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English Language Learners (ELL) in the Mainstream

Part Three: Sample Teaching Models and Strategies

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Model One: Push-In or Team Teaching Model

In this model, the class has two teachers, an ESL specialist and a mainstream content specialist. ELLs are placed in the classroom for instruction in a particular content area [e.g. science, social studies, language arts, etc.].

Considerations Before You Start

  • Preparation: Push-in requires developing a common schedule for both teachers and students.
  • Level of Students: Push-in model is more beneficial to intermediate and advanced students who have already developed secure BICS skills and are beginning to develop CALP skills. Beginning students will require specialized BICS, language development instruction outside of the mainstream classroom.
  • Common Planning Time: Both push-in ESL teacher and Mainstream Content teacher will need common planning time built into the schedule.

Bringing Expertise to the Team: Both teachers bring invaluable skills and knowledge to the team.

  • Mainstream Teacher: has the knowledge of the content and a variety of content learning materials at his/her disposal.
  • ESL Teacher: has cultural and second language learning style knowledge and is able to share strategies for differentiation and sheltering instruction.

Teaching Strategies and Formats: Teachers working together can develop a variety of instructional repertoires. It should be noted here that both teachers should use a variety of strategies and play different roles in this instructional setting.

  • Roving Support: One teacher instructs while the other moves between students, assisting as necessary.
  • Teach and Write/Chart: At times each teacher should be the instructor providing visual representations of instructional information.
  • Activity Groups or Station Teaching: Students should be grouped in a variety of configurations [e.g. pairs, triads, cooperative groups] to work on an academic task. Groups should contain both ELLs and mainstream students. Both teachers should work with all student groups.
  • Teach and Elaborate or Teach and Retell: One teacher provides the initial introduction to information and the second teacher elaborates or retells in detail.
  • Parallel Teaching: Both teachers teach simultaneously with different groups of students.