Teaching English Learners - Part 1: Supporting Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations

Beth Melton

Beginning this year, core content educators in Colorado are required to complete ELL-specific professional learning in order to renew their license. You can read more information about these requirements here.

The Colorado Department of Education has identified 4 areas in which teachers need to be proficient in order to support English Learners. In this post, I share some ideas related to the first standard: Educators are knowledgeable about culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Check back for information relating to the other 3 standards.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations

Supporting opportunity and access for English Learners is critical. Beyond language barriers, ELL students often experience racism, discrimination, and cultural differences that can detract from their success in school, and most of them are with teachers who have not had similar experiences. It is critical for us as teachers to understand how we can provide support for all of the students in our classes to ensure that they feel supported.

In our rural schools, we often only have a few students who are immigrants or English Learners. Several months ago, I wrote about the idea of diversity and multiculturalism in rural schools. You can find that blog post here, it contains several resources to help you think about the idea of diversity and multiculturalism in the classroom.

Teaching Tolerance has a great set of resources for educators to understand what "anti-bias education" looks like. They outline four areas of critical practices for anti-bias education: InstructionClassroom Culture, Family and Community Engagement, and Teacher Leadership. I invite you to explore these practices and consider how you might integrate them into your classroom to ensure that all students have equitable access.

Click on the links that follow to view each post in this series-- part 1: supporting culturally and linguistically diverse populations, part 2: language acquisition, part 3: literacy development and part 4: access to content