3 Helpful Resources for Teaching English Learners

November 30th, 2016

Category: News, Policy and Practice, Student-Centered Learning


Did you know that more than 11,000 English learner students attend Delaware schools, representing more than 100 different languages?

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Bishop, an English as a Second Language teacher in the Brandywine School District who also serves as treasurer and membership chair of Delaware English Language Learners Teachers and Advocates (DELLTA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the English-learner population in Delaware. Jen highlighted three ways that all teachers with English learners in their class can access additional resources.

  1. Visit the WIDA Consortium website. Delaware is a member of the WIDA Consortium, which designs and implements proficiency standards and assessments for English learners in grades K-12. The membership provides Delaware teachers with free Educator Resources and a detailed library that includes webinars specific to Delaware.
  1. Ask whether your district utilizes over-the-phone interpreter services. For instance, Brandywine School District uses CTS Language Link. This can be an incredibly helpful resource for fostering family engagement. For instance, Jen uses the service during for parent-teacher meetings with parents who do not understand, speak, or read English.
  1. Connect with DELLTA. Email Jen Bishop if you would like to be added to the DELLTA mailing list to receive information about upcoming meetings. Check out their website or Facebook page for resources, information about becoming a DELLTA member, and more about the organization’s goals, which include:
    • To advocate for appropriate legislation, sufficient funding, and community involvement for English learners throughout the state of Delaware
    • To create an awareness and appreciation of the contributions that linguistic minorities bring to Delaware and the nation
    • To promote and support the professional development of educators of English learners
    • To recognize the achievements of linguistic minority students through scholarship grants
    • To provide opportunities for group study and discussions of challenges educators of English learners encounter
    • To assist as a resource in posting the latest educational English learner research

Extra Credit: Did you know that a guiding coalition of parents, community representatives, district subject matter experts, and the Department of Education has developed draft recommendations for the future of English learner instruction in Delaware known as the “English Learner Strategic Plan?” Read the draft plan, submit your input via an online survey, and learn more about upcoming community feedback meetings here on the Delaware Department of Education’s website.

Neil Kirschling




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