Teaching English Language Learners- What the Research Does- and Does Not- Say
By Claude Goldenberg


Should students who are learning English spend the school day
in classes where only English is spoken? Or should they be taught
reading and other academic skills and content in their native
language? Or should their classes be primarily in English, but
include some explanations or materials in their native language?
If their native language is to be used, how much native language
instruction should they receive and for what purposes? And aren’t
there other issues we need to consider, aside from language of
instruction? These are important questions, and anyone who can
provide a quick answer is surely oversimplifying the issues. Some
English language learners (ELLs) do not speak a word of English
and are not literate in their native language. Others have some
conversational English, but are not yet fluent, and in their native
language they are not only literate, but have mastered a great
deal of academic content. There will probably never be a formula
for educating ELLs, just as there is no formula for educating students
who already know English. What we can do is provide
guidelines based on our strongest research about effective practices
for teaching ELLs.