Dispelling Myths and Serving English Learners Better with Barbara Gottschalk | The LP: EP 19

February 21, 2024


Not only can language function as both a bridge and a barrier, but it can reveal the barriers and bridges that are inherent within us to build. We don’t have to look for proof any further than how we interact and educate English Language Learners in our system.
Too often, the bridges of grade-level, engaging, affirming, and meaningful instruction are limited and the barriers of misconceptions arise. These misconceptions about English Language Learners often hold educators back from properly serving these students. I got a chance to talk with educator Barbara Gottschalk to discuss her book, Dispelling Misconceptions About English Language Learners: Research-Based Ways to Improve Instruction. Join us as we discuss practical ways to overcome psychological barriers, shift away from assumptions, tap into student strengths through home languages, and involve immigrant families more authentically.

Key Takeaways

  • It takes 5-7 years for English language learners to master academic English, so teachers need to be patient and allow sufficient time for learning.
  • Home language support in the classroom is very beneficial for English learners, despite potential challenges in implementation.
  • Immigrant parents can be engaged in their children’s learning in diverse ways, so teachers should avoid assumptions about parental involvement.
  • Proper screening, placement, and services for English learners has major implications for their future academic and career opportunities.

Teachers should check their own assumptions and biases about English learners by examining if their perceptions match reality and are evidence-based.