What is Empowering ELLs?
Empowering ELLs* (English language learners) is a resource center for English as an Additional Language (EAL*) educators who want to empower their ELs to achieve English proficiency, develop thinking skills, and possess effective social skills.
On this site, you will find articles related to English language instruction supported by research and field-tested in my classroom and in those of content teachers with whom I work.
What will readers learn?
The resource center contains articles about EAL instructional practices that support ELs’ language development. Each article has an infograph that synthesizes the essential information from the article. The goal of these resources is to share strategies with educators who work with ELs.
At times, my resources can be used across various content area, while at other times, are more relevant for just EAL teachers. I know that many of you are busy and do not have time to sift through the literature, books, articles, and videos and cannot attend conferences. It is my job to curate these resources for you.
Where does the content come from?
I have learned many of my teaching models and theories from books and peer-reviewed articles. As I brought these practices to class, my students’ responses either reinforced, invalidated, or forced me to modify them. In addition, I have attended trade conferences to learn and network with other EAL educators who are striving to improve the learning experiences of ELs.
How readers can use this blog?
Read the articles and download the infograph, watch the videos, and leave comments. Try the practices in your classroom. Keep what works, modify what needs to change, discard anything that doesn’t fit your practice.
What I share with you works with my students, but they might need to be modeled to fit your particular context. What needs to remain are the principles that inform the practices.
Why I do this?
As an EL myself, I know personally the pain of people not understanding what I so desperately wanted to share. I also know the joy of connecting with someone because of the words I say. Language is the center of relationships. I want to share strategies to help students persevere through those challenging moments and experience more language victories.
What’s my experience?
Education: B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Dickinson College
M.A.Ed from the American College of Education specializing in Language Acquisition Instruction
Public school experience: I began teaching with the Greater New Orleans Corp of Teach For America in 2007 and spent a year working in Philadelphia. My public school experience ranges from middle school to high school English Language Arts.
Private school experience: I worked at a language school in China and am currently working at Vientiane International School, an International Baccalaureate World School, where I am the head of the EAL department for the secondary school. My role is to develop ELs’ language skills and support teachers in making content accessible to them.
* I prefer using English learners (ELs) in my articles because it is easier to read than “E-L-Ls”
* I use EAL because English might NOT be a second language for students, so the name honors this reality.
Tan teaching ELs how to select a library book.