It's the beginning of the year and I would argue that it is the time to develop relationships. This means with our students and also the content teachers we are supporting. Relationships are key because our students and teachers will be more receptive to what you have to offer and teach when there is a foundation of trust already established.
According to ascd.org, close relationships with teachers lead to higher levels of student engagement and achievement (Pianta, 1999). And relationships with colleagues are incredibly important because they contribute to a more positive school climate, states Hey Teach! To start building those relationships with your content teachers in your building, go check out Cultivating Relationships with Content Teachers for some concrete tips surrounding this.
Once your relationships are established with your content teachers, it's important to know the best ways to support them to ensure the success of your multilingual learners in the building. You may want to share these articles with them, organize a PD around some of their ideas, or just read them yourself and pull out ideas that resonate with you to coach them directly. Here are some that illustrate the importance of teaching language and content in classrooms, building equity for your MLLs, and some ideas to get you and your content teachers started.
1. What English learners need now by Sarah Ottow
Sarah Ottow gives us a pathway to building equity in our classrooms. Her article focuses on how to understand race and language, how to sharpen your equity lens, and how to use your voice as an advocate for civil rights. This is something that is not just the job of the ESL teacher, but all faculty in the building.
2. Growing language and literacy with Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld by Tan Huynh
Tan discusses the 5 principles from Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld's book, Growing Language and Literacy: Strategies for English Learners (Honigsfeld, 2019), as well as gives a great strategy to use in your classroom that integrates them.
3. 3 Cross-Curricular Techniques that Expand Thinking and Develop Language for English Learners by Valentina Gonzalez
Valentina reviews the key ingredients for language development and gives 3 strategies to start using tomorrow that include all 4 language domains: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. She includes options for either face-to-face or hybrid/online instruction.
4. Aren't All Teachers Language Teachers? by Jana Echevarria
Well, aren't they? Aren't we all teaching different language in our content areas? Yes! Here is a snippet from her article:
"Every content area — math, science, language, arts, history — requires students to use language in a particular way. For example, texts in social studies tend to use more expository writing which differs from a narrative story in English language arts that uses metaphor."
This is imperative for our content teachers to realize, and she goes deeper into how to plan your lessons to make sure language is being addressed.
5. Transforming the Resources You Have into Accessible Formats for All Students by Carmen Nguyen
Carmen reviews how to make a text more accessible to our MLLs, which is HUGE. She does this in 5 clear steps with visuals included.
I hope both you and your content teachers walk away from some of these resources with one more tool in your tool-belts. For more resources, check out my membership for high school teachers, My MLL Mentor.
I support middle and high school teachers through monthly lesson plans, coaching, and guest speaker offerings in our Secondary ESL Teacher Membership.