators and Teachers," presented research and best practices on effective observation and evaluation of elementary ESL teachers. Of particular interest to school administrators were the checklists and observation tools presented by the panel members. Thank you to Ari Sherris, Janet Orr, Ken Weaver, and Deborah Sams for an excellent session!

The EEIS partnered with the Teacher Education Interest Section (TEIS) on an InterSection entitled "Reimagining the Role of the Elementary ESL Teacher." In this session, the panelists presented the results of a survey of over 500 elementary ESL professionals. The survey asked respondents about their perceptions of the changing role of the elementary ESL teacher and their thoughts on ideal program models for elementary English language learners. Other panel members then shared their perceptions on the changing role of the elementary ESL teacher and effective program models from the classroom, district, and state perspectives. Teacher educators then weighed in on how teacher preparation programs are addressing the needs of the teachers who will work in these dynamic environments. Thanks to Betty Smallwood, Katherine Earley, Candice Harper, Al Mogavero, Jennifer Brown, Judy O'Loughlin, and Christel Broady for their contributions to this excellent session!

Our EEIS business meeting was well attended. We introduced our new officers for the 2010-2011 term. We welcomed our incoming chair, Christel Broady, and newly elected Steering Board members Carol Behel and Theresa Laquerre. Our new secretary, Deborah Sams, was introduced.

After the business meeting, a big group of us went out to an amazing seafood dinner at No Name Restaurant. A great time was had by all!


Preparations are well under way for an outstanding EEIS program at TESOL 2011 in New Orleans. Mark your calendars for March 17-19, 2011. The Crescent City promises to be an entertaining venue for all TESOLers!

More details will be provided in the next newsletter.

The EEIS looks forward to seeing you in New Orleans, as this promises to be the best TESOL Convention yet!

Best regards,

Greetings from the Chair-Elect

Christel Broady, 2010-11 EEIS Chair-Elect,

Hi and welcome to the Elementary Education Interest Section at TESOL. My name is Christel Broady and I am the incoming 2010 chair-elect. Allow me introduce myself to you:

In the past, I served 3 years on the EEIS steering board. At the TESOL level, I am an NCATE/TESOL program reviewer. I was also involved in past advocacy activities. On the state level, I have been a member of the Kentucky TESOL board for a number of years. On the board, I served as president, among other leadership roles. I am currently serving on the board as the liaison between the state and global TESOL and as the chair of Professional Development.

Professionally, I am a professor for graduate education and director of the ESL Endorsement Program at Georgetown College.

Personally, I am married and a mom of a 9-year-old daughter. We have a multicultural household. My husband was born and raised in the Philippines. I was born, raised, schooled, and university educated in Germany. As such, I am a product of an EFL program there. At home, my daughter and I speak German and my husband and I speak English. We have a very diverse family life with lots of cultural events and discussions.

My personal interest is in ESL and immigrant advocacy and to lending voice to those without one. ESL teachers are often the only lifeline children and families from other cultures have in this country. Therefore, I consider it to be an honor to prepare teachers to have the highest set of skills and dispositions to deal with the emotional, social, and academic needs of our immigrant children. Further, I believe that ESL teachers have a special role of leadership in the schools and communities to aid others in understanding the needs of immigrant families. Therefore, I consider ESL teachers to be ESL leaders.

It is my deep belief that all teachers and professors should be active in their respective professional organizations to assert leadership in the field and to stay abreast of the latest developments. Teachers are action researchers on a daily basis and have an incredible wealth of wisdom to share with each other. All teachers organized in professional organizations form communities of knowledge that should guide the field in new directions. I am always renewed after interactions with classrooms and teachers who give me impulses and ideas for my professional life.

Overall, I am humbled to be invited to play a role in teacher training in the United States and I am honored to represent the second largest interest section in TESOL as a leader. I am looking forward to the next 3 years in the hope that I will contribute to the future of elementary education in TESOL.

If you have any questions, requests, ideas, or comments on how to improve our interest section, you may reach me at my private

I hope to see many of you at our exciting and wonderful next convention in New Orleans. After getting to know the Louisiana conference chair, I can attest to the fact that the next convention will be awesome.


Minutes from EEIS Meetings in Boston

From left to right: Ari Sherris, Laura Lukens, Ken Weaver, Deborah Sams, and Janet Orr

Minutes: TESOL Elementary Education Interest Section Business Meeting

Boston Convention Center
Thursday, March 25, 2010
5:00-7:00 p.m.

Present Laura Lukens, Chair; Janice Cate, past past-chair; Christel Broady, incoming chair; Deborah Sams, incoming secretary; Steering Committee Members: Ana Carolina Behel and Theresa Laquerre; and Nominating Committee: Keiko Abe-Ford, Judith B. O'Loughlin, and Ken Weaver.

24 attendees in all

The meeting was opened by Laura Lukens, chair of EEIS.

1. Dino Salin received an award, in absentia, from the TESOL Interest Section Leadership Council for serving as TESOL Elementary Interest Section Chair this year.

2. Introduction of new steering board members.

3. Janice Cate was introduced as the new newsletter editor. Janice asked members to send in articles soon for the next issue.

4. Christel Broady, incoming chair of EEIS, mentioned the problem of members not getting e-mail because of not clicking on their TESOL profile info and updating/adding the interest section e-mail. Members also need to check spam filters and make sure that dues are paid and up-to-date.

5. Laura Lukens, chair of EEIS, thanked presenters and participants in the Thursday morning InterSection session. The survey on the roles of elementary ESL teachers will remain open for another month. Betty Smallwood invites more mainstream teacher participation. Christel Broady encouraged teachers to be researchers. Betty agreed that elementary teachers should consider themselves researchers. Discussion followed on possible funding for research.

6. Laura mentioned the 7:30 a.m. planning meeting on Friday morning.

7. Laura reminded members of the Saturday morning Academic Session entitled "Observation Tools and Techniques for Administrators and Teachers," presented by Ari Sherris, Janet Orr, Laura Lukens, Kenneth Weaver, and Deborah Sams.

8. Laura complimented the work that Janice Cate did to decorate the EEIS booth (#226) with student artwork.

9. Discussion commenced on a possible author to invite to the 2011 TESOL Convention in New Orleans. A local name has been recommended for next year. The conference chair for the New Orleans meeting happened to drop by, listened to our proposal for an author in New Orleans, then expressed interest in the idea, encouraging the EEIS interest section leaders to attend Saturday's meeting and mention the possibility of an author visit. He also asked Laura to e-mail him to follow up on the issue. Everyone in the meeting received a refrigerator magnet with info for the New Orleans convention.

10. Carole mentioned an author who writes Cajun fairy tales. (Mike Artell?).

11. Proposal readers will be needed to prepare for the next conference. Janice said that it usually entails 2 weeks in June. Discussion took place of what the process is like, the challenges, etc. Betty Smallwood asked the group about a specific proposal.

12. Janice announced that a dinner reservation was made at the No Name Café for the group immediately following the meeting.

13. Keiko addressed the group, saying that she brought eight teachers from Japan to attend this conference in Boston. The group applauded.

14. Janet Orr mentioned that the ESEA is up for reauthorization and for K-12 people to pay attention and get involved.

Meeting adjourned.

Minutes: TESOL Elementary Education Interest Section Planning Meeting

Boston Convention Center
March 26, 2010
Friday morning, 7:30-8:30 a.m.

6 members attending

Present Laura Lukens, chair; Janice Cate, past past-chair; Christel Broady, incoming chair; Deborah Sams, incoming secretary; Steering Committee Members: Ana Carolina Behel and Theresa Laquerre; and Nominating Committee: Keiko Abe-Ford, Judith B. O'Loughlin, and Ken Weaver.

The meeting was opened by Laura Lukens, chair of EEIS.

1. Christel Broady discussed the possibility of creating a group on Facebook and/or Blogger for steering board members. Kenneth Weaver volunteered to create a Wiki page. The hope is to increase active participation, to allow members to keep in closer contact, and to have another means to publish work.

2. Discussion of possible ideas for next year's InterSection sessions:

  • Role of ESL teachers
  • Standardizing the standards
  • Characteristics of high-quality online ESL certification programs
  • Empowering ESL teachers as leaders

Several members expressed interest in the last idea for an Academic Session for next year.

Discussion of possible "hot topics":

  • Writing and generation 1.5
  • Word generation-the 60 most used academic words
  • Subtractive bilingualism
  • Principal's workshop for a 1 hour 45 minute session?
  • Building professional learning communities

3. Janice asked any pictures to be sent to her in a jpeg format for possible inclusion in the next newsletter.

4. The incoming and outgoing chairs for EEIS agreed to write a small article for the newsletter. Maybe titled something like "Remembering Boston."

5. Discussion of who would make dinner reservations next year.

6. Laura will send news on the e-list 2 weeks before TESOL.

7. Deborah Sams agreed to send a record of EEIS minutes to Laura, Ken, Janice, and Christel.

8. Janice will continue investigating an author for next year.

9. Janice discussed the EEIS booth for next year and who would like to bring art.

  • Use words that start with the letter E.
  • 30 pictures in all 9 x 12 or 11 x 15 matted.
  • Bring them Wednesday evening of the convention to set up.

10. Kenneth Weaver will gather a list of sessions and meeting for EEIS for next year's program and will send them to members as an attachment. He will use a cover page with the officers of the EEIS.

11. We discussed having a stack ready on the table of handouts that people get as they get their program books. The cover should have attractive children's art with an invitation to come to the EEIS meeting.

Meeting adjourned.

Articles Examining Elementary ESL Teacher Efficacy

Ayanna Cooper,

As an elementary teacher in public schools outside of metro Atlanta, I experienced an exciting transition several years ago when I became an ESL teacher. I had the opportunity to learn more about my students and their needs and how to be an effective practitioner. I spent the last couple of years looking for professional development opportunities for myself so I joined International TESOL, became active in an affiliate (Georgia TESOL), and began attending and presenting at conferences. Those opportunities led me to meet other teachers and share ideas and information and ultimately created an informal support group. I grew stronger as a teacher and advocate for my students. When the opportunity came for me to choose a topic for my dissertation, I immediately knew I wanted to focus on English language teaching and learning from an elementary teacher's perspective. Thus, the idea of uncovering ESL teacher self-efficacy soon became my passion.

The construct of teacher efficacy has been debated across the field by various researchers since the 1960s. Most often the idea of explaining, defining, capturing, and sharing it has not been an easy task. Albert Bandura (1994), the father of self-efficacy research, described perceived self-efficacy as people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Self-efficacy beliefs determine how people feel, think, motivate themselves, and behave. Such beliefs produce these diverse effects through four major processes. They include cognitive, motivational, affective, and selection processes (p. 2). Numerous studies have been done on various groups of teachers explaining their experiences with measuring their perceived level of self-efficacy. Researchers Gandara, Maxwell-Jolly, and Driscoll (2005) identified several factors related to teacher efficacy, including level of preparation to teach ESL and preferred types of professional development. Their recommendations for improvements for California's ESL students and teachers included a statewide summit to address the needs of the teachers, more resources, district-wide evaluation tools, increased professional development, and a well-planned and rigorous research agenda. Researcher Paneque's 2004 study of Florida special education teachers of English language learners found that fluency in the native language of the students positively influenced the teachers' sense of efficacy. I had a difficult time finding a study that focused solely on elementary ESL teachers and their needs. I often asked myself how I planned to grow professionally. What content areas did I feel stronger or weaker in, and what if I were more fluent in Spanish? Would that make a difference because the majority of my students were Spanish speakers? The 3 years of high school Spanish I took wasn't getting me very far. I longed to be able to quickly write a coherent note home to parents telling them about their child. These and other questions became the foundation of my quantitative study.

Luckily for me my dissertation chair Dr. Lorraine Miller-Nara was a former ESL teacher. She shared my passion of teaching English as a second language and fully supported my choice of a topic. Here's where the rubber hit the road. Of all of the studies I read, none of them specifically focused on elementary ESL teacher efficacy. How could we be left out of the tapestry of teacher self-efficacy research? I came across a few that were very close. I used these to begin creating my piece of the fabric to be included. It was important to me to begin weaving the elementary ESL teacher's perspective of teacher efficacy. The most difficult challenge was deciding how to measure what I learned was their "self-reported" level of teacher efficacy. Like any novice researcher I was concerned with how I would measure their sense of efficacy. What type of survey instrument would be best? How could I recruit a large number of ESL teachers to participate? These were just a few of the questions I asked myself.

I did not find a survey instrument that captured the essence of teacher efficacy that I wanted to explore. Instead, I created my own instrument, which took longer than expected. I reviewed several teacher efficacy instruments to help me create mine. I even sent my survey to Dr. Anita Woolfolk Hoy, leading researcher in the field of teacher efficacy and educational psychology, to review. My research questions were (1) What factors or demographic information contributed to the self-reported level of self-efficacy? (2) Was there a difference of self-efficacy between teachers who could speak the native language of their students? (3) Was there a difference between teachers with degrees in TESOL versus those with an ESL endorsement? and last (4) Did the number of professional development days specifically for teaching ESL contribute to their sense of self-efficacy? To find the answers to these questions the Elementary Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale was developed. The 30-item survey was distributed electronically to over 20 school districts in north Georgia who had elementary ESL teachers. Over 100 teachers completed the survey. My findings were surprising and I especially enjoyed reading the replies to the open-ended questions at the end of the survey. Their voices resonated off of the computer screen because I could relate to their celebrations and frustrations of teaching elementary-level English language learners.

Findings from descriptive analyses indicated that most ESL teachers (70%) felt they had sufficient foundation training; 48 percent desired further training; and the lowest levels of reported self-efficacy were associated with teaching math and science. Results from further analyses indicated that the greatest influences on teachers' self-efficacy scores were their age and the number of ESL-specific professional development days they participated in. Some of the open-ended responses I received included a need for supporting general education colleagues: "I feel we are often limited by state standards and classroom teachers who do not understand the difference in BICS and CALPS for our students. It can be very frustrating for us and for our students." The need for professional development was also apparent: "I would like to have the opportunity to participate in many more professional learning workshops/seminars related to teaching ELLs than are currently offered. I would like to receive more training in SIOP, reading and writing for ELLs." Most important, dedication to teaching and a true concern for English learners to achieve were also indicated: "I love teaching English Language Learners! My husband and I laugh that after 27 years of teaching, I have found myself!" and "I LOVE IT!!! It is rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging." My study strongly suggests the need for further, consistent, and relevant professional development for elementary ESL professionals. With the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, accountability and student achievement for all students will remain the norm. Professional development providers and teacher preparation programs must continue to answer the call to support novice and experienced ESL teachers.


Bandura, A. (1994). Social learning theory: From theory into practice database. Retrieved from

Gandara, 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: Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning.

Paneque, O. (2004). Teacher efficacy of special education teachers of English language learners with disabilities (Doctoral dissertation, Florida International University, 2004). Dissertation Abstracts International (UMI No. 3128611)

Adventures in Collaborative Teaching

Janice Cate, NBCT,

Once upon a time before No Child Left Behind, there was an ESL teacher who heard predictions of change in her teaching field. She decided to try some new ways of working with colleagues she had read about in educational journals. Everyone was happy to try her new ideas: the principal, the other teachers, and even her students. Students learned at a phenomenal rate, teachers began using innovative teaching methods, and test scores soared.

Well, enough of the fairy tale. Here is what really happened in my elementary school. Over the past 10 years I have tried several different ways of collaborating with classroom teachers. Some were more successful than others. The following are some of the "adventures" I have had.

At the beginning of time¯sorry, forgot myself. When I began teaching English as a second language I was a part-time tutor. I pulled students out of their classes to work with them on English language development. Soon there were enough students to justify hiring a full-time ESL teacher. I continued pulling students out and working on English language development. Most classroom teachers were happy for me to work with their English language learners and some even asked for suggestions for ways to help them in the regular classroom.

Then I began reading about exceptional ed teachers being required to work in mainstream classes. There wasn't much data to show how well this arrangement worked with English language learners but I thought it might be coming in the future. After reflecting on my situation I came up with a plan I thought would work.

I had noticed on Fridays many teachers asked if I could get the students at a different time or let them be late for class so they could take spelling tests, reading tests, math tests, or whatever test the teacher happened to be giving at the time they were scheduled to come to my class. In the interest of keeping the peace and because my class was not a required class, I usually agreed.

So I decided to use Friday as a "demonstration" lesson day. I would go into classes and demonstrate a lesson with the whole class that I had done earlier in the week with my students. Teachers signed up for a time that fit their schedule and all they were asked to do was observe the students and help with discipline. The benefits of this demonstration lesson were that (a) the teacher saw the ELL students participating and being successful, (b) the whole class was exposed to ESL teaching methods, and (c) the English language learners had a chance to be the leaders in a class activity.

What I found was that some teachers consistently signed up for the demonstration lessons and others never signed up. Because it was voluntary there was nothing I could do about that. At first many teachers watched and noticed the difference in participation by the English language learners. Some commented and a few altered their teaching methods. After several years I stopped the demonstration lessons because teachers started using the time to grade papers or take a break. My student numbers had increased and I felt we needed the time on Fridays for instruction.

My next adventure in collaboration was in summer school. Our district decided to use Title III funds to offer an extended year to our English language learners. I thought it would be a great time to model ESL teaching methods to one teacher as we taught the students together in summer school. We started with 20 students who ranged from first through fifth grades with language levels from beginner to intermediate. I chose a literature-based curriculum and we plunged into a 6-week summer session.

Anne, the mainstream teacher, knew the grade-level curriculum and I knew the language development needs of my students. We arranged the students in mixed-age groups and rotated the groups through two teacher-led centers and two independent centers. It was exciting to work together.

Anne had almost daily questions about why the students did the things they did as they acquired more language. One example from that first summer sticks in my mind. Belinda, an older beginner, often repeated what Anne said in a soft whisper. Anne questioned me and wondered if Belinda was being rude by copying her speech. This gave me a chance to explain the stages of language acquisition and ways students learn a second language. Anne was learning on-the-job how to teach English language learners. At the end of the summer session she had a much better understanding of how to adapt instruction for English language learners and we had built a relationship for further collaboration.

Since that first summer school I have worked with several different classroom teachers and a couple of teacher assistants. Summer school continues to offer possibilities for modeling ESL methods to interested teachers.

Fast forward to the past school year. A new principal with exceptional education teaching experience asked for full inclusion for all exceptional ed teachers and she hinted that she would soon ask for ESL inclusion, too. I asked Anne if we could try an experiment in coteaching for one 45-minute period a day. We had success in summer school and we felt this might work for us. We asked that all third-grade English language learners be placed in Anne's class so we could serve all of them in our inclusion experiment. This was not done. Only five English language learners were placed in Anne's class but we went ahead with our experiment.

From the first day we had a great time collaborating. We divided the class into three groups and rotated every 15 minutes. I focused on writing, Anne worked with guided reading, and an assistant worked with other reading skills. As the year progressed we tried different types of lessons like text mapping and think-alouds. I added art activities to the writing lessons.

The things I really liked about inclusion were (1) seeing my students as they interacted with their classmates, (2) getting to know the mainstream students, and (3) becoming more familiar with the mainstream curriculum.

But there were some drawbacks to this experiment, too. I had 12 English language learners in third grade and only 5 were in Anne's class. When was there time in my busy schedule to work with them? I ended up adding them to my fourth-grade group. It was okay but the students preferred being with their own grade group.

Many days the assistant was pulled to do other things, so Anne and I had to scrap our plans and regroup. Sometimes we divided the class into two groups and sometimes we let one group work independently.

We found that 15 minutes was not enough time to do some of the things we wanted to do with each group, but I could not stay any longer. We tried dividing into four groups and seeing two groups each day. That gave us 20 to 25 minutes per group but I didn't work with all my students every day.

Another reality is that planning and gathering materials to go into another classroom takes time and there was no extra time in the schedule for this. My inclusion students often asked when they could go to my room. They missed the time away from the other students when they had all my attention. I actually had less time with my English language learners in the inclusion class.

After trying inclusion with one class for a whole year, I have a better understanding of the process and its benefits and drawbacks. My decision for the next school year is to go back to pull-out but offer to do occasional coteaching with interested teachers. We will see how that adventure unfolds next year.

For teachers and administrators who are interested in trying coteaching or inclusion for ESL, here are some things to consider:

  • Inclusion works best with teachers who want to work together and have had training or experience sharing teaching responsibilities.
  • Make sure the students who need ESL services are placed in the inclusion class.
  • Allow time in the ESL teacher's day to plan and gather materials when coteaching.
  • Schedule time for English language learners who are newcomers to be pulled out for individual or small-group instruction.
  • Be flexible. Keep experimenting until you have a plan that works for you and your students.

Supporting ELLs During the Recession

Deborah Sams, PhD,

With job layoffs, company closings, and businesses shutting down, the current recession proves a crucible for families, but perhaps even more so for the families of English language learners. An unstable economy, job cutbacks, and situations where primary wage earners must travel out of town for work are factors that exert pressure on families. Since the downturn in the economy, several of my students have mentioned increased tensions in the home between their parents and situations that could progress into domestic violence. As an ESL teacher, how can I support my students during this recession?

As ESL teachers, we are busy preparing lessons, teaching, acting as liaisons for families, and taking part in other activities that serve our students. While preparing students for high-stakes tests in English language proficiency and content areas, we may become aware of problems at home that negatively impact our students. It is possible to feel overwhelmed by these needs. Trained for English language teaching, most of us lack training as guidance counselors or psychologists. On the other hand, most guidance counselors and psychologists lack knowledge of ESL students' needs. What can we do to help these students? How are English language teachers across the country supporting English language learners in the economic downturn?

I sent a query sent to four electronic mailing lists (TennesseeESL, TESOL Elementary Interest Section, TESOL Secondary Interest Section, TESLK-12) for English language teachers requesting ideas and strategies to guide English language learners through difficult times, particularly from conditions brought on by the current recession. Many English language teachers across the United States responded, outlining actions, both practical and spiritual, that comfort and support our students in harsh times. The following recommendations support English language learners during the economic downturn in ways that address basic and academic needs.


Experienced ESL teachers remind us that although we can't change circumstances outside the school, we can provide a stable, supportive environment within the school and classroom. By feeling protected there, students will learn and grow into strong, caring people who are independent thinkers. Routines add to stability while teaching English language learners that academic work is a priority. To be effective during difficult times, one teacher advises us to network with others in order to develop (a) supports for our own professional needs in terms of techniques and resources and (b) supports for the emotional strength we'll need to cope with the stress of our work. Teachers from the e-lists offer more advice:

  • Listen to students.
  • Take students under your wing. Let them come to your room for lunch, or sit and eat a snack with students.
  • Try not to become upset by behaviors students cannot control.
  • Network with teachers, the school nurse, and principals to develop a supportive community of helpers.
  • Provide families with information on outside resources such as adult ESL classes, parenting classes, Alcoholics Anonymous contacts, church organizations, food banks, and cultural or language liaisons.
  • "Turn up the radar" for students. See who needs a coat, glasses, or a dental exam. These things can be obtained from churches, the local food pantry, organizations such as Rotary or Lions Clubs, Sunday School classes, and Bible study groups. Businesses such as shoe outlets may be able to donate something for a student in need.
  • If necessary, organize snacks for those who are hungry. Give snacks to reward students for doing jobs or just to make the day better.
  • Some teachers use food as props in lessons (like math fractions) and then share them with the kids. Other teachers cook simple recipes to show students how to prepare a nutritious meal or snack and also to teach them to follow directions.
  • One teacher bought winter hats, scarves, and gloves in the dollar bins or on sale, keeping them handy for those who needed them.


English language teachers equip English language learners to succeed in the regular classroom. Especially during this economic downturn, ESL teachers recommend the following steps to support English language learners:

  • Teach students to work together to solve problems.
  • Teach them to cope with failure or celebrate in positive ways.
  • Teach them to set reasonable goals and to resist becoming distracted from completing these goals.
  • Enrich their mind and spirit with art, music, drama, and literature.
  • Inspire them with stories of people from many different backgrounds who succeeded despite the odds.
  • Ensure that students feel like part of the solution and learn to be empowered individuals.
  • Show kindness, but challenge them to "pay it forward," by being kind to others.

One teacher gave advice that should remain in the heart of every educator. She said, "You will not always see love and sunshine in your school, but even dealing with the negative can be an opportunity to demonstrate firmness and resolve while also showing love, compassion, justice and forgiveness." Certainly, these words can help students navigate difficulties, build esteem and confidence for the future, and prepare for better times ahead.

Deborah Sams, PhD, teaches ESL at Sevierville Primary School in Sevierville, Tennessee. She is a member of TNTESOL.

About This Member Community Meet EEIS Board Members

The Elementary Education Interest Section Steering Board is composed of six members who are elected for 3-year terms. Each year, two new steering board members are elected. This feature will introduce our readers to one veteran steering board member and one new steering board member. Look for more about steering board members in our next newsletter.

Ana Carolina Behel

Carol received her National Board Certification in 2009. She holds an Educational Specialist degree and master's degree in ESL/bilingual education. In her early teaching career she taught Spanish K-12 and secondary German. For the past 9 years she has been teaching ESL and loving it. Carol is honored to be serving as an EEIS Steering Board member. She is an active member of AMTESOL, having served on its board as a representative, member-at-large, newsletter editor, and presenter at conferences. She currently works with K-6 English language learners in Florence, Alabama.

Mitch Bobrick

Mitch Bobrick teaches English language learners in an elementary school in Palm Beach County, Florida. He works with grades 3 to 5, primarily with striving readers who have been in the country for most or all of their lives but who are not progressing in their ability to comprehend text. He is also a member of his school's professional development team. With the team he helps plan and provide literacy workshops for the staff based on the school improvement plan in the area of reading. Prior to this focus he worked exclusively with newcomers to the United States in a multigrade classroom setting.

The steering board gives advice and direction to the officers of the interest section. Most of their work is done at the annual convention but they also keep in touch by e-mail when needed.

EEIS Officers and Leaders

Elementary Education Interest Section: Officers and Leaders 2010-11

Chair Laura Lukens

Incoming Chair Christel Broady

Past Chair Dino Salin

Secretary Deborah Sams

Historian Ede Thompson

Newsletter Editors Janice Cate

Amy King

Steering Board Members

2011 Mitchell Bobrick

Barbara Gottschalk

2012 Marina Moran

Ken Weaver

2013 Carol Behel

Theresa Laquerre

2010-11 Committees

Nominating Committee

Dino Salin, Chair

Keiko Abe-Ford

Judy O'Loughlin

Ede Thompson

Ken Weaver

International Concerns

Keiko Abe-Ford

Tokiko Tanaka


Judy Haynes

Linda New-Levine

Janice Cate


Deborah Sams

Ayanna Cooper

Special Education

Leslie Kirschner-Morris

E-list Manager

Judy O'Loughlin

EEIS News Call for Articles

EEIS News is soliciting articles on research and classroom methods, materials, and practices related to English as a second or foreign language in any elementary education classroom setting.

EEIS News welcomes articles that apply to classroom situations and that focus on ESL/EFL classroom practices/instruction, second language acquisition, language assessment, advocacy, administration, parent/public concerns, and other related topics. In light of the newsletter's electronic format, authors are encouraged to include hyperlinks and digital object identifiers.


Articles should

  • include a title, author, and author's e-mail address
  • be no longer than 1,500 words
  • contain no more than five citations
  • follow APA style guidelines
  • be in MS Word or ASCII format

Please direct your submissions and questions to Janice Cate,, or Amy King,


June 30 Submissions due to EEIS News editors

July 31 Compiled EEIS News submitted to TESOL for copyediting

August 30 Newsletter distributed to EEIS members

November 15 Submissions due to EEIS News editors

December 15 Compiled EEIS News submitted to TESOL for copyediting

January 30 Newsletter distributed to EEIS members