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Rice University

Academic Success for English Learners

Rice University via Coursera

Overview

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This course is designed for early career teachers (0-3 years of experience) to build a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to work with English learners, no matter the age or subject taught. We’ll start off by learning about the importance of specialized instruction for ELs and principles that teachers should follow to set the stage for their academic. Next, we’ll expand on the concepts from module 1 and explore practical steps for teachers in the classroom, including how to make linguistic and instructional accommodations for ELs. We take a deeper dive into techniques for teachers and present strategies for students to bolster their own academic success in module 3. The course wraps up with module 4, which is all about facilitating academic success for special groups of English learners, including gifted students, long-term English learners, and ELs with disabilities. Throughout this course, you will watch instructional videos, read scholarly articles, participate in discussion boards, and complete assignments that will encourage you to think about your practices as a teacher of ELs. Finally, you will complete this course with a treasure trove of practical classroom activities and tips for fostering academic success with English learners. By participating in this course, teachers will be better prepared to serve the English learners in their classrooms through sheltered instruction principles, effective lesson planning and assessment practices, purposefully reflecting on teaching, and understanding the unique challenges faced by this group of students.

Syllabus

  • Setting the Stage for Success
    • In Module 1, you will learn how to set the stage for academic success for English Learners. You’ll be introduced to the fundamentals of sheltered instruction. We'll explore factors that may affect the foundation of an EL’s academic success such as the classroom affective filter, engaging ELs’ families in their education and teacher expectations. You will be able identify the key components of a quality lesson plan within a sheltered instruction model. We wrap up the module by reflecting on your own experiences writing lesson plans for ELs and engaging their families. Learners will be required to evaluated a sheltered instruction lesson plan for best practices.
  • Principles in Practice
    • Module 2 is all about putting the principles of sheltered instruction into action. We'll learn a number of different strategies to make linguistic and instructional accommodations for ELs in the classroom. You’ll discover the importance of output for ELs and different ways to encourage it. We'll introduce the five principles of assessment. You will gain awareness of different factors affecting the assessment of ELs such as language barriers and the need for ongoing informal assessment. We wrap up the module by reflecting on your experiences with accommodating instruction and designing assessment tools for ELs. Learners will be required to analyze teaching videos for appropriate use of linguistic and instructional accommodations in a sheltered instruction environment.
  • Strategies for Students and Techniques for Teachers
    • In module 3, we introduce a number of techniques for teachers to use with ELs, including Complex Instruction, Universal Design for Learning, multimodal materials, and more. We will learn about the characteristics of a reflective teacher. You'll discover different tools and data sources to help you reflect on your teaching practices. You'll understand the benefits of teaching students to use metacognitive and language learning strategies. We wrap up the module by reflecting on your experience with the techniques and tools discussed in the lessons. Learners will be required to identify metacognitive and language learning strategies in action.
  • Academic Success for Special Groups of ELs
    • The final module in the course aims to educate course participants about working with three special groups of ELs: gifted ELs, long-term English learners, and ELs with disabilities. We will share common characteristics from research about each group as well as best practices for supporting them in the classroom. You will learn about some of the unique challenges involved in the identification process, instruction, and assessment for these special groups as well. The module wraps up by reflecting on your experience working with gifted ELs and ELs with disabilities. Learners will be required to create a lesson plan to effectively engage LTELs in the classroom.

Taught by

Rachel Kraut, Ph.D. and Alice Llanos

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