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Teaching English Language Learner Students: Professional Standards in Elementary Education in Central Region States

by Helen Apthorp, Louis Cicchinelli, Susan Ryan and Xin Wang

This report on professional teaching standards in the Central Region examines what K-8 general education teachers are expected to know and be able to do in order to teach English language learner students. It reviews the standards for coverage of six topics that the research literature suggests are important for improving student achievement. Key findings include: (1) All seven Central Region states include knowledge and skills for teaching English language learner (ELL) students in their teaching standards, referencing at least two topics: differentiating instruction to accommodate the learning needs of ELL students and communicating with students and families for whom English is not their native language; (2) Five states (Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming) reference recognizing and supporting diverse language backgrounds; four states (Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) reference knowing theories of second language acquisition and related strategies of support; (3) No states reference selecting materials or curricula to accommodate the learning needs of ELL students; and (4) The number of ELL-related topics in each state's standards ranges from two to five. Colorado and Nebraska reference two (differentiating instruction and communicating with students and families). Missouri references one additional topic (recognizing and supporting diverse language backgrounds), while North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming reference two additional topics (recognizing and supporting diverse language backgrounds and knowing theories of second language acquisition and related strategies of support). Finally, Kansas references one additional topic (assessing students' language status and development), for a total of five topics. Appended are: (1) Describing the six English language learner topics; (2) Data and methodology; and (3) State profiles. (Contains 2 boxes, 3 tables and 8 notes.) [For the summary report, "Teaching English Language Learner Students: Professional Standards in Elementary Education in Central Region States. Summary. Issues & Answers. REL 2012-No. 122," see ED529763.]

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