Differentiating Instruction for English Learners: Developing Instructional Capacity

Reading List: Context: Need for Teacher Learning

**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. The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. Available at http://www.wested.org/resources/listening-to-teachers-of-english-language-learners-a-survey-of-california-teachers-challenges-experiences-and-professional-development-needs/

 

In this report, Gandara et al. describe how the challenges of educating English language learners (ELs) vary according to factors such as teacher experience, training, and student needs. Some of the most common challenges for teachers include communication with parents, understanding home and community issues, limited time available to teach ELs, and meeting the needs of a diverse student population. Teachers with greater preparation in English language instruction felt more professionally competent to teach ELs. Finally, teachers cited the following types of support as the most helpful in meeting the needs of their ELs: 1) more and better ELD materials; 2) more time to teach students and collaborate with colleagues; and 3) more paraprofessional development.

 

Tellez, K., & Waxman, H. (2004). Quality Teachers for English Language Learners: A Research Synthesis. The Laboratory for Student Success: The Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory. Available at http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED484732.pdf

 

In this paper, Tellez and Waxman review the research on issues of teacher quality for English language learners. The authors assert that raising teacher quality is complex and warn against a simple functionalist view of teaching and learning, which fails to capture the specific instructional context of English language development.

 

**This document is considered a priority reading.