According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are nearly 4.8 million English-language learners in U.S. Public Schools– that’s more than 8% of all students! Students considered ELL are those not yet fluent in English and who speak one or more of over 470 different languages, with the vast majority, (75%), entering school as native Spanish speakers.
While in school, ELL students are expected to meet the same academic standards as ENL (English as a native language) students, while also participating in language assistant programs to attain English proficiency. Reading, speaking, and understanding English can be challenging for ELL students, so it’s crucial that educators offer additional resources to ensure ELL students are engaged, interested, and understand what they are learning.
At EVERFI we strive to provide resources to help every student succeed. Here are a few strategies to use EVERFI resources effectively with ELL students.
General Best Practices for ELL Students:
- Create an Inclusive Learning Environment: We can’t expect ELL students to just “catch on” – it’s necessary to build an educational environment where ELL students are comfortable and feel like they belong. It’s all about finding a balance between formal language instruction and academic learning. One way to do this is to introduce a concept to the whole class in English, and then allow students to elaborate on it in their native language. ELLs will feel more comfortable participating while also developing a deeper understanding of an academic concept.
- Encourage Ownership: Always encourage ELL students to own their learning and make connections between English and their native language. Making English connections to the language they are already comfortable with helps ELLs accelerate learning. Ownership goes back to creating an inclusive environment, where students know it is on them to ask clarifying questions – we, as educators, must create a safe place for students to share concepts they’re struggling with.
- Differentiate Instruction: Instructing ELLs and ENLs won’t always be the same and it’s okay to differentiate learning for specific students and content areas. It’s all about taking the time to create lessons that consider the difficulties of ELLs, while also making learning engaging, authentic, and content-focused. Using digital resources like EVERFI, which has closed captioning and Spanish/French availability, makes independent learning tailored and allows ELLs to work at their own pace.
ELL Support in EVERFI Resources
Audio & Script:
All EVERFI resources offer a script your students can read off of while the audio is playing. Unlocking the script is different for every resource, but look for a document or chat bubble icon in the navigation bar within the resource to access.
Here is a document example image from EVERFI – Financial Literacy:
Here is a chat bubble example from the Ignition – Digital Literacy:
ELLs are trying to learn a new language while developing literacy skills in English, especially vocabulary. Having a word bank for students to refer back to helps ELLs better understand unfamiliar concepts. You can access vocabulary banks from your teacher dashboard. Click Resources > [Course] Resource Center > Scroll Down to [Course] Vocabulary Bank or Glossary.
Here is an example from the Endeavor – STEM Career Exploration resource center:
Flipped Classroom Instruction:
On a day when your class is utilizing an EVERFI resource, pull your ELL students into a group while others in the class work through the resource independently. Use a discussion guide found in the teacher resource center to help shape your students’ experience prior to using the resource. Introducing your ELL students to the content before they dive into the resource will make it stickier and less overwhelming.
To find this from the teacher dashboard go to Resources > [Course] Resource Center > Scroll Down to [Resource] Discussion Questions.
Here is an example from the EVERFI – Financial Literacy resource center:
Language Options in EVERFI Resources: