Practice Brief

Supports for Students Who Are English Learners

Madeline Mavrogordato, Rebecca Callahan, David DeMatthews, and Elena Izquierdo
February 2021 | EdResearch for Action

This brief from EdResearch for Action emphasizes the importance of providing English learner (EL) students with meaningful access to academic content, and it addresses the challenges and opportunities associated with their diverse backgrounds. Despite complex federal laws holding education agencies accountable for EL students’ academic performance, preparation programs and training often fall short in equipping educators to support EL students’ unique needs. The brief offers actionable strategies, such as embracing cultural and linguistic assets, fostering collaboration, and utilizing tailored instructional resources and technology. It advises against diverting funds allocated for EL students and emphasizes that mere translation is insufficient. The insights provided in this brief serve as a valuable resource for teachers and school leaders, offering practical approaches to improve the educational experience and outcomes for EL students, fostering trust, engagement, and academic identity in diverse educational settings.