I was recently asked by Larry Ferlazzo to answer this question for his blog: How can ESL teachers use the CCSS to teach their ELLs?
One of my six suggestions, which will be posted soon in Larry’s upcoming blog, is for ESL teachers to look at the Framework for English Language Proficiency Development Standards Corresponding to the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards to get a better grasp of the language needed to bridge their ELLs’ success achieving the CCSS.
In case you’re not already familiar with it, the Council for Chief School Officers states that the ELPD Framework “outlines the underlying English language practices found in the CCSS and the NGSS, communicates to ELL stakeholders the language that all ELLs must acquire in order to successfully engage the CCSS and NGSS, and specifies a procedure by which to evaluate the degree of alignment present between the Framework and ELP standards under consideration or adopted by states.”
But what does that mean for teachers?
I recently took part in a webinar hosted by the Council for Chief School Officers and moderated by Katey McGettrick titled English Language Learners and English Language Arts: Using the ELPD Framework. Since the ELPD Framework is not specifically written with the teacher audience in mind, I asked Aida Walqui and Amanda Kibler, two of the webinar’s presenters and authors of the ELPD framework, what the Framework’s take-aways are for ESL teachers as well as content area or general education teachers.
Some highlights of the ELPD Framework webinar that may resonate with teachers of ELLs are:
- If we go back in history, and unfortunately still present in the minds of many teachers, is that they’re language, not content teachers, or vice versa. (Some teachers may think), “I teach my subject matter, not language.” The ELPD Framework and the CCSS ensure that every teacher of a discipline is socializing ELLs into the ways of thinking, writing, and speaking in the discipline and into the texts which guide how students read and write, which is different across purposes and genres.
- The tables contained in the ELPD Framework help unpack the implicit demands of the key CCSS practices. Content teachers may not have thought deeply about implicit language required to enact those practices. For ESL teachers, seeing receptive and productive language functions helps ensure their instruction helps support these functions across the content areas.
- In the past, ESL teachers tended to focus a lot on grammatical forms. In the future, forms alone won’t help ELLs. The ELPD Framework does provide guidelines for connections to the classroom, but in the classroom, we can’t possibly require absolute grammatical perfection. We’re not aiming to correct every single error the ELL student produces. Rather, we need to check in to the apprenticing of ideas and of ways of expressing those ideas.
- The ELPD Framework is an opportunity to look at how teachers might collaborate and see that the language demands in the CCSS can inform the learning of ELLs and their language acquisition – and that these two things are intertwined. The ELPD Framework can foster the discussion of what best practice is for ELLs.
I’m sold! I think I’ll give the ELPD Framework yet another look, and I hope you do, too.