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Wisconsin Schools: Moving Away from ESL Pull-Out Programs

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The Delavan-Darien public schools in Wisconsin are shifting their approach to teaching English-language learners. Rather than having teachers pull English-language learners out of mainstream classes to help them with English, as had been the practice until recently, the district is supporting collaboration between regular teachers and English-as-a-second-language teachers in the children's regular classes, according to a Jan. 2 article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Schools across the state are embracing a more inclusive approach for ELLs, according to an official from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction quoted in the article.

I saw some of the benefits of this approach when I observed ELLs in St. Paul schools in Minnesota last school year. In one class, the mainstream teacher seemed to have as many techniques up his sleeve for working with ELLs as the ESL teacher with whom he collaborated. One benefit is that the two teachers can learn from each other. They can also use the same materials and reinforce each other's lessons. See "Team Teaching Helps Close Language Gap."

Find some tips for inclusion for ELLs here in a research brief published by the principals' partnership, a program of the Union Pacific Foundation.

1 Comment

I think Wisconsin is doing a smart thing. As a teacher previously in California, I saw no need for taking the students out of the classroom when having another teacher more fluent in Spanish could be in the room to help when the lessons were being presented.The students will feel more inclusive. My students never went out for ESL. I taught it ( we were required to teach ESL) because of our student population.

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