Voices from the Field: Serving English Learners at Hartford Magnet

Submitted by Kc Nelson-Oliveria, Technical Assistance Provider

At Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, the teachers are identifying ways to have more of an impact on students learning English in the core Tier 1 instruction. Jennifer Mancone, an ESL teacher, shared that one of the critical strategies is comprehensible input: developing oral vocabulary, providing visuals so the students can understand the concepts as they learn the language. For these students, she said, “it’s about finding the sweet spot: close to what they know, but challenging enough to engage them.”

A second strategy she uses is lowering the affective filter, or reducing the negative emotional stressors that inhibit learning. She and her colleagues strive to create an environment where it is safe to take a risk and to build relationships with the student and among the students. It also includes understanding students’ culture and bringing it into the class, finding culturally relevant text that is appropriate for their reading level.

Jennifer and her colleagues are always looking to improve their practice by finding ways to maximize the small amount of time they have for collaboration. They use email and catch one another before and after school for quick check-ins.

If you have strategies or ideas on how to find or use collaboration time more effectively, please post a comment below.

Published: March 2, 2015