Meeting the needs of English language learners: a case study of one middle school teaching staff

The purpose of this study was to determine if the needs of English Language Learners (ELLs) were being met at Greenfield middle school (GMS). The research set out to discover the formal training teachers have received for teaching ELL students and the teaching strategies used within a middle school classroom setting. This study examined and compared the teaching strategies used for ELL students at GMS to proven and effective strategies used by successful ELL programs. Teachers were given a survey that contained questions related to SPECIALLY DESIGNED ACADEMIC INSTRUCTION IN ENGLISH (SDAIE) and CROSSCULTURAL, LANGUAGE AND ACADE\!IC DEVELOPMENT (CLAD) training. The survey also asked teachers about specific ELL teaching strategies they used within their lessons. The data from this research show the strategies used by most GMS teachers were closely aligned with the strategies from proven and effective ELL programs. Areas for improvement, for this particular middle staff, were identified. The foci for teacher improvement were allowing students to make connections to previous lessons, mastery of content vocabulary and use of content language, using group work with a specific goal in mind and knowing the CELDT levels of all students. In summary, this study showed the needs of ELL students were being met at GMS. However, focusing on specific areas for improvement could have a positive effect on the achievement of Greenfield middle school's ELL students. KEY WORDS: ELL, STRATEGIES, EFFECTIVE, NEEDS, IMPROVEMENT