Principles of Effective Instruction for English Learners

The Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) developed a set of seven principles of effective instruction for English learners (ELs). These principles are based on research on ELs and CAL’s extensive experience working with EL students and their teachers. CAL uses these principles to guide professional development for educators working with EL students. The seven principles are summarized below.

  1. Affirm each student’s identity to bridge new learning.
  2. Use formative assessment to learn about student performance and inform teaching.
  3. Involve every student in authentic, challenging, and engaging academic experiences.
  4. Incorporate listening, speaking, reading, and writing domains in content instruction.
  5. Involve every student in academic interaction with peers and with teachers.
  6. Scaffold instruction to meet needs of every student while developing their academic language and literacy.
  7. Engage with all stakeholders of student success, especially families and communities.
Content Comments 

This resource provides a succinct guide to instructional considerations that positively affect ELs in the classroom. The research cited in the article is on point and digestible. Although the article does not give particular guidance on specific classroom methods or activities to use (which isn’t the purpose of the document), teachers of EL students should incorporate these principles into their lesson planning and daily instruction. Any educator involved with EL students would benefit from reading this resource.

A note about accessing this article: while free to download, it requires sign-in to Education Connections, an online group for educators implementing new standards with ELs. (Education Connections is housed on the Obaverse website, a site maintained by the University of Oregon.)