English Learners (ELs)

English Learners (ELs) are a heterogeneous group with differences in ethnic background, first language, socioeconomic status, quality of prior schooling, and levels of English language proficiency.

Effectively educating these students requires diagnosing each student instructionally, adjusting instruction accordingly, and closely monitoring student progress. For example, ELs who are literate in a first language that shares cognates with English can apply first-language vocabulary knowledge when reading in English; likewise ELs with high levels of schooling can often bring to bear conceptual knowledge developed in their first language when reading in English. However, ELs with limited or interrupted schooling will need to acquire background knowledge prerequisite to educational tasks at hand. Additionally, the development of native like proficiency in English takes many years and will not be achieved by all ELs especially if they start schooling in the US in the later grades.

Teachers should recognize that it is possible to achieve mastery of the New Mexico Common Core State Standards (NMCCSS) for reading, writing, language development and speaking & listening without manifesting native-like control of conventions and vocabulary. Please see pages 38, 52, 66–67 of the NMCCSS Implementation Plan (downloadable on right side of this page) for more information on the transition to the Common Core State Standards in New Mexico and English Learners.

CCSS English Learner Professional Development

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