Teachers ‘Optimistic’ about English Learner Success

A new McGraw-Hill Education survey shows that while social and emotional learning challenges still present hurdles for English Learners (ELs), the state of English Learning in the U.S. is improving rapidly, with most educators indicating they are optimistic about ELs ability to succeed academically.
More than 460 teachers
and administrators in K-12 schools across the U.S. took part in the second
McGraw-Hill English Learners Report, an annual survey of educators and
administrators.
The study
presents a positive image of English language instruction in America, noting its growth and increasing
accessibility, with 50% of educators said EL enrollment has increased over the
past five years. A majority believed that EL instruction is sufficiently
funded, with access to appropriate instructional resources increasing over the
past five years.
Respondents
reported that interactive instructional approaches and adaptive tools were the
most effective teaching methods. The survey highlighted interactive classroom
games and collaborative group work as interactive instructional approaches. A
2017 McGraw-Hill article explained that adaptive learning utilizes artificial
intelligence to give every learner a personalized course that adapted real-time
to their performance and interest
level.
However, the most
widely used classroom instructional tools were audio-visual resources, while
adaptive learning technologies and free online educational resources were second.
A majority of
educators believed their school or district provided “sufficient ongoing
professional development opportunities to hone their skills,” and many felt
they were generally equipped to teach ELs.
However, 46%
of administrators and 36% of teachers felt they had not received enough EL
training/professional development, and nearly a quarter in both groups said
they did not feel confident applying the development they had received.
A majority of
educators believed that EL instruction contributes to students’ overall English
proficiency and academic performance. More than 75% of educators say they are
optimistic about EL’s ability to succeed academically.
However,
numerous survey respondents say that social and emotional challenges created
learning obstacles for students. The study used examples such as “having
overcome trauma or insufficient language skills to communicate with other
students” to define social and emotional challenges.
Respondents
also note a lack of family and community support as the second-largest learning
hurdle. Conversations about immigration, which more than 60% of administrators
and teachers report as being more prevalent than those about other political
issues such as climate change and gun violence, also impact EL classrooms.
Student reluctance to participate is the fourth and final factor marked by
educators as affecting EL learning.
The study
findings highlight the connection between social and emotional health and
academic success, underscoring the need for schools to improve their support
systems, as well as the need for educator training and the continued
implementation of adaptive learning technologies and interactive instructional
approaches.
The full
report can be downloaded here https://www.mheducation.com/prek-12/explore/2019-el-survey.html


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