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Stories about English Language Learners

By Lory Hough 08/23/2016 6:00 PM EDT
Have ESL, Will Travel
For many adults, trying to learn English can be challenging, as Heidi Larson, Ed.M.’04, and the Ed School students she mentored last year found out. Some adults don’t have access to English-language learner (ELL) classes because of cost or distance. Others have access but, given the busyness of their lives, can’t attend classes on a regular basis or focus fully on the material. However, one thing most adult learners can easily access is a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. Knowing this, Larson started working last fall with students in two of Professor Chris Dede’s technology classes...
By Lory Hough 08/23/2016 5:15 PM EDT
Study Skills: Gladys Aguilar, Ph.D.
Growing up, Gladys Aguilar spoke in two worlds: Spanish at home with her parents, who had moved to the United States from Mexico when she was a toddler, and English at school in Los Angeles. The two worlds rarely mixed. So when Aguilar’s homeroom teacher asked her to give the sixth-grade graduation speech, the 11-year-old wrote it the way she had every other school assignment: in English. “My teacher read the speech and said, ‘Great. Now write it in Spanish.’ I was so surprised and reminded her that I speak English. She said something beautiful, something that changed who I was: ‘Of course I...
By Andrew Bauld 07/28/2016 1:05 PM EDT
Yefei Jin
The careers that HGSE alumni pursue in education once they have graduated are varied. And, for many new alums, their next steps begin to take shape long before they have left Appian Way. In this new series, Up Next, we check in with several alumni from the class of 2016 — all working on new projects that were born or developed at the Ed School — as they innovate, build, and create. School can be a daunting experience for many students without also adding the additional hurdle of learning in a language not your own. But for over 5 million English-language learners (ELL), that is exactly the...
By Andrew Bauld 02/23/2016 3:37 PM EST
Hollyburn Elementry, a K–7 public school in West Vancouver, British Columbia, has the enviable position of being located in the top-performing school district in Canada. Still, the school faces a unique set of circumstances. Its population — primarily composed of recent Chinese, Korean, and Iranian immigrants — is transient, with 40 to 60 new students a year in a total school population of around 220. Further, the student body includes 53 percent ESL students, with 21 percent of students speaking no English at all. So, how can Hollyburn provide a superior education to all students equally...
By Leah Shafer 01/11/2016 12:53 PM EST
Language and literacy expert Catherine Snow has one piece of advice for principals, superintendents, policymakers, and every aspiring educator: It all comes down to reading. “Every other initiative that leaders might undertake is less important than making sure that the students in the schools learn how to read,” she says. But a school devoted to literacy ought to envision more than just sustained, quiet, independent reading, suggests Snow, who leads an intensive mini-course this month at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on what education leaders need to know about how kids learn to...
By 10/01/2015 4:20 PM EDT
Bilingualism as a Life Experience
By Newseditor 05/18/2011 2:48 PM EDT
Moise Derosier
Moise Derosier is passionate about the education of English Language Learners (ELLs). This zeal -- which the Haiti native says originated with his personal experience as an ELL -- drove him to take a leave of absence from his job in West Palm Beach, Fla., as a high school math teacher of ELLs to come to HGSE and study programs and policies related to access. “Moise exemplifies with distinction the qualities of the students and graduates of the International Education Policy (IEP) Program,” said Professor Fernando Reimers, director of IEP. “His commitment to serving the most disadvantaged, his...
By Newseditor 05/13/2011 4:19 PM EDT
Alum Named Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools
We asked our Facebook fans to tell us what one question they would ask an Ed School faculty member if given the opportunity. The one we chose for this issue was from Maria Marimar. Maria Marimar: How is Obama’s education policy working for English language learners? Associate Professor Nonie Lesaux: The Obama administration has certainly been focused on education reform, but I don’t know of a policy that focuses explicitly on English language (EL) learners. While federal education legislation during the last administration focused on the important goal of improving young children’s...
By Ruth E. C. Prince 07/25/2010 11:01 AM EDT
the word language on a book
Many children who enter kindergarten with few English language skills successfully learn to read and comprehend text during the early grades. They also acquire oral English language skills that enable them to communicate effectively with their teachers and classmates. When these students reach the upper elementary years, however, many of them lack the necessary academic language skills to work with higher grade-level texts. As a result, English language learners may score in the 80th percentile on a word reading test, but in just the 19th percentile on a test of reading comprehension. In a...
By Newseditor 03/03/2010 10:59 AM EST
Maria Martiniello
Maria Martiniello, Ed.M.'97, C.A.S.'98, Ed.D.'07, was named the second place winner in the 2010 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Outstanding Dissertation Competition. She will receive the award at the AAHHE Conference this week in Costa Mesa, Calif. A panel of experts in higher education selected Martiniello's HGSE dissertation, "Linguistic Complexity and Differential Item Functioning (DIF) for English Language Learners (ELL) in Math Word Problems" for its contributions and efforts as an agent of change in improving education. Martiniello's research examined whether math...