English as a New Language: The Basics, Accommodations, and Co-teaching

Sara Reale's Portfolio Page | ETAP 623 Fall 2019

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Overview and Purpose

Are you a classroom teacher and have students in your class that English is not their first language? Are you looking for ways to accommodate these students in your lessons, activities, and assessments? Are you working with an English as a New Language teacher within the same classroom and want to get more out of the co-teaching experience? This course address each of these topics appropriate for teacher in elementary, middle, or high school settings. The world of English as a New Language has a vast amount of information, but this course is designed to consolidate the need to know information for classroom teachers. Throughout this course, we will work to build your general understanding of English as a New Language (Section 1), ability to adapt curriculum and course material for language learners (Section 2), and approach towards creating a productive and effective co-teaching situation (Section 3).

While these units do build off of each other and work together to deepen your knowledge of English as a New Language, they can also be used in isolation if the learner specifically needs one unit of study.

Needs Assessment


When considering the requirements set by the New York State Department of Education under CR Part 154-2 (K-8) and (9-12) English as a New Language (ENL) Units of Study and Staffing Requirements, both content area and ENL teachers have the obligation to provide integrated instruction to all proficiency level ELLs. This mandate has been in place since 2014-2015. "With ENL teachers and General education teachers having minimal training in co-teaching strategies, the teamwork and appropriate delivery of instruction becomes a challenge." (Michaelian, 2017) This challenge that Michaelian describes is one that both General Education(GE) and ENL teachers face every year. This mini-course is designed to address this challenge and provide resources and strategies that both GE and ENL teachers can utilize to have a more successful co-teaching experience. Besides co-teaching strategies, this course also provides resources and information regarding what the field of ENL entails and how to scaffold instruction, class work, and assessments for ELLs.

Gather Information

In order to determine the need for this mini-course, a survey of 10 questions was sent out to teachers one of the districts that I service, along with the classmates from a graduate course. The district is relatively small, having a total of 15 elementary grade teachers for K-6. The survey was sent to all 15 grade teachers, and nine responses were received from my colleagues and four from classmates. The purpose of this mini-course, and thus the survey, is for educators to walk away with a better understanding of what ENL is about, how to adapt their classes, assignments, and assessments for ELLs in their classes, and how to effectively co-teach with an ENL teacher. Therefore, I focused on sending the survey out primarily to teachers, not administrators, in order to assess the need among current educators.

The survey that was sent out can be viewed here: File:English as a New Language and Co-teaching - Google Forms.pdf.

Survey Results

Based on the feedback from the survey, I was able to get a better understanding of teachers views on co-teaching, how often they accommodate ELLs and if they have access to resources, and how well they understand the various terms and levels associated with ENL. Of those that responded, nine stated that they had a low to mid level understanding of the proficiency levels of ELLs (entering, emerging, transitioning, expanding, commanding) and ten stated that having a better understanding of these levels would beneficial to their planning and instruction. Furthermore, 11 respondents indicated that they do not think they have the necessary knowledge and resources available on a daily basis or for assessment purposes. When asked to give their understanding of co-teaching and what it looks like, common phrases and responses included "working together", "two teachers planning and teaching alongside each other", "collaborate", and "differentiate". This tells me that teachers may have a good, basic understanding of what teachers know about co-teaching, but I think this mini-course will present ideas of what is should look like and how to do these things that they listed. Often times we learn what we are supposed to do, but not necessarily how to do it, and do it effectively. While 13 of the respondents are willing to truly share their classrooms with the co-teacher, 12 of them also expressed that having a better understanding of co-teaching and its best practices would make them more willing and comfortable in co-teaching situations.

Performance Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the terminology related to the ENL field through matching acronyms to explanations
  • Explain how the proficiency level of an ELL will impact accommodations and expectations
  • Reflect on and compare their personal views of co-teaching before and after taking the course
  • Justify the use of accommodations for ELLs by responding to a variety of scenarios

Course Sections

This mini-course includes the following sections and lessons. Click the title of a lesson to go to its page.

Section 1: The Basics

Section objective:

The learner will incorporate understandings of proficiency levels to create appropriate goals and expectations of English Language Learners.

Lesson 1: Terminology and the ENL Teacher

Lesson Objective:

Learner will identify acronyms and proficiency levels associated with English as a New language and understand the role of an ENL teacher for their classroom and school.

Lesson 2: How can I set level appropriate goals for my ELLs

Lesson objective:

Learner will anticipate the capabilities of an ELL based on proficiency level and create realistic expectations for their ELLs.

Section 2: Accommodations

Section objective:

Learner will adapt lesson plans, activities, and assessments based on their knowledge and understanding of Section 1.

Lesson 3: What accommodations exist for ELLs

Lesson objective:

Learners will identify accommodations associated with proficiency levels for primary and secondary grade levels.

Learner will identify accommodations for ELLs as a whole as well as ways to adjust for proficiency level.

Lesson 4: How can I use these strategies to make logical adaptations to my lessons

Lesson objective:

Learners will adapt sample lessons and assessments and justify their use based on their knowledge from lessons 1-3.

Section 3: Co-Teaching

Lesson 5: What does effective and positive co-teaching look like

Lesson objective:

Learners will understand the various ways co-teaching can be implemented and positive conditions associated with effective co-teaching situations.

Lesson 6: How can these strategies be used for co-teaching situations new or existing

Lesson objective:

Learners will identify positive and negative attributes of co-teaching scenarios, reflect on the benefits of co-teaching, and justify improvements to undesirable co-teaching situations.