In schools across the United States, the presence of English learners in mainstream classrooms is commonplace. But do ordinary classroom teachers have the knowledge and abilities to support these learners?
Researchers Tamara Lucas, Ana María Villegas, and Margaret Freedson wanted to give teachers a roadmap for effective teaching of ELs. And they knew it was critical that teacher educators better prepare future teachers to serve this growing population.
They surveyed a vast body of research about English language learning to gain a clear sense of what mainstream classroom teachers should know and be able to do in order to teach English learners well. In the paper that resulted, they distilled six principles — a linguistic foundation for the teaching of English learners in mainstream classes. Those principles are excerpted here.