Content-area instruction and teacher professional development : addressing secondary English language learners' academic and linguistic needs

Thompson, Kirsten June
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English language learners (ELLs) are the fastest growing group of learners in U.S. schools. In recent years, much of this growth has occurred in parts of the U.S. with historically smaller immigrant populations. Secondary ELLs in particular are entering middle and high schools that are often underprepared and ill-equipped to meet these students’ academic and linguistic needs. In addition to learning social English, ELLs must also master the academic language and content necessary to succeed in their content-area classes. This report reviews current research on content-area instruction in math, science, and social studies for secondary ELLs. More specifically, within each content area, key findings are summarized from articles that address the following topics: the linguistic challenges of learning content for ELLs; the implementation of pedagogical approaches to teaching content to ELLs; and teachers’ challenges and needs. The report concludes with recommendations for pedagogy, practice, and professional development as well as suggestions for future research.