Tag: english language learner

UCLA Project Exc-EL Schools Design Learning Progressions for English Language Learners in Connecticut and New York

April 19, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on February 5, 2018.  It is the eighth blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

The following case study represents promising practices in the field using personalized, competency- based learning specifically for ELL students. Each case study in this blog series is considered promising in that they incorporate many of the core principles for next generation learning to support ELL student success. All case studies are examples of programs taking a longer view and a more holistic approach to student outcomes over time – defining the goal as helping students to achieve at high levels over the course of their schooling – in addition to becoming English-proficient. (more…)

Case Study: Distinctive Schools Leads Personalized Learning for English Language Learners in Illinois and Minnesota

April 12, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on January 29, 2018.  It is the seventh blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

The following case study represents promising practices in the field using personalized, competency-based learning specifically for ELL students. Each case study in this blog series is considered promising in that they incorporate many of the core principles for next generation learning to support ELL student success. All case studies are examples of programs taking a longer view and a more holistic approach to student outcomes over time — defining the goal as helping students to achieve at high levels over the course of their schooling — in addition to becoming English-proficient. (more…)

International High School in Langley Park Creates a Learner-Driven System for English Language Learners in Maryland

April 5, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on January 22, 2018.  It is the sixth blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

The field of K–12 education is in early stages of designing new, next generation learning models that hold promise for better meeting the needs of all students. This early research is focused on how schools are beginning to innovate, how their approaches are aligned to the research on how students learn best, and specifically, how English language learner (ELL) students learn best. While these next generation models are nascent and most are fewer than ten years in implementation, our goal is to provide examples of case studies of how the field is beginning to take hold and suggest lessons learned for the evolution forward. (more…)

Personalized, Competency-Based Education for English Language Learners

March 29, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on January 15, 2018.  It is the fifth blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

Designing new learning environments based on ensuring every student reaches mastery of the knowledge, skills and dispositions is critical. What is competency-based education and why does it matter for rethinking instruction to better serve all students? (more…)

The Promise of Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners

March 14, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on January 8, 2018.  It is the fourth blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

Next generation learning models hold promise for transforming education for every student by providing a personalized, student-centered approach to learning. It’s worth comparing how the current system is falling short of preparing English language learner (ELL) students for success in several key areas and how next generation models may better serve the needs of all students and solve critical flaws in the education system and improve learning outcomes for all. (more…)

Promising Practices for Teaching English Language Learners

March 8, 2018 by

Photo by Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on January 2, 2018.  It is the third blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

Ensuring success for English language learner (ELL) students requires challenging commonly held assumptions of teaching and learning for this student population. Educators and education programs must move away from making English language proficiency an end to itself and focus on supporting success for the whole child. Instruction should be focused on how ELL students learn best and personalized to meet each learner where they are.

This blog explores promising practices in teaching for ELL students, and how student-centered learning can provide the environment and instruction to best support each student.

Research on how ELL students learn best generally covers three main categories: instructional strategies, learning supports and assessments. When aligned, best practices in these three categories can support ELL students in overcoming variances in proficiency in their prior language and content knowledge. (more…)

Moving from Current Models of Teaching English Language Learners to New Learning Models Designed to Meet the Needs of All Students

March 3, 2018 by

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on December 18, 2017.  It is the second blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning. Read the first post here.

The previous blog explored the necessity of moving schools from one-size-fits-all structures to new learning models that can better serve ELL students. This blog will examine how current models of teaching and learning are leaving many ELL students behind.

First, we will unpack the designation of “English Language Learner” and the types of educational services these learners receive.

Who Are English Language Learners?

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Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners

February 16, 2018 by

This post originally appeared at iNACOL on December 11, 2017. It is the first blog in a series that explores the ideas in the iNACOL report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning

iNACOL’s recent report, Next Generation Learning Model for English Language Learners: Promising Practices and Considerations for Teaching and Learning, provides an in-depth analysis of how new models in learning can be leveraged in service of English language learner (ELL) students. The report explores the early stages of innovation in new school models serving ELL students and provides recommendations and lessons learned to build knowledge in the field of K-12 education. A key purpose of the research for the paper is to examine new pathways that offer students multiple opportunities to prepare them for future success and explore ways that educators are personalizing learning using advanced technologies to support and serve ELL students’ unique needs. (more…)

Taking a Minute to Reflect on Competency Education and ELL students

September 12, 2017 by

Why would a school serving high numbers of ELL students want to turn to competency education? As I visit schools serving students who are learning the English language while also learning academic skills, content, and the powerful higher order skills, I always seek further understanding about how competency education is being implemented to better serve English Language Learners.

Given the release of iNACOL’s new paper Next Generation Learning Models for English Language Learners by Natalie Troung, I thought I would take a minute to reflect back on what I’ve heard from educators over the past six years of visiting schools on behalf of CompetencyWorks. I realized as I revisited my conversations with educators that much of what has been shared certainly applies to any student.

From Flushing International High School in NYC

Power of intentionality and transparency impacts students and teachers. Principal Lara Evangelista explained the value of competency education, “We started along the path toward mastery-based learning when we began to ask ourselves why we assess. Why do we grade? We realized that every teacher did it differently. The transparency and intentionality of mastery-based learning makes a huge difference for our teachers and our students. Our teachers are much more intentional about what they want to achieve in their classrooms. It has also opened up the door to rich conversations about what is important for students to learn, pedagogy, and the instructional strategies we are using. For students, the transparency is empowering and motivating. They are more engaged in taking responsibility for their own education than ever before.”

Targeting conversations on learning and habits of success. The topic of how to help those students who are really struggling ran through the conversations. Math teacher Rosmery Milczewski explained that she was unsure at first, as she wasn’t familiar with mastery-based learning. “The thing that convinced me is that in the traditional grading systems, when a student would come and ask how they could do better in a class, all I could really say was study more,” she explained. “The grades didn’t guide me as a teacher. There was no way to help students improve. With mastery-based grading, we talk about specific learning outcomes. I know exactly how to help students and they know exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are. With mastery-based learningI am much more focused and goal-oriented when I’m conferring with students. In my advisory, mastery-based grading has changed how I talk to them about how they are doing in other classes. We always look at their work habits. That is going to tell you everything.”

Improving quality of learning experiences and assessing students. Assistant Principal Kevin Hesseltine noted, “Our projects are teacher-designed. The intentionality has made a huge difference on the quality of our project-based learning.” Wolf explained, “The question of how you judge what mastery is has made a huge difference for me. I don’t use quizzes any more. I would rather spend a day working on project with students than designing and grading a quiz.”

Finding ways to build successful learning experiences. For students who are really struggling, Jordan Wolf suggested that the key is seeking ways to build success, “Sometimes it is important to find small chunks that give a roadmap to success for students. In JumpRope (Flushing’s grading software), I can expand down to a much more granular level until I can find a place to focus in which the student can build success on one or two things. After they realize they can be successful, they’ll be willing to try a little more.” To make sure students get extra attention when they are having difficulties, a policy has been developed where a 1.7 triggers an intervention. There is also a policy for course extensions when students have not been able to reach all the learning outcomes. The expectation is that students will finish everything by the end of the following semester.

Helping teachers improve their own learning. Milczewski explained, “When I look at JumpRope and I see that a majority of students are having difficulty with a specific outcome, it tells me two things. One, I need to re-teach it, and two, I need to reflect on my own teaching to find a better way to reteach it.”

From Dual Immersion Academy (DIA) in District 51 Colorado

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Equity for ELs: Learning English in a Competency-Based System

August 2, 2017 by

Laureen Avery

Across the country, educators and policymakers are coming to the same conclusion: the structure of the traditional system is a barrier. The premise of competency education is that the traditional education structure, which is designed to sort students, can be replaced with one that is designed for every student to succeed. When we design for ensuring mastery, we have to build around equity and draw upon the research that informs us about how students learn best.

Chris Sturgis, 2017. In Pursuit of Equality: A Framework for Equity Strategies in Competency- Based Education.

Public education (and public educators) has made a promise that every student will have the opportunity to learn and develop the skills and competencies needed for success beyond high school. It is clear that traditional, established structures have broken this promise for many students, and it is imperative that the developing models of education address these past inequities as core elements in their fundamental structures and design.

English learners (ELs) are one of the groups that fared poorly under the traditional models. Next generation education models (personalized learning, blended learning, competency-based education, and others) are slowly developing an understanding of how to translate beliefs and values into actual practices that transform the core experience of education for English learners. Creating new models that work for English learners must move beyond the need for cultural awareness and into a deep knowledge of how to nurture proficiency in academic language.

iNACOL recently published the results of a broad-based information collection activity in “Next Generation Learning Models For English Language Learners” (Natalie Truong, June 2017). One of the promising practices highlighted was the use of language progressions to support students in a personalized, competency-based system. (more…)

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