National Writing Project

This Issue's Special Section: Teaching English Language Learners

By: Amy Bauman, Art Peterson
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 1
Date: 2004

Dear Readers,

In this issue we offer a collection of articles around the theme of teaching English language learners (ELL). An enormous topic, to say the least, the theme is carried through four featured articles that, as a collection, speak not only to the diversity of the issues facing ELL teachers today but also to the diversity of settings in which ELL issues arise.

A third grade teacher from Oklahoma discovers the power of narrative writing as an inroad to engaging students in her dual-language immersion class. A Minnesota teacher of immigrant and refugee junior high school students adds a dimension to her teaching when she volunteers to teach adult language learners at a local university—and learns much more than she had anticipated. While teaching eighth-graders in New Mexico, another teacher pairs drama and language studies to draw out her bilingual students. Finally, a New York City university instructor whose classes often include English language learners focuses on the still-common five-paragraph theme, questioning its reputation as a surefire writing exercise and cautioning against using such one-stop methods to support students' writing skills.

This collection, in addition to offering intriguing glimpses into four teachers' work, suggests what most educators already know: language learners are not isolated to any given region, school, or curriculum area. The vast majority of teachers across the country will, at some point in their careers, encounter students whose native language is not English.

The Quarterly presents the following special section, hoping that readers will not only find inspiration in the varied perspectives and approaches of these teachers, but—more important—draw strength from what we all share as educators.


Amy Bauman and Art Peterson

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