Effective Practices for Developing the Literacy Skills of English Language Learners in the English Language Arts Classroom
- Turkan, Sultan; Bicknell, Jerome; Croft, Andrew
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- English language learners, ELLs, understanding teaching quality, literacy skills, English language arts, English language arts classrooms
This paper is a review of literature presenting instructional strategies—based on normative as well as empirical arguments—which have proven to be effective in envisioning what all teachers need to know and be able to do to teach English language arts (ELA) to English language learners (ELLs). The studies selected for review address what is particular to teaching ELA to ELLs. The paper is divided into two main sections: (a) teachers’ linguistic practices and (b) teachers’ pedagogical practices. In the first section, we report on the studies that analyze teachers’ understanding of linguistics and present implications for their instruction of ELLs. Three areas of effective practice are emphasized based on the particular aspects of teaching ELA to ELLs. The first area is that teachers should recognize that literacy skills in ELLs’ native languages might influence the ways in which ELLs process linguistic information in English. The second area highlights the argument that teachers should find ways to facilitate ELLs’ mastery of academic vocabulary. The third area covers the significance of enhancing ELLs’ metacognitive reading skills. In the second section, on teacher pedagogical practices, we discuss two broad pedagogical skills that emerge from both the normative and empirical studies reviewed and are closely related: (a) the teachers’ ability to help ELLs construct meaning from the texts or speech represented in the ELA classroom and (b) the teachers’ ability to engage ELLs in actively learning to read and write. The paper ends with a summary and a brief reflective statement on the limitations of the review of the literature.