Sara Reale

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

About Me

Hi everyone!

My name is Sara and I am excited to work with all of you in this ETAP 623 class!

I am from Utica, New York and I am an itinerant English as a Second/New Language (ESL/ENL) teacher for the local BOCES. So far, I will be in two different school districts this year working with students of all grades and levels. I am going into my fifth year as a teacher and this is my second semester in the CDIT program.

I spent two years teaching English in Guatemala: the first year to 6th and 7th graders and the next year teaching adolescents and adults. I learned a lot of Spanish along the way and feel very confident in the language but would not consider myself fluent.

In my free time I enjoy:

  • reading
  • yoga
  • playing with my dog, Sophie
My dog Sophie!
  • listening to podcasts
  • spending time with my boyfriend
  • traveling


The intent of this course is to explain ENL in reference to education in a K-12 setting.

Topics that will be addressed:

  • What is ENL?
  • How do content area/grade level teachers support ELLs in their classroom?
  • What are best practices for co-teaching with ENL teachers?

Learning Outcomes

Learners will be able to:

  • identify acronyms associated with the field
  • understand what ENL encompasses and what it does not
  • identify appropriate methods of accommodations for various forms of assessment
  • identify co-teaching practices that promote student learning and equal collaboration between teachers

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 through this link.

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-Based 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

Task Analysis

Unit 1

What do I need to understand about English as a New Language?

  • The learner will understand the role of an ENL teacher.
  • The learner will identify acronyms common in the field of ENL that are pertinent to them and their students.
  • The learner will anticipate the capabilities of an ELL based on proficiency level.
  • The learner will create realistic expectations of an ELL based on known information (proficiency level, home life, cultural norms, etc.).

Unit 2

How can I adapt my lessons, activities, and assessments for the ELLs in my class?

  • The learner will identify methods to accommodate and scaffold activities and assessments at an elementary level.
  • The learner will identify methods to accommodate and scaffold activities and assessments at a secondary level.
  • The learner will justify accommodations for ELLs.
  • The learner will adapt an activity and an assessment for ELL students based on the given information (proficiency level).

Unit 3

How can I create or improve a co-teaching situation with an ENL teacher (or any co-teacher) that will be productive and effective for both teachers and students?

  • The learner will understand the various models of co-teaching currently identified.
  • The learner will watch a video to identify positive co-teaching practices.
  • The learner will reflect on the practices identified in the video for effectiveness.
  • The learner will select practices they could foresee themselves implementing and predict the impact it will have on the relationship between the other teacher and the class as a whole.
  • The learner will anticipate issues in a given situational response activity.
  • The learner will improve the situation by suggesting appropriate methods.

Curriculum Map

Please click on the following link to view the curriculum map. File:Curriculum Map ENL and Co-Teaching Mini Course.pdf