Welcome to a new series where we feature great books for language learners and teachers. This month we are featuring the book, ELL Frontiers: Using Technology to Enhance Instruction for English Learners by Heather Parris, Lisa Estrada and Andrea Honigsfeld. We asked the authors to answer some questions about their latest publication! Enjoy the responses below.
What inspired you to write this book?
As instructional coaches and professional developers, we have had the pleasure of working with a variety of teachers from various school districts over the years. Several years ago, as educational technology started to take root in classrooms, it was oftentimes the ESL classroom that was selected for pilot technology projects. We were excited about how technology was helping English learners access language and content. However, many of the teachers that we encountered at that time did not have the foundational skills or comfort level in technology, nor the global understanding of the benefits of technology for ELLs. It might not have been clear to them how technology has truly revolutionized the way we are able to motivate English Learners and help them to access challenging content. With this book, we wanted to provide a road map that would help all teachers by introducing them to the essential elements of a digital age classroom and explaining specifically how these elements can support instruction for ELLs.
Why is co-teaching so important?
Co-teaching is so important because it allows two experts to put their heads together to better reach students and personalize instruction. Co-teaching is especially beneficial when teachers collaboratively address the needs of English learners with scaffolded, differentiated instructional strategies.
How does the book support teachers who want to co-teach?
Within the book, we included ways technology tools can facilitate collaboration between co-teachers of ELLs. Teachers can use technology to plan, organize, and share information with their co-teaching partners. Technology offers a new means of communication that ensures that co-teaching partners can work together virtually to ensure all students receive the support they need. This book also introduces the fundamentals of TESOL methodology, so that co-teachers who are not familiar with second language acquisition and ESL instructional practices can learn how to adapt their approach to academic content to better reach all learners.
How does the book help inspire better collaboration?
Technology tools can facilitate co-planning between co-teaching partners and increase the effectiveness of instruction within the classroom. Often times, there is limited time and opportunities for teachers to collaborate during the school day. For ESL teachers, meeting with and managing multiple co-teaching partners can be a challenging task. Having access to shared materials and increasing classroom productivity with an online learning management system fosters collaboration between teachers and students.
What are some helpful features in the book for teachers?
We designed each chapter to include features that could have direct impact during daily instruction. We included sample “lesson seeds” in each chapter to model how technology can be integrated into content based instruction at different grade levels. We also included the “Digital Age Explorers” feature to provide real life anecdotes of how other teachers are currently using technology in their classrooms to support ELLs. As mentioned earlier, we included an overview of best practices for ELLs, thus providing the background knowledge that all teachers working with English learners need.
What especially excites you about the book?
What excites us most about the book is that it is user friendly and practical! We wanted the information to be clearly applicable to daily practice.
To learn more about integrating technology to support English language learners, attend our free Friday webinars.