Tag Archives: Julie Nora

PLC Series: Focus on the Strengths of Your ELs

Welcome back to the Heinemann Professional Development Professional Learning Community (PLC) series. We are excited to present a new format for the 2017-2018 year! 

Each month, we'll share 2 posts designed to provoke thinking and discussion, through a simple framework, incorporating mini-collections of linked content into your professional development time. 

This month, our posts will challenge us to examine literacy practices so we can be more inclusive of students who speak varieties of English as well those learning English.

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After discovering a pattern of deficit thinking about her child’s reading struggles, Cohort 1 Heinemann Fellow Lisa Birno embarked on action research to investigate instructional strategies that would “increase equity and engagement through the use of purposeful talk”.

In this post on the Heinemann blog, Lisa tells the story of how she began critically examine patterns of deficit language we sometimes use to describe learners. She writes, “In order to make sense of why the child isn’t learning the way we expect, our deficit language kicks in and it damns every child we use it on.”

Take a few moments to read her post and think about a time you recall defaulting to deficit-thinking, whether it be with a student, a family member, or yourself. What phrases of deficit language dominate this memory?

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Breaking the Cycle of Limiting English Learners’ Potential

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This week on the Heinemann blog, we’re sharing a series on Language in the Classroom. The series was inspired by an article published by NPR on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, on the ways we teach English Learners in our country. While the NPR article was specific to English Learners, our hope is to use that as a jumping off point to broader topics of language instruction in the classroom. Each day this week we will feature articles, excerpts and insights directly from Heinemann authors and affiliates that further the conversation surrounding language diversity in the classroom, the challenges it presents, and what we know works.  


Breaking the Cycle of Limiting English Learners' Potential

adapted from No More Low Expectations for English Learners.

By Julie Nora and Jana Echevarria


Too often English Learners (ELs)—the students in our schools who are in the process of learning English —are described by what they cannot do: they cannot speak English, they are not prepared for mainstream classrooms, they do not understand the culture of schools in the United States, their parents don’t speak English and cannot help them with their schoolwork, they do not do as well academically, and so on. Even the official term limited English proficient consigns these students’ academic identity into a negative label of diminished capacity. These feelings are only increased by standardized tests and teacher evaluation, and we become trapped in a cycle of limiting potential. Of course, there are real challenges in teaching English learners in a language they have not yet mastered. Teachers need to use a variety of strategies to scaffold instruction. Many teachers of ELs have good intentions but lack specific knowledge on the complexities of teaching grade-level contents and language. There are many well-intentioned teachers whose teaching practices unintentionally communicate low expectations and deny English learners access to the education we want for them and that they deserve. Keep in mind, we deny English learners access when we:

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How English Learners Elevate Learning in the Classroom

English Learners are often seen through a deficit lens, particularly in mainstream classrooms in which teachers have little or no training in how to meet their needs. In No More Low Expectations for English Learners, esteemed EL researcher Jana Echevarría argues that teacher attitude affects student achievement, and describes what best practice methods for supporting ELs academic achievement look like.  Julie Nora, an educator and advocate, offers strategies to provide the instructional supports ELs need for both language acquisition and content-area learning.ntbt-el-aug31

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How Can Teachers Address the Needs of English Language Learners

English Learners are seen through a deficit lens, particularly in mainstream classrooms in which teachers have little or no training in how to meet their needs. In No More Low Expectations for English Learners, esteemed EL researcher Jana Echevarría argues that teacher attitude affects student achievement, and describes what best practice methods for supporting ELs academic achievement look like.  Julie Nora, an educator and advocate, offers strategies to provide the instructional supports ELs need for both language acquisition and content-area learning.ntbt-el-aug31

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The Ways We Deny English Learners Access

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Too often in classrooms, we describe English Learners by what they cannot do rather than by what they can do. Particularly in mainstream classrooms—in which teachers have little or no training in how to meet their needs—English Learners are seen through a deficit lens.

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Julie Nora On The Results of Her Action Research As A Heinemann Fellow

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by Julia Nora

Over the course of the 2014–15 school year, as an inaugural member of the Heinemann Fellows, I conducted action research that focused on integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into teaching and learning in meaningful ways. (You can read more about this work here)

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