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For ELLs, What Does Effective Instruction Look Like?

Answering that complex and urgent question is an unmet challenge that authors, in a hot-off-the-presses issue of American Educator, take a crack at answering (and acknowledging when they can't).

The summer issue of the quarterly publication from the American Federation of Teachers is focused on English-learners. It explores what the research tells us so far about what works and what doesn't in effective instruction, and identifies the questions that still haven't been adequately examined.

The lineup of articles includes an overview of current research that lays out what is known to be good instruction for helping ELLs acquire academic content. Another piece presents more than a dozen guidelines meant to help teachers better understand what makes for effective English-language development instruction. And another looks at how early-childhood educators can build on home languages to develop bilingual, biliterate children.

Claude Goldenberg, an education professor at Stanford University, is the lead author of the issue.

If the last time the magazine focused on instruction for this population of students is any indication, this new issue will be widely read and will have a long tail. (That's Web parlance for when content, regardless of when it was published, keeps getting visits and downloads.) A 2008 issue of the magazine that featured a Goldenberg article on ELLs continues to be among the most visited, AFT folks tell me.

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