Education

Frequently Asked Questions About ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 11, 2007 2 min read

I’ve spent some time this week browsing Colorin Colorado, a Web site with resources for teachers of English-language learners and their families, and I think it has some really useful information. You can subscribe to e-mail alerts from the site here.

Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve begun to get some requests from parents of English-language learners who are having questions about their children’s education. A mother of a child adopted from Guatemala, for example, doesn’t understand why her 11-year-old daughter seems to understand everything that she says in English, but doesn’t try to speak the language. The child has been in the United States for three months. Another mom, who is Hispanic and doesn’t speak Spanish, writes to ask how she can get her son out of an English-as-a-second-language class because his first language is English; she said the school placed her child in the class because she had mentioned the family’s ethnic background in a home-language survey. Educators at her child’s school don’t seem to be aware that she has the right to decide where her child is placed, guaranteed by the No Child Left Behind Act.

For such requests, I refer people back to experts in their own states. I’m not an expert myself, but rather report what other experts tell me in interviews.

It seems that Colorin Colorado can be a source to provide answers to some of these practical questions. The Web site has some useful tips for parents, here, on how to seek extra help for their children at school. And it also provides some answers to questions frequently asked by educators. One can also find the most important research reports on ELLs on the Web site.

The Web site is sponsored by WETA, the public broadcasting station here in the Washington, D.C., area, and gets funding from various sources, including the American Federation of Teachers.

The site does not, by the way, provide much insight on the implications for ELLs of the No Child Left Behind Act or other educational policy. Under the section “Policy, NCLB, & AYP,” it lists only three articles. For information on educational policy affecting ELLs, I hope you’ll keep turning to this blog.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.