What ideas should guide our thinking about the education of English Language Learners?

Posted on January 1st, 2010

Claude Goldenberg is Professor of Education at Stanford University and (since 2005) Executive Director of the Center for Language Minority Education and Research (CLMER). In this video, he addresses the issues of rigorous education for ELLs.

[Video Transcript] The English learners that are attending our schools, and are attending our schools in increasing numbers, are a huge untapped resource. These are children and young people with goals, dreams, aspirations. They have enriched, and they can continue to enrich the social fabric of the society. It is absolutely imperative that we work very hard to take full advantage of this potential.

I have suggested these three guiding principles of primary language instruction, generic effective instruction, and adjustments that are needed, as the basic framework for thinking about how to enhance the educational opportunities of these students, but I see that really as only a starting point. We have much farther to go if we’re to really fully understand how to tap the potential of these students. I have every confidence that we’ll do it, but it is a challenge—it is a real challenge.

Teachers are on the front lines, being challenged on a daily basis, many of them working extraordinarily hard to do the best they can for their students, which is why they're in the classroom. We need to provide the infrastructure, the support, the time, the opportunity to plan and work with other teachers, to receive the kind of professional development and opportunities for reflective practice—because without that, no amount of research is really going to solve this problem. I think we can build on the research—we have to build on the research. We also have to make it happen out in the schools: that's really the challenge that we all face.

Claude Goldenberg

Claude Goldenberg is Professor of Education at Stanford University and (since 2005) Executive Director of the Center for Language Minority Education and Research (CLMER). In this video, he addresses the issues of rigorous education for ELLs.

More information on Claude Goldenberg.