Tag Archives: Language in the Classroom

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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Sharing Power for Authentic and Effective Language Study

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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.  


Sharing Power for Authentic and Effective Language Study

Adapted from Celebrating Diversity Through Language Study

by Jen McCreight


A critical component of language study is to share power with students and families. While teachers typically hold the most power in classrooms, and while their expertise is essential to moving classroom learning forward, language study is a platform for instruction that encourages you, your students, and their families to share this power, and for all to become more active participants in the classroom. If children feel their teachers and peers value their ideas, consider their perspectives, and share academic and social power with them, they are more likely to focus on and learn the information at hand.

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Dual Language Education in the Era of Minority-Majority

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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.


Adapted from Dual Language Education: Program Design and Implementation  by Sonia Soltero

What sets dual language apart from all other language programs is the opportunity to develop biliteracy and cross-cultural competencies alongside speakers of both English and another language. Because the languages and cultures represented in the school and community are seen as assets, everyone comes to the table with valuable contributions. This type of additive education embraces diversity and creates linguistic and cultural bridges between diverse groups.

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5 Ways to Use Liberation Literacies in Your Classroom: Practical Strategies

el_colors2-copyThis 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.


In the first part of this two-part blog, Jamilia Lyiscott introduced liberation literacies pedagogy. You can find it here.


5 Ways to Use Liberation Literacies in Your Classroom: Practical Strategies

By Jamila Lyiscott


Begin the year with a Literate Identity Assessment of each student 

One of the goals of Liberation Literacies as a pedagogical framework is for students and teachers to find and employ agency within the stifling constraints of most classrooms, such as the pressures of teaching to the test. Within Liberation Literacies pedagogy teachers challenge the goals of assessments in their classrooms so that alongside the mandate of rigid exams are a series of assessments beginning on the first day of school to better understand the background knowledge, interests, and learning needs of each student as necessary for shaping curriculum. A Literate Identity Assessment at the beginning of the year can include the following prompt along with one or two others:

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Liberation Literacies: Teaching for Social Justice

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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.


Liberation Literacies: Teaching for Social Justice 

By Jamila Lyiscott


Students: “Miss, we can’t be speakin’ in class like we speak in the hood. We leave that stuff at the door”

Me: “Why?”

Students: “‘Cause it’s not proper”

Me: “Why?”

Students: “‘Cause….”  

“I refuse to accept a world where my language is deemed worthless in the classroom while it clearly has the power to garner billions for a private corporation.” —Me

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