Teaching English Language Learners Courses
For those teaching English as a second language, online resources available at Study.
Explore our full library of teaching english language learners courses:
What is Teaching English Language Learners?
English language learners, sometimes referred to as ELLs, are students who have limited ability to use the English language. The ELL definition includes those whose first or home language is one other than English. A related term, ESL, stands for English as a Second Language. ESL refers to a program designed to support ELLs in the development of language skills, primarily in the categories of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Some ESL programs also include training in cultural orientation, study skills, and specific content vocabulary.
For an English language learner, attending a school that is conducted primarily or exclusively in English can provide significant challenges. In most school systems, ELL programs are in place to support English language learners and enable them to fully access the grade-level school curriculum. Some school systems have ESL classrooms, while others provide pull-out services for ELL students. All teachers should employ strategies in the classroom to actively support English language learners. In addition, many colleges and communities offer ELL courses for adults interested in language learning.
Teaching English language learners requires understanding the language acquisition process and a repertoire of strategies designed to facilitate language learning. Those teaching ELL students benefit from tools and resources designed to enhance English language learning across all curricular areas. Some teachers have a role specifically focused on teaching ESL students. These teachers may conduct one-on-one or small group lessons specifically aimed at teaching specific language content that students need for class participation. Other teachers seek to support ELLs in the context of a general education classroom. Activities, assessments, projects, and lesson plans created for ELLs provide teachers with valuable material to support their practice.