Helping English Language Learners with Disabilities Succeed


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English Language Learner Classmates and the Classroom Social Skills of Students with Disabilities (click on title to open article)

Background/Context: Though the development of social skills in kindergarten is critical, a research gap exists in how the context of the general education classroom may influence the social skills outcomes of students with disabilities: None have considered the role of peer effects in this domain. This gap is critical to address, as multiple high-needs groups are increasingly present in the same general education classroom settings.

Purpose/Objective: This study asks two key research questions: (1) In kindergarten, to what extent do the classroom social skills outcomes of children with disabilities differ based on the number of ELL classmates? (2) In kindergarten, to what extent do the classroom social skills outcomes of ELL students differ based on the number of classmates with disabilities?

Population/Participants: The data are sourced from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class (ECLS-K), which is a nationally representative sample of students, teachers, and schools. Information was first collected from kindergartners (as well as parents, teachers, and school administrators) from U.S. kindergarten programs. This study utilizes data collected at the fall and spring of kindergarten.

Research Design: This study combines secondary data analyses and quasi-experimental methods. There are three social skills outcomes: (1) approaches to learning, (2) interpersonal skills, and (3) self control. The study begins with a baseline, linear regression model. To address issues pertaining to omitted variable bias, the study employs multilevel fixed effects modeling.

Findings: The coefficients indicate that students with disabilities tend to have improved social skills with an increase in the number of ELL classmates. The effects remain significant even after accounting for multiple omitted variable biases. Notably, the reverse relationship does not hold: The number of classmates with disabilities has no significant influence on the outcomes of ELL students.

Conclusions/Recommendations: This research offers more in-depth insight into how the classroom context and the effects of classmates may have a unique relationship for specific high-needs groups such as students with disabilities—a strand of research in this area that is often overlooked. School practices can thus be guided by determining not simply if one group of students performs better or worse on average, but rather by asking, better or worse for whom in particular?

Content and resources for the education researcher

Source: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 7, 2015, p. 1-40 ID Number: 17960, Date Accessed: 9/16/2016

Assistive Technology Tools Help ESL Learners Read and Write

Below are signed that students may benefit from using technology in the classroom:

  • Students who are deemed lazy or not paying attention can be empowered by technology to improve their focus and may become less frustrated by their language barriers.
  • If ELL/ESOL students can access assistive technology literacy tools and are allotted time to use them, they can improve their confidence and make reading and writing gains.
  • Using these tools, students who could not write a single word wrote detailed paragraphs and students who did not want to read a book became engaged readers.
  • Teachers who use assistive technologies will motivate students who are eager to demonstrate what they know.

View Jo Belyea-Doerrman’s complete research paper at

Source: Assistive Technology Tools Help ESL Learners Read and Write


Technology & English Language Learners | Colorín Colorado


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English language learners’ experience with technology can vary greatly from one student to the next. Some kids may have never used a computer. Others may be doing all of the troubleshooting! This resource section provides ideas for using technology with ELLs, activities for using multimedia tools, and bilingual tips for managing media at school and at home.

Recommended Resource from

For more great ideas, take a look at the bilingual resources on Assistive Technology from, a free website focused on learning and attention issues.

Source: Technology & English Language Learners | Colorín Colorado


Advance your career with free English classes | ShareAmerica


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The following FREE on-line courses are offered at the times listed below.  To take and other free classes, please go to ShareAmerica’s Advance Your Career page or click on the Source link below.  The ShareAmerica site also offers many other lessons for all English language learners.

English for Business and Entrepreneurship
November 2016
This MOOC is designed for entrepreneurs who want to work in the international arena. Learn the English you need to write business plans, conduct market research, and communicate with partners and customers around the world.

English for Journalism
February 2017
Are you an aspiring journalist who wants to inform a global public of important issues and events? Build the language skills needed for reading, drafting, editing and proofreading in English.

English for Career Development
November 2016 and April 2017
If you’re ready to launch an international career, this MOOC is for you. Master the English skills needed for resumé writing, networking and interviewing while learning about the job-application process in the U.S.

More courses coming in 2017:

English for Media Literacy
April and October 2017
Do you ever think about the role the media play and how they influence public opinion? Hone English skills tied to reading and evaluating sources of information, such as social media, blogs and newspapers.

English for STEM Fields
June and October 2017
Interested in studying science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)? Open doors to educational opportunities by learning English used in STEM-related fields.

Source: Advance your career with free English classes | ShareAmerica


Teaching with a Hearing Impairment



In the future, I will offer a tool kit with information on how to teach English with a hearing impairment. I’m able to do so with hearing aides and listening devices that enable me to isolate sounds so I can listen to individual students in noisy environments and minimize peripheral noise while in small group settings. Listening devices alone cannot substitute for teaching strategies designed to meet my needs while, at the same time, give students what they need from me in a way that keeps them learning and engaged.

Below is a presentation that contains helpful suggestions for hearing impaired teachers in general.

Source: Hearing Loss: Strategies for the Classroom Teacher Victorian Deaf Education Institute June 25, 2015. ( Accessed 8/30/16)

Teach English Using Songs from American Rhythms Site


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sing-out-loud-finishThe Sing Out Loud American Rhythms website features FREE songs, lyrics and readi (ng, writing and speaking activities for teen and adult English language learners–and people who enjoy hearing good music!   Teachers can download the songs, information about the songs (including artist credits) and pre- and post-listening activities by clicking on the song’s title under the Table of Contents.  An additional, generic list of activities is available for use with any of the songs on this site as well. English language levels are indicated for activities associated with individual songs as well.  This site has it all!

Source: American Rhythms | American English


How Plain Language Makes Life Simpler 


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This speaker offers several suggestions for how to make language easier for people to understand–and why it’s so important to do so.  By law, U.S. government agencies must use “plain language” (common words, short sentences, no idioms and graphics).  Companies should use plain language; but, as yet, are not required to do so.  My hope is that companies use plain language in their documents and when speaking with people who need it in order to communicate with someone and comprehend what is being said.