In addition to keeping-up with the latest overall education news, I’m obviously particularly interested in the latest research and policy issues related to teaching English Language Learners.
I thought readers might find it helpful to see what I’ve found to be the best free sources of this kind of information, so I’ve developed yet another “The Best…” list.
These sites are different from the ones I in The Best Resource Sites For ESL/EFL Teachers. Those sites immediately practical ideas and materials that can be used in the classroom — .
The sites on this list are more related to on-going research and policy issues connected to English Language Learners.
Here they are, not necesarily in order of preference:
The key blog I like that provides regular updates on ELL research and news is Learning The Language at Edweek.
TESOL Connections is a nice e-newsletter that’s sent out twice-a-month. However, you have to be a TESOL member in order to receive it (the archives will soon be available, though, to non-members). A “second-best” free TESOL resource that’s available to anyone is called The English Language Bulletin, which provides reports on ESL/EFL around the world.
The Center On Instruction has a ton of resources on research-based instructional practices in all subject areas.Because of its good materials on English Language Learners, I’m now adding it to this list.
Mary Ann Zehr (the author of the must-read Learning The Language blog) wrote about The American Institutes For Research expanding their interest in English Language Learners. I had never heard of the group, but apparently it’s a pretty big outfit. They have a webpage with some nice ELL resources and I’m adding them to this list.
Learning Port contains over 700 professional development resources from many organizations, including the NEA, the AFT, Edutopia, Colorin Colorado, and a ton more. It looks pretty good. It has a good section on English Language Learners.
The Migrant Policy Institute has launched the English Language Learner Information Center. They say it’s designed to:
provide informative fact sheets, maps, and state-level data resources that chronicle the demography and trends of immigrant families and their children.
It has a ton of accessible info, and may become the “go to” place for ELL data.
The ELT Journal, from The Oxford Journals, is a very nice collection of articles that teachers of English Language Learners would find useful. The collection, titled Key Concepts In ELT, is described this way on the top of the webpage:
‘Key Concepts in ELT’ is a feature of the Journal that aims to assist readers to develop an appreciation of central ideas in ELT, and to approach the content of articles from a perspective informed by current debate on aspects of theory and practice.
The list given below is an up-to-date guide to all ‘Key Concepts’ that have been published in the Journal. The list contains links to the original articles, which are available to download free of charge (PDF file).
ERIC , the Education Resources Information Center
Teaching English from the British Council
The LINCS (Literacy Information And Communication System) Resource Collection — Basic Skills is a good source of research on teaching and learning. It’s not specifically geared towards ELL’s, but much of the research is still relevant to them.
ASCD has quite a few research resources on teaching English Language Learners.
Diversity Learning K12 is a partnership between a number of respected researchers and practitioners in the ESL/EFL field, including Stephen Krashen and James Crawford. Here are some direct links to particularly useful pages on their website:
Teaching English Language Learners: What The Research Does and Does Not Say is by Claude Goldenberg.
The Center For Applied Second Language Studies has recently redesigned its website, and it looks great. You can find tons of research on this page of their site, or go to their ten most asked questions list.
AccELLerate! is the free quarterly newsletter of National Clearinghouse For English Language Acquisition. That link leads you to the issue archive.
David Deubelbeiss has collected some great resources at his School of TEFL.
The Marzano Research Laboratory doesn’t have a lot of research specifically for ELL’s, but most of its work can still be applied to them. You can either watch previous webinars they’ve hosted, or just download PDF’s of them. They also have book excerpts and reproducibles.
The Government of Alberta’s (Canada) Education website has an incredible page on research about teaching English Language Learners.
The WRITE Institute has a collection of useful research teaching English Language Learners.
The Department of Education just unveiled a revamped “What Works” website highlighting the results of their varied research. It seems to have a number of accessible tools. You can read more about it at Education Week. They seem to have surprisingly little on English Language Learners, but I’m still adding it to this list. One would think it would eventually have something useful related to ELL’s on the site.
Adolescent Literacy Research & Reports comes from Adlit.org. It has a wealth of research on a variety of related topics, including English Language Learners.
The Backseat Linguist is a new blog related to research on second language acquisition. It comes recommended by Stephen Krashen.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) recently unveiled a newly-designed website. Here’s how it describes the site:
NCELA is proud to present our newly designed website (still at www.ncela.gwu.edu) that combines high-quality and oft-requested information about the English learner population with new features to make navigation easier and more intuitive. The website has a distinctive new look, and a thorough restructuring of the front page, bringing up-to-the-minute information to the fore. Visitors will find it easier to access key online content areas including information on federal grants, EL data and demographics, professional development, promising practices in EL education, and the full suite of NCELA resources.
Mapping Language: Limited English Proficiency in America is a very impressive interactive map (among other things) showing where English Language Learners are around the United States. It’s from the National Journal.
English-Learner Population in U.S. Rises, Report Finds is from Education Week.
Study Charts Growth of Limited English Proficient Population in U.S. is from Latino Ed Beat.
English Agenda is a site from the British Council which offers a wealth of language-teaching research and online professional development.
Who Is an ‘English-Language Learner’? is from Pew.
The Education Commission of the States (who I had never heard of, but that may just be another example of my ignorance) have published a report on challenges facing English Language Learners. You probably won’t find anything new there in terms of recommendations, but it does have some up-to-date statistics.
Can Teachers Do Research? is by Marisa Constantinides.
English Language Learners: A growing—yet underserved—student population includes useful data on ELLs.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA), which was created by Congress forty years ago to be a…clearinghouse for info on English Language Learners, appears to have reopened for business after a dramatic contracting saga that went on for a longtime, and which you can read about at Learning The Language.
They just sent out what they say will be a bimonthly email newsletter of ELL news. However, they didn’t include a link to it in the email, so there’s no way for me to direct you to it so you can check it out yourself. However, you can sign-up for it here.
I’ve got to say I have mixed feelings about their initial one. It featured a number of announcements and links to three reports.
One was from The Center On Instruction and titled Practical Guidelines for the Education of English Language Learner (ELL). I’m not sure anyone with even limited experience teaching ELLs would find much new in it, and I think there are other, more “teacher-friendly” sources that contain the same information. I might very well be too harsh, however, since I’m only commenting on the first half, while the second half of the report is on teaching mathematics, which is certainly not my specialty.
One thing I did find interesting was its description of the ELL population, though I was a little disappointed that they didn’t include direct links to their sources. Here’s what the report says:
As a group, ELLs represent one of the fastest-growing groups among the school-aged population in this nation. Estimates place the ELL population at over 9.9 million students, with roughly 5.5 million students classified as Limited English Proficient by virtue of their participation in Title III assessments of English language proficiency. In the last two decades, the population of ELLs has grown 169 percent—whereas the general school population has grown only 12 percent—and collectively speaks over 400 different languages, with Spanish being the most common (i.e., spoken by 70 percent of ELLs). By 2015, it is projected that 30 percent of the school-aged population in the U.S. will be ELLs. The largest and fastest-growing populations of ELLs in the U.S. consist of students who immigrated before kindergarten and U.S.-born children of immigrants.
They plan to publish two more books in a series, so maybe those will be better. Here are those projected titles:
Book 2: Research-based Recommendations for Serving Adolescent Newcomers
Book 3: Research-based Recommendations for the Use of Accommodations in Large-scale Assessments
I also didn’t find another report NCELA shared, Eight Essential Shifts for Teaching Common Core Standards to Academic English Learners, particularly helpful.
However, I did really like a third report they shared titled English Language Learners: A growing—yet underserved—student population. It’s from the Education Commission of the States, and probably provides the best, and most up-to-date, summary of ELL statistics I’ve seen anywhere.
English-Speaking Abilities of Immigrants: A Snapshot From the U.S. Census Bureau is from Education Week.
Who Are These Kids? Language Learners in California is from Education Week.
What’s the Top Home Language for ELLs? is from Ed Week.
How Long Does it Take to Learn English? is also from Ed Central.
States and Districts with the Highest Number and Share of English Language Learners is from The Migration Policy Institute.
The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA) has published a very useful series of two-page reports called “Fast Facts” which explain data related to English Language Learners. They have a good list titled Sources for English Learner (EL) Data.
Feel free to provide additional suggestions in the comments section of this post.
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