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California To Create Teaching Credential for Secondary ELLs

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has decided to create a new teaching credential for teachers looking to provide English-language-development instruction at the secondary level. Many ELLs in junior high or high school in California take a separate ELD class in addition to their regular English/language arts class. The new credential would aim to prepare teachers to teach those special ELD classes.

Paula Jacobs, an ELL consultant to the commission, explained that while regular English/language arts classes typically teach students about literature, ELD classes commonly help students to understand the different kinds of language used in various content areas and support their developing literacy. (The way I think of it is that the ELD class has more of a communicative approach to English.)

The secondary ELD credential is a new option for teacher preparation that the commission approved at a Sept. 30 meeting and hopes will be rolled out at least by the fall of 2012, said Teri Clark, an administrator for the commission, which is independent from the California Department of Education. She said foreign-language teachers as well as English teachers are likely candidates to get the credential.

It seems to me that a teaching credential focused on secondary ELL students is quite unusual. I can't think of any other state that has one. States such as Maryland and Virginia provide a PreK-12 credential to work with ELLs.

The commission also decided at its September meeting to review current requirements for preparing elementary school teachers to work with ELLs and see how those requirements could be strengthened.

California has 1.5 million ELLs, more than any other state. Readers, let me know if you've heard of a state that has a focused credential for working with secondary ELLs.

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