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Collaborating with Teachers of ELL Students

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  • 0:03 The Co-Teacher Model
  • 1:04 The Collaboration Model
  • 2:33 Implementation of…
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Loren Rozanski

Loren has a B.S. in History and a M.S. in Special Education. She works actively in the education field.

Exchanging information and ideas with teachers of ESL students is integral to student success. In this lesson, you'll find tips and strategies for creating a positive environment of collaboration between classroom teachers and teachers of ESL students.

The Co-Teacher Model

Many public schools across the nation are implementing a co-teaching model as the need for English language learner (ELL) teachers increases. Often called a push-in model, the ELL teacher's schedule shadows English as a second language (ESL) students. The teacher provides support from within the classroom instead of a pull-out model where the student is removed from the classroom for support and usually put into smaller groups of other ELL students that learn together. The push-in model allows ELL teachers to form a strong relationship with their students, be visible and present in the classroom, and provide real-time support on an as needed basis. The student benefits by not having to be removed from their classes to receive support.

Often times, the ELL teacher will pull a small group of students to work on reading or writing assignments or provide one-on-one attention while students are working on a task. In this model, the classroom teacher and the ELL teacher are equals and work together to provide the best learning environment for all students.

The Collaboration Model

Collaboration is key in a co-teaching environment. Both the classroom teacher and the ELL teacher need to be on the same page. This allows the class to run smoothly. Both teachers should meet before a class or lesson to review expectations and content. Teachers can meet both in person or over e-mail or another digital platform, like Skype or Google Hangouts. This meeting can happen daily, weekly, or bi-weekly; whatever works best for the teachers.

If you're an elementary school teacher, you may meet frequently with the ELL teacher, whereas if you're a middle or high school teacher, you may not need to meet as often, due to scheduling or other constraints. Often times, an ELL teacher is in an elementary school classroom daily, where they may only be in a high school classroom one or two times a week. If you're the classroom teacher, your role is to let the ELL teacher know what content is going to be covered and to provide the resources that'll be used during the class. If you're the ELL teacher, you'll have to review the content and material and make any needed modifications, such as shortening a passage, creating a vocabulary list, or adding a word bank to a quiz.

The classroom teacher and ELL teacher may also work together to create groupings for a class activity or to find an appropriate reading passage for a student. Classroom teachers and ELL teachers may collaborate outside of the classroom as well. If you're an ELL teacher, you may provide support when contacting a parent or assist with translating a letter home in your student's native language. You may also help facilitate a parent meeting if a student is struggling in class.

Implementation of Student Needs

One of the most challenging parts of being an ELL teacher is making sure that students' needs are being met. Often times, you'll be relied on as both a teacher and advocate for the student. Building a positive collaborative relationship with the classroom teacher is one of the best ways to make sure all students' needs are met.

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