The Research on Supporting EL Students
While ELs are the most rapidly growing student subgroup, representing nearly 10% of public school students and speaking more than 400 different languages and dialects, over 30 states do not require EL training for general classroom teachers beyond what is required federally. Indeed, the research on teacher preparedness and self-efficacy for teaching ELs paints a bleak picture. Despite a strong likelihood of having an EL student in their classroom, teachers are often without the necessary training and support to meet the needs of a heterogeneous EL student population with unique educational needs related to developing both English language skills and building subject area knowledge. Accordingly, national data reveal many ELs have unmet academic potential, as evidenced by academic assessment results comparing the achievement of ELs to their non-EL peers.
How Teachers and Families Can Partner to Support EL Students’ Success
It is clear that we need to do more and do better at supporting the teachers who work with ELs each day. One way to do this is to help teachers build relationships and collaborate with the other key adults in their students’ lives: parents and caregivers. Parents can play a big role in supporting teachers by reinforcing classroom learning at home—and their engagement in a child’s learning has consistently been shown to make a positive difference on student outcomes. Moreover, ELs have diverse needs, and parents know their children best. They know their child’s motivators and their barriers and they support their child’s language development every day. Partnering with the “experts” who deeply understand their child’s unique strengths and struggles can help teachers ensure more ELs reach their potential.
How FASTalk Supports EL Students
Recognizing the opportunity to support EL families, students, and teachers, Family Engagement Lab intentionally designed and developed its family engagement tool, FASTalk (Families and Schools Talk).
Additional Resources to Engage Families and Support EL Students
For more information on how FASTalk can support your EL students, contact us today!
About the Author
Elisabeth O'Bryon is co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer at Family Engagement Lab. Elisabeth was previously the Director of Research and Evaluation at GreatSchools where she worked to design and implement evaluation projects, with a particular focus on rapid-cycle research approaches. Elisabeth recently co-authored 45 Strategies that Support Young Dual Language Learners, a resource that provides practical, developmentally appropriate strategies for supporting children and families from diverse backgrounds and creating inclusive early childhood classrooms that foster the success of young DLLs.