English Language Learners

Linguistically Responsive Teaching

Becoming a linguistically responsive teacher is a complex process, and one that is supported within the pre-practicum experience in the Lynch School through a variety of activities. Learning to teach English Language Learners (ELLs) first involves developing an understanding of ELLs unique languages, cultures, and identities. Teachers also need knowledge and skills about second language learning, language demands of academic tasks, and how to scaffold instruction to promote ELL students' learning. In order to be truly responsive to ELL students, teachers must value linguistic diversity and cultivate an inclination to advocate for these students.

Cultivating a practice as a linguistically responsive teacher is consistent with Boston College's stance regarding social justice, and is also aligned with the Massachusetts Department of Education's RETELL (Rethinking Equity and Teaching for English Language Learners) initiative. All undergraduate and graduate students in the teacher education programs at the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary levels participate in projects during their pre-practica experiences that focus on teaching English learners academic language within various content areas. Upon successful completion of approved teacher education programs at Boston College, students will earn the Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) Teacher Endorsement

Experiences to Learn & Practice Linguistically Responsive Pedagogy

At the beginning of each pre-practicum semester, students attend a training to deepen their understandings of working with English Language Learners (ELLs), identifying linguistic demand in academic settings, and developing learning objectives that align with State content and language standards.

Academic Language in Early Childhood and Elementary Classrooms: The Read Aloud Project

Early Childhood and Elementary Education students in licensure programs conduct Read Aloud lessons in their pre-practicum site weekly. Boston College students are paired with an ELL in their classroom and get to know this child in a one-on-one situation. Through read alouds of fiction and informational texts, students learn to evaluate the linguistic demand of a lesson, and to embed teaching of vocabulary, language structure, and reading comprehension strategies. Over the course of the semester, students develop relationships with the children through these read alouds, learning about the child's home language and culture at the same time that the child is benefitting from individualized language support.

Academic Language in Secondary Classrooms: The Teaching Academic Language in the Content Areas Project

Secondary Education students pursuing licensure participate in The Teaching Academic Language in the Content Areas Project (TALCA). in order to develop their skills in working with ELLs in rigorous secondary content classrooms.. Through this project, all Boston College students learn to identify the linguistic demand of classroom activities and texts, and develop strategies to teach students the language necessary to gain and display complex content knowledge and skills.

Resources for Current Students

Current students can access a plethora of resources to support their work with ELLs through Blackboard Vista. After logging into the portal, click on the link titled "Academic Language and Read Aloud."

For more information on Lingustically Responsive Teaching, students are invited to review the following text: Lucas, T., & Villegas, A. (2011). A framework for preparing linguistically responsive teachers. In T. Lucas (Ed.) Teacher preparation for linguistically diverse classrooms (pp.55-72). New York: Routledge.