Curry School of Education

Share Your Tips & Resources

student at computer

We encourage you to post your ideas for helping ELLs (English Language Learners) advance their academic language proficiency. Add them to our Tips section. Links to useful resources or research are always welcome.

Share Your Tips...

Useful Links

The 21st Century Reality: Being Multilingual

Learning in a second language is not an easy task. Practically every school district across Virginia and the United States has seen an increase in the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) who must learn to speak and read English to be successful in our society. The scenarios we present here represent some of the basic challenges those students and their teachers face, based on a survey of practicing teachers. We invite you to propose strategies and compare your ideas to those recommended by a team of English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) experts and successful practitioners.

Scenarios - What Would You Do?

Although we recognize that each student is a unique individual, each of the scenarios here focuses on a challenge that is frequently encountered by teachers working with ELLs. How can you communicate with a student who doesn't speak much English? How can you help a person new to our culture adjust to our schools? What about the ELL parents? What if the student isn't making much progress? Watch these videos, consider the questions and write your answers. Then, compare your responses to answers proposed by our experts.

  • Scenario 1
  • Scenario 2
  • Scenario 3
  • Scenario 4

Trying to Communicate

Going to a new school is never easy. Newcomers to the USA with low English proficiency face daunting challenges just finding their classroom, let alone understanding content lessons.

Move to Scenario 1

School was Different

What does school mean?
What if, for most of your life, you had been told you weren't allowed to go to school? What if school were a place where the teachers would hit you?

Move to Scenario 2

A Struggling ELL

Seeing a child fail to thrive in a class is painful for a teacher. "How can I help her?" we ask ourselves. If the student is a non-native speaker, the puzzle is even more difficult. Is it language or is there something else?

Move to Scenario 3

ELL Parent Dilemmas

Parents want their children to succeed. When families emigrate to the United States, they have often sacrificed a great deal to seek a better life for their children, but they must cope with a new language and an unfamiliar educational system. How can teachers work with these parents to meet their common goal: success and a good life for the children?

Move to Scenario 4