Unlocking the Research on English Learners: What We Know—and Don’t Yet Know—about Effective Instruction

From the abstract: “Challenges are bound to arise as the vast majority of states strive to help English learners meet the Common Core State Standards. In calling for students to read complex texts, these new standards place an even greater emphasis on content knowledge and literacy skills than prior state standards. This review of available research will help educators bolster the efforts of English learners to understand more-demanding academic content as they also learn English.”

Content Comments 

Claude Goldenberg, a professor of education at Stanford University and an expert in the area of English learners (ELs), examines the research to date on ELs and effective instruction in light of the increased academic demands brought forth by the Common Core standards. Goldenberg summarizes key research findings in three areas of instruction that affect ELs: (1) effective teaching practices for all students, (2) additional instructional supports for ELs, and (3) the use of home language to promote academic development. Goldenberg writes this article for the general public, and he does a good job of distilling the important findings and issues of research studies, although some of his discussions may be difficult for a reader unfamiliar with research to completely understand the results and issues. Overall, this article is helpful to any educator who wants to learn more about implementing effective, researched-based instruction with ELs.