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Helping English Learners Rise to the Challenge of Complex Texts


The idea that secondary English language learner (ELL) students can master rigorous academic content quickly and deeply goes against much accepted wisdom in the field.

However, WestEd’s Aída Walqui and her colleagues have spent the past 14 years developing and helping educators implement an instructional approach with exactly that goal.

“Traditionally educators have believed that it takes seven years for ELL students to master the discourse, syntax, grammar, and other mechanics of English, and then, after that, they are ready to learn complex academic content,” says Walqui, Director of WestEd’s Teacher Professional Development program, which houses the Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) initiative.

“But middle school and high school ELL students don’t have the luxury of seven years to accomplish that—and our experience shows that, with expert support from their teachers, that much time is not needed.”

Download this free article to learn about QTEL’s approach, which works on the premise that students will rise to the challenge of rigorous subject matter if it sparks their interest, if they receive appropriate support, and if academic content and academic English language skills are taught simultaneously, as a single, integrated process.

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Copyright: 2014
Format: PDF
Pages: 3
Publisher: WestEd