« Undocumented Immigrants Banned from N.C. Community Colleges | Main | Schooling to Be Included at New Family Detention Centers »

Unprepared in Idaho, Too

Earlier this month I reported on how a legislative audit in Kansas found that many mainstream teachers in that state felt unprepared to teach English-language learners. It seems that teachers of English as a second language or bilingual education in Idaho think their mainstream colleagues aren't well-prepared either to teach ELLs, according to findings from a survey, "Teachers' Perceptions of ELL Education," published in Multicultural Education. (I picked this up from TESOL in the News.)

The Kansas audit surveyed mainstream teachers in their second or third year of teaching. By contrast, the Idaho findings, researched by Ellen G. Batt, of the Albertson College of Idaho, are based on survey responses of 102 teachers who hold endorsements to teach bilingual education or ESL and are thus specialists in working with ELLs in Idaho.

When asked, "What are the three greatest challenges you face in educating ELLs?" 20 percent of Idaho respondents cited their nonspecialist colleagues' lack of knowledge and skills in educating ELLs as one of their greatest challenges. One respondent wrote: "The problem in our school is that the mainstream teachers and administrators don't understand [ELLs'] needs and how to teach them."

The Idaho survey also asked the specialists what their own personal needs were for professional development to work better with ELLs. The top six priorities for professional development ranked by the teachers were parent involvement, ESL curriculum development, Spanish-language class, first- and second-language literacy methods, sheltered English instruction (in which teachers modify their use of English to make it more understandable for ELLs), ESL methods, and knowledge on how to establish a center for immigrants who are newcomers.

If any of you live in states that you feel are on the cutting edge in preparing mainstream teachers or specialists to work with ELLs, let me know what's going on. I'd like to report on those efforts.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more