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Is It True That Language Lessons Are Good for All Kids?

An elementary school in Sterling, Va., has implemented strategies for teaching English-language learners schoolwide and found them to be beneficial for all students, according to an article published this month in the The Washington Post. The article describes how Sugarland Elementary School in Loudoun County schools in Virginia has implemented the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, a professional development approach for training teachers to work with ELLs that has swept the country. At Sugarland, the teachers implement the model by emphasizing the teaching of vocabulary, hands-on interaction, and partner work. (Hat tip to Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day.)

SIOP has generally been used as an approach to help middle and high school teachers to reach ELLs in regular content classes. It's interesting that an elementary school has adopted it, let alone one that it is using it with all students.

Some teachers have told me that not all students, particularly at the high school level, appreciate having to focus on language, such as doing extra vocabulary lessons, in class. They recognize some strategies are designed for ELLs and don't want to cooperate with them.

Readers, have any of you met resistance from non-ELLs in making your regular academic content more accessible to ELLs? What's been your experience in carrying out language lessons in a class that has a mix of ELLs and non-ELLs?

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