What is the equivalent of the professional work to identify a “guaranteed, viable curriculum” for ESL teachers? As budgets shrink and pounds per square inch increase on all educators, ESL teachers are often used exclusively to deliver or support content instruction to English learners. While differentiating content instruction and assessment for levels of English development is an essential piece in effective schooling for English learners, planning for the core of English language development (ELD) is often overlooked.
In the effort to participate in the same professional work as content teachers, ESL teachers are often pressed into missappropriating the ELP or ELD Standards of their state to serve as the anchors for their curriculum work, without respect to the basic purpose of the standards and performance indicators. Instead of reaching deeply into their understanding of the ELD continuum and the definitions of each performance level and of academic language in order to develop end-of-year learning targets for English learners, ESL teachers may focus their energy on writing performance indicators for content units only. Implementing the ELP or ELD Standards by differentiating content instruction and assessment is definitely our business as ESL teachers, but let’s not neglect the advanced professional work of identifying learning targets for ELD, in order to apply a standards-based educational approach to ELD.
Intrigued? You might want to view a PowerPoint presentation from a conference two years ago in which I describe the first stage of an ELD Curriculum Design project (see link below). Also recommended: click on the link at the bottom of Workshops 4, 5, and 6 to find expected outcomes for training in ELD Curriculum Design. Finally, support for ESL teachers to do the professional work that fits within the mission of developing academic English for English learners — strategic planning for ELD!
Here’s the link to the 2010 CABE Conference presentation mentioned above: Designing ELD Curriculum