English-language learners - or ELs - are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student population, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Nearly five million English learners in grades K through 12 enrolled in U.S. schools during the 2014 to 2015 school year.
ELs comprise about 10 percent of the student population nationwide. That figure has more than doubled in the past few decades. In many schools, districts and states, ELs are an even higher percentage of the student population.
EL students are not just a group of people who speak a language other than English. They represent a diverse range of cultures, countries and backgrounds. ELs - like all students - are already at different proficiency levels in English or language arts, math, science and other subjects when they enroll in your school. But ELs not only deal with the culture shock of being in new learning and social environments. Some also have disabilities that require an added layer of care to ensure they get the best education possible.
The goal of the new Exceptional Child online course, English Learners and Instructional Strategies, is to provide school staff with an overview of the challenges faced by their students who are learning English. We'll provide solutions to help you better address the academic and social needs of EL students in the general education classroom.
You'll also receive guidance in how to properly identify and get the appropriate help for an EL student if he or she has a learning disability. We'll explore:
Claudia Rinaldi, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and serves as Chair of the Education Department at Lasell College. Her research addresses the implementation of Response to Intervention (RTI) and Multi-Tier System of Support (MTSS) in urban settings, English-language learners and teacher preparation that responds to the growing diversity in urban schools. Her experience engages educators in how to improve systems and instructional practices for students with reading difficulties who may be at-risk for failure, or those who are English-language learners and may have mild and moderate disabilities.