Chat with us, powered by LiveChat The purpose of this assignment is to summarize and reflect on what you’ve read and learned for the week. Directions: This week, our readings discuss some powerful topics such - Writingforyou

The purpose of this assignment is to summarize and reflect on what you’ve read and learned for the week.  Directions: This week, our readings discuss some powerful topics such

Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to summarize and reflect on what you’ve read and learned for the week. 

Directions: This week, our readings discuss some powerful topics such as the need for advocacy for ELs, shared sense of responsibility for teaching ELs, social justice and teacher reflection. Based on these readings, create a reflective piece of writing on the topics, subjects and elements discussed. Your written reflection must be at least 350 words.

You may wish to include some of the following prompts as stimuli for thinking and formulating your reflection.

  • How would you define advocacy? How do see yourself advocating for ELs?
  • What does shared responsibility to educate ELs mean to you?
  • The importance of teacher reflection.


LEARNERS • • •••••• • ••••• I' .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . " + • • • • • • • • • ••••••• " .. . . . . .. . . .. .. . . …. … ……………. . …. …. . .. . . …… . . .

A Joint Publication

A Guide for Educators


Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners

0 ne of the first steps toward effectively advocating for ELs' equitable education is recognizing that everyone involved in ELs' education

must share the responsibility for ensuring their success. All school stake­ holders who impact ELs' lives, including content and general education teachers, music teachers, special education teachers, art teachers, cafeteria workers, guidance counselors, physical education teachers, janitors, and administrators will have an effect on the education ELs receive. However, educators may not fully realize the extent to which they have the opportu­ nity to positively impact an EL's education. All educators must first share a sense of responsibility for providing an equitable education for ELs so thaMhey will be willing to change the ways in which they work with ELs to recognize ELs' unique strengths as well as address ELs' specific linguis­ tic and cultural needs through instruction. In addition, if they feel respon­ sible for teaching ELs, they will also be more likely to go beyond teaching ELs effectively and also advocate for ELs' equitable education.


This chapter will begin by presenting a framework from which to estab­ lish the need to build shared responsibility for equitably educating ELs to

• 27

28 • Advocating for English Learners

What does the term shared responsibility to educate Els mean to you?

prepare educators to begin to advocate or. their behalf. It will first focus on the importance of creating a sense of empathy for the EL experience, bearing in mind

that ELs are not a monolithic group, and each EL's academic experience b different. This framework will also recognize that ELs' experiences tran­ scend the more visible facet of their U.S. academic experience, extending to ELs' social and community lives in the United States and their country of birth or their parents' countries of birth. 1 It will also ground the need to build a shared sense of responsibility for working with ELs in researc!–. and best practice as well as show the necessity for all teachers to seek and gain their ELs' trust.



In addition to the need for educators to share responsibility rooted in the::­ moral imperative to do so, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) sur­ port the need to share the responsibility to include ELs. The CCSS do sob:, insisting that instruction in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and lar.­ guage be a shared responsibility within schools by the very nature of tht: standards' structure and content. For example, the K-5 standards defir.t: expectations for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language tha: are applicable to a range of subjects, not only English Language Arts. Stan­ dards in Grades 6-12 are divided into two sections, one for English lan­ guage arts and the other for literacy in history/ social studies, science, an-: technical subjects. With this paradigm shift brought forth by the CCSS every teacher must now simultaneously be a teacher of language, literac:, and content. In order for ELs to be successful in achieving the CCSS, a:: teachers must first examine what sharing responsibility to foster ELs' aca­ demic success looks like in their context. In addition, teachers must cc'.­ laborate so that ELs can access the Common Core.

Definition of Shared Responsibility

This chapter uses the term shared responsibility to describe the mind-st>: that all educators must see themselves as equal stakeholders who mu:;.: strive to positively influence the education of ELs in the classroom as we:.

1. The majority of ELs are born in the United States, so it cannot be assumed that all ELs ha·.: been born in a country outside the United States. In addition, a student's or parent's coun::­ of birth may be different from the country in which the child has received schooling.

Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners • 29

as outside of school. Many ESL teachers express that they feel that content area or general education teachers see ELs only as the "ESL teachers' kids." That is, compared to content teachers, ESL teachers sometimes feel that they are expected to make the majority of choices with respect to ELs' edu­ cation. ESL teachers may also feel more immediately accountable for ELs' academic success (Staehr Fenner & Kuhlman, 2012).

For example, ESL teachers may find themselves determining which accommodations ELs receive on assessments, taking the lead on seeking out resources available in the community for EL families, and serving as ad hoc language interpreters as necessary. It is completely understandable that content teachers and administrators often turn to ESL teachers to assume a lead role in these areas, as ESL teachers have tended to receive more specialized training in working with ELs and their families through preservice teacher education programs.

In addition, many teachers and administrators may depend on ESL teachers to advocate for ELs, because they have not had the experience of learning a language in addition to English and/ or traveling to a foreign country, let alone having been immersed in a school in which the culture and language are completely new. For these reasons, many teachers and admin­ istrators may not fully understand the EL experience in terms of what ELs' needs are or be familiar with community resources that are available and appropriate for ELs or their families. Yet it is everyone's charge to ensure ELs succeed; the responsibility for ELs' success both in school as well as outside the school walls should extend to all educators who interact with them.

In particular, teachers' desire to share responsibility for ELs and advo­ cate for their equitable education is inextricably intertwined with their expectations for ELs and beliefs about educating them. This desire is also linked to their ability to support their students' success through collabora­ tion with colleagues, administrators, and the community as a whole. How­ ever, until now, most content area teachers have not realized that serving as a voice for ELs and their families is a prerequisite for their students to be able to fully engage in instruction and succeed in school and beyond. Only after teachers and administrators realize the great sense of urgency that all educators must share the responsibility for equitably educating ELs can the best available research, methods, strategies, and professional development (PD) for working with ELs be truly beneficial and worthwhile.

Theoretical Framework for Sharing Responsibility

This chapter will begin by examining several factors that impact how educators can move through a process to more actively share the responsibil­ ity for providing an equitable education for ELs. These factors influence shared responsibility. Each factor will be described and applications of it will

be prOided through activities. Educators should examine each of the facto::: in the sequence outlined. First they will examme their beliefs and expec7a­ tions about working with ELs, and then they will reflect on their own cultu..c a.Td its impact on their teaching. Next, educators build empathy for Els ar . .:: � iamilies, and finally they collaborate with various stakeholders involn�·-= ::t £Ls" education. The process is iterative and requires continually moYi:-.:: :hrough the sequence so that shared responsibility for ELs changes to accc1::-­ modate new Els and their families as well as new issues that arise with c…::-­ rent Els. Figure 2.1 is a graphic representation of this process.

Figure 2.1. Factors That Influence Shared Responsibility

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��� expectations

: about language :andwork,ing • :'liiili' iEfk :· • '.'rif f •,- ,,.,_ �'<J:.�i

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i' � ''·: ., .. . .- , ,/- • ,;Collaboration – f tamong-ESL i :te�c)1E3rs, conter:it .. teachers, .and , '- adittiriistrators

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• Ed�c�tfimt;;• • reflection on ttie111 own Cllltur�:aridit§'i

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E:rmpathyJq;f ;4s: ci11d ,theJr: f�inH(E3l> –

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Some researchers (e.g., English; Lewis-Moreno) have recently be�_ – investigating the creation of a sense of shared responsibility for edu-::.:. • ing ELs as one component of the effective education of these stude:-> For example, through analysis of top-down and bottom-up discou:;:.: – among various teaching professionals, English (2009) attempts to dec:­ struct the ideological assumptions about how ELs learn. English belie·. : –

Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners 8 31

that professional development (PD) can help to promote pedagogical change that incorporates shared responsibility into educating EL students. This researcher found general education teachers need support to improve their practice of sharing responsibility for teaching ELs.

Lewis-Moreno (2007) argues that general education classroom teachers are just as responsible for the success of EL students as administrators and EL specialists. She posits that all teachers have a moral responsibility to

ensure the success of ELs, and that every teacher, regardless of role or spe­ cific job description, must be given the charge to incorporate strategies that develop the language acquisition of ELs. She also believes that school dis­ tricts may see more success from ELs if everyone is provided the right tools to teach these learners.

Issues of content teacher attitudes and the importance of developing trust between EL students and their teachers are also related to the concept of sharing responsibility to educate ELs. For example, Reeves (2006) inves­ tigated teacher attitudes toward teaching EL students and discovered that most teachers had a neutral to positive attitude toward teaching ELs in general education classes. Her quantitative study,

however, revealed that many of the teach­ ers are misinformed about how ELs learn

How would you rate your own attitude toward working with Els?

and acquire language. Moreover, many of these same teachers were ambivalent about learning how to teach ELs. Her findings point to a dis­ connect between the teachers' generally positive attitudes toward teaching ELs in their content area classrooms and their reluctance to take action to improve upon their abilities to better educate those same students.

Developing trust between ELs and their teachers is one key to ELs' success in school. Wassell, Hawrylak, and La Van (2010) found that, for many of the EL students they studied, gaining the trust of a teacher was tantamount to being given the opportunity to learn English successfully. If they felt that the teacher respected their culture, the ELs were more apt to take certain risks and make important mistakes that facilitated their learning. Without developing such trust, learning opportunities remained hidden.

Finally, Honigsfeld and Dove (2010) posited that several factors point to the need for collaboration in schools so that ELs can succeed. They point out that sociocultural, socioeconomic, affective, linguistic, and academic factors can impact an EL's success. The authors also report that administra­ tors face several challenges in creating a collaborative environment in their schools to ensure the equitable education of ELs. Among these challenges are ESL program compliance and accountability, creating a positive school culture for ELs, and balancing the needs of all stakeholders.

32 • Advocating for English Learners

In sum, research tells us that shared responsibility for teaching ELs contains many layers of complexity. This emerging area of study includes the role of PD in shaping educators' dispositions toward working with ELs, building trust between ELs and their teachers, and fostering collabo­ ration among all stakeholders who work with ELs so that ELs can succeed. Educators should consider how developed all of these factors are in their own practices so that they can contribute to creating an environment that is conducive to ELs' success.



The remainder of the chapter details sample activities educators can use individually or with groups of educators to

• Raise awareness about their beliefs regarding language and teaching ELs

• Examine the cultures that they bring to their experiences as educators • Explore what it feels like to be an EL at a beginning stage of English

proficiency in an academic classroom setting • Feel what it's like to be the parent or family member2 of an EL with

beginning English prohciency anc 'i.i'L't'i.e mowecge d. \e -U.S. school system

• Increase collaboration among content teachers, administrators, and ESL teachers3

Even if educators don't find themselves in that more formal situation, they can still use these tools for their personal PD. Admittedly, these sample PD activities only begin to skim the surface of the EL and EL fam­ ily member experience in order to increase educators' empathy for this population of students, and the activities are also not meant to be prescrip­ tive in nature. It is also not possible to fully experience the multifaceted

world of an EL in just one PD session. The intent of these activities is to

2. I use the term parent interchangeably with family member here, because ELs may haw extended family such as older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and trusted family friends that serve the expected role of parents. In addition, some ELs may arrive in the United States after long periods of separation from their biological parents; in such situa­ tions, these parents of ELs may not be as informed of the ELs' prior schooling and life experiences as other family members may be.

3. I use the term English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher to encompass any specialist tha: provides linguistic support to ELs; this would also include bilingual education teachers.

Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners e 33

apply some of the current research and best practices to move the needle in the direction of creating a shared sense of responsibility for educating ELs through an experiential approach.

Survey of Teachers' and Administrators' Beliefs on Educating Els

Teachers should first ascertain their perspectives on language as well as their feelings regarding working with ELs. Use of the two-part survey4

in Figures 2.2a and 2.2b is one way to begin this dialogue. The survey should be taken anonymously, and it can be taken prior to a PD session so that the PD facilitator can tabulate the scores before beginning of the PD to more effectively tailor the PD to the needs of the group.

The sample survey consists of two interrelated parts: Part One: Per­ spectives on Language and Part Two: Preparation for Teaching. Part One, Perspectives on Language, examines educators' beliefs and values regarding the political and sociocultural aspects of using English and other languages in the home, school, and society. Part Two, Preparation for Teaching, focuses on respondents' self-reported level of expertise and comfort in designing and implementing instruction for English learners. The first survey will most likely be more politically charged and may very well evoke strong feelings by PD participants. While originally developed for future teachers of ESL, the second survey builds on the first and focuses on the degree to which teachers self-report skills needed by classroom teachers to effectively teach ELs.

After participants have taken each survey, the PD facilitator can lead them through a discussion of their responses to gain a sense of where the educators are coming from individually in their thinking and where the school as a whole falls on the continuum as a vehicle to advocate for ELs. When educators are analyzing the results of survey such as this, they will need to keep in mind that respondents are self-reporting their data. For example, respondents may overestimate their skill level in working with ELs on the survey. In addition, when they are sharing with a group rather than filling out a paper form, they may be less willing to share their true convictions regarding immigration and language policy in the United States for fear of repercussions.

Any discussion of the Language Use survey's results must take place in a climate of trust, and all participants should know that they won't be judged for their responses. Otherwise, a sense of finger pointing could take over and cloud the intent of the exercise. After individuals take the survey, they can compile their scores individually and privately compare

4. Part 1: Perspectives on Language, is adapted from: Byrnes & Kiger (1994). Part 2, Preparation for Teaching ELs, is adapted from Lucas, Reznitskaya, & Villegas, (2008).

H • Adv3'::ating for i:ng!ish Le2m�rs

them to general d.escripticm; of the scores provided below. J):;:;pending on previous knowled.g,� of the school climate,, the PD facilitator might i::hocme to have the respondents tafiy up th,�i.r score and respond to the score i:n a private foumaR iirwtead. of having a group discussion on the topic.

Fi�rE 1.2a. Language Use


P�t t P'l'tr.:�-tivelfi on languagl'il llie

P1�l!li1'-" cin:lle thi' m.&ml'J� thait bnt ;;ii�ttwn•� yoor !:)Qreetiritmt m· dl8t1P!f"e8ment wit[·1 �a::.;h !iiatef'!"lent �el.ow.

Note: The term linguistiG minority student ,ie1ers :lo a student who spea!-i;s Of is expo65d to a la:nQtlagG othw, than Englisr1 in trm horr1c,; that E"iudent "r18..Y er ;r;r,:y not be pmficim1t in English.

1 "' �- m"i:gly drsag�e 6 = �tr�fi'!gty �e – —

t To he oo.1sideret1 American,� person stlol.ld speak Engli$1 :ituard1y..

2. I would n,1t su1:i.:;cort th(1 mderel, state, and lor:,=ll govornmel'lrt spending additional mr.msy to provioe bettar proQmms for lifig,l1l$tk: minority Btudm1is in public school�.


3. Parents of students who , rot prafidt!nt in Eng!istr should be couns0k-3d to speak E'riglish ·�itt, litieir !.:hi!oiTefi whenever possibl(').

– -·—–

4. it is not irr�rtart that peopJe in the Un.ited States learn a language in addition �o E:r,!Ji;.'lt:.

··- 5. It is unreasonable to eiq:,iecft a genarai

c'XIL:ca1ion c:!t:1:ssmorn teacher 10 ·ieaen a child who dces nut spa�k Ei'lglish.

··— – — — —

5. 1"he r pid loaming of English cr1culd be a priority X)i mudun1S who are f10( proficient in English aW:ln if it r .tans they lose the ability to spaak thoir native la11guagfl.

— ·–

7. ;__oca! and state r1ovsrnments should require tin'li s.:! Q'!'.)Vemment buginsss ( votlirtg) b"' concl1.1ete,i on!y i,1 Englis[l.


13, i-fa�n� u stuoemt Nho is 11<it prQfk;ient in IEnglnsh in tl,e classroom is ,:tet,tmantal to 1:,,; )ear;,ing of the other students.

-r:-·1 1 ,! ., 4 5 1 6 ,j

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1 2 3 � 5 6 ! i


1 2 3 4 5. ti I

— _ ___, � 2 3 4 5 6

–· ——i 1 2 �3 4 5 8

i 2 3 4 5 i 6

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Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners • 35

9. General education classroom teachers 1 2 3 4 5 6 should not be required to receive preservice or inservice training to be prepared to meet the needs of linguistic minority students.

10. Most K-12 students who are not proficient in 1 2 3 4 5 6 English are not motivated to learn English.

11. At school, the learning of the English 1 2 3 4 5 6 language by children who are not proficient in English should take precedence over learning content area subject matter.

12. English should be the official language of the 1 2 3 4 5 6 United States.

13. Students who are not proficient in English 1 2 3 4 5 6 often use unjustified claims of discrimination as an excuse for not doing well in school.

Total score _points

Source: Adapted from Byrnes & Kiger, 1994.

Language Use Survey Score Categories

13-26 points: You feel that being American is equated with speaking Eng­ lish and see the value in English being used for official purposes in the United States. You agree that students need to learn English quickly in order to succeed in school, and you don't think it's as important for those students to maintain their first language. You think that some English learners are not motivated enough to learn English and might be taking advantage of their status as ELs to justify their lack of successful academic performance in school.

27-52 points: You may not feel as strongly that being American is equated with speaI<ing English and may not agree that English should be used for official purposes in the United States. While you believe that ELs need to learn English in order to succeed in school, you may think these students should also maintain their first language and also learn content simultane­ ously with English. You may think some English learners are motivated to learn English and might believe ELs contribute to the classroom climate.

53-78 points: You believe that it is possible to be an American even if a person does not speak English fluently. You most likely do not believe that only English should be used for official purposes in the United States.

36 • Advocating for English Learners

While you believe that ELs need to learn English in order to succeed in school, you also believe these students should also maintain and develop their first language and also learn challenging content simultaneously with English. You think English learners bring strengths to their schools and are motivated to learn English.

Guiding Questions

After taking the survey, either respondents can write a journal passage about their reactions to it, or the facilitator can use these guiding questions to facilitate small group or full group discussions. This examination of beliefs will help individuals and groups of educators get a better sense of

where they are coming from in terms of their openness to share the respon­ sibility to teach ELs.

• How did you feel after taking the survey? • Did certain questions surprise you? Which ones? Why? • Do you think your final score on the Language Use survey is in

line with the description of the category you fall into? Why or why not?

• Which areas of language use did you have the strongest reaction to? Why?

As with the Language Use survey, after respondents take the Preparation for Teaching ELs survey, they can compile their scores indi­ vidually and compare them to general descriptions of the scores provided below. They can then reflect upon their answers individually or discuss them as a group. The second survey should not be as controversial as the first, and the results of the second survey can be used to guide further PD topics for teachers.

Language Use Survey Score Categories

13-26 points: You are aware of the challenges you face when teaching ELs but need a great deal more information on language, culture, prior knowl­ edge, and modification of instruction for ELs. You also don't have an in­ depth understanding of the interplay between language, culture, instruction, and learning.

27-52 points: You are aware of the challenges you face when teaching ELs and have a beginning understanding of language, culture, prior knowl­ edge, and modification of instruction for ELs. You have an understanding of the interplay between language, culture, instruction, and learning.

Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners • 37

Figure 2.2b. Preparation for Teaching Els

Part 2. Preparation for Teaching ELs

Note: The term English learner refers to a student who is exposed to or speaks a language other than English and is not yet fully proficient in English.

Please circle the number that best captures how well or poorly prepared you feel in each area below.

1 = Extremely Poorly Prepared 6 = Extremely Well Prepared

1. Understanding of how people learn a 1 2 3 4 5 6 second language.

2. Understanding of the nature of academic 1 2 3 4 5 6 English and the challenges it poses for ELs.

3. Skills and strategies for learning about the 1 2 3 4 5 6 cultural backgrounds of Els.

4. Skills and strategies for teaching 1 2 3 4 5 6 academic content to English language.

5. Understanding of how culture influences 1 2 3 4 5 6 learning.

6. Understanding of how language 1 2 3 4 5 6 influences learning.

7. Understanding of language variation and 1 2 3 4 5 dialects.

8. Ability to assess Els' academic abilities in 1 2 3 4 5 6 a classroom setting.

9. Understanding of the differences between 1 2 3 4 5 6 proficiency in oral language and in written language.

10. Ability to modify classroom instruction for 1 2 3 4 5 ELs.

11. Ability to access Els' prior knowledge and 1 2 3 4 5 6 experience as part of instruction.

12. Ability to link Els' prior knowledge and 1 2 3 4 5 6 experience with new ideas and skills.

13. Skills and strategies for reaching out to 1 2 3 4 5 6 Els' parents/guardians/family members.

Source: Adapted from Lucas, Reznitskaya, & Villegas, 2008.

38 • Advocating for English Learners

However, you could still use some more information and strategies on how to effectively instruct ELs.

53-78 points: You have an in-depth understanding of language, culture, prior knowledge, and modification of instruction for ELs. You have a deep understanding of the interplay between language, culture, instruction, and learning. There may still be some topics on this survey that you would like to develop further.