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Benefits of General Education and ESL Teacher Collaboration

Collaboration benefits ESL and ELL teachers by giving them ways to cope with the daily task of helping their struggling readers. While relationships take time to develop and grow, teachers can extremely benefit from a working model of collaboration.

A dialogue between teachers allows them to identify and clarify areas in which they seek easy-to-implement solutions to meet the needs of their students. Some general education teachers have planning hours for collaboration to work closely together with ESL specialists to support struggling readers. Other ESL and ELL teachers realize that they can greatly benefit from each other's knowledge but just do not have the support or the time.

The state provides basic guidelines for ELL placement with entrance and exit exams. Individual schools have to determine how much time they want to allow for teacher collaboration to ensure placement that best meets these students' needs.

School and / or district policies do not always provide teachers with specific guidance and support on how to meet common ELL reading deficiencies. Teachers need to become familiar with the areas in which ELL students may struggle in reading.

The benefits of collaboration may not be evident for new teachers. They still seek reassurance that their classroom management and lesson planning techniques are effective. When students do not reach their potential, they remain bored and / or unchallenged thus causing potential discipline problems. Collaboration addresses these concerns. It allows teachers to learn effective classroom management techniques from one another. Collaboration can also be effective in designing joint lessons that cater to diverse student needs and interests. In their collaborative process, teachers will identify successful classroom activities, methods, and ideas. Classroom management and lesson planning benefit from collaboration. Each teacher brings strengths and weaknesses to the discussion, as illustrated in the following example.

5 Steps for Implementing a Collaborative Session for Struggling ELLs

1. Prior to the collaborative session, identify your own unique strengths and weaknesses

2. Complement other teachers' efforts to help you acquire a comprehensive profile of your strengths not just associated with the grade and skills of your class. 3. Use the insights from identifying and addressing students' needs for other areas such as classroom organization and classroom


4. Brainstorm and come up with something that would work for the other teacher's situation.

5. Together, plan instruction that engage students and meet academic needs.

6. Engage in a dialogue on how to incorporate oral instruction by sharing ideas together – this presents teachers to different types of activities related to oral instruction.

7. Show specific classroom situations in which collaborative techniques were used to support struggling ELLs.

Teachers are able to plan, conduct, and evaluate learning activities for a common group of students. Teachers may have ESLs in support groups or ELLs in general education classes sharing a common curriculum. Or ESL specialists and general education teachers might share students. Either way, ESL and ELL teachers can differentiate instructional activities using oral language.

Collaboration between ESL specialists and general education teachers can also meet the needs of diverse student populations. It helps teachers tailor the curriculum and instruction to meet a wide range of student learning needs. As teachers work together, they can address issues of oral proficiency connected with read-alouds and vocabulary acquisition as well as fluency and comprehension strategies for deeper understanding.

There are many possibilities for collaboration. Teachers can collaborate in many different areas. In addition to those discussed above, teachers can also collaborate in the following ways. They can work together to prepare lessons, either on the same content or in sequence. In situations where the ESL teacher comes into a general education classroom, teachers can plan and co-teach. Classroom observations and visits provide insight and input for teacher collaboration.

Source by Dorit Sasson

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