ELL News Headlines

Throughout the week, Colorín Colorado gathers news headlines related to English language learners from around the country. The ELL Headlines are posted Monday through Friday and are available for free!

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Study: How a Facebook Classroom Unit Enhanced English Language Literacy Among Refugee Students

Three years ago, three colleagues in the University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development teamed up to pilot a Facebook unit in a high school classroom mainly composed of Somali English language learners.  Recognizing the appeal of social media among adolescents, Jenifer Vanek, Kendall King and Martha Bigelow — three instructors at the U of M specializing in second language acquisition — decided to investigate how it might be used to support English literacy development in the classroom. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Language, Identity and Education. "There are so many discourses that are about skills that they don't have," said King, noting that those who are new to working with this student population often express surprise over the fact that they need to cover basics like how to properly hold a pencil. "In our work with them, all the time, we could see they were so sophisticated in using their phones, and using whatever device they had. There are all these skills we could maybe leverage."

Waldorf University in Iowa Introduces ESL Endorsement

Waldorf University is receiving approval from the Iowa Department of Education for its English as a Second Language (ESL) endorsement, and is now offering it as an option for Education students. The ESL endorsement will help prepare future elementary through secondary educators on teaching English as a second language to students, and is part of several endorsements available within the Bachelor of Science in Education curriculum.

Seeds of Maya Genius Grow in a New Kind of School

Imagine a small, developing nation whose education system is severely lacking: schools are poorly funded, students can't afford tuition or books, fewer than half of indigenous girls even attend school — and often drop out to take care of siblings or get married. These are the schools of rural Guatemala. Now meet a firebrand educator who thinks he has a way to reinvent those schools by focusing on the whole child.

How Traumatized Are Puerto Rico's Children, and What's Being Done to Help?

Puerto Rico's students and teachers are still grappling with fallout from Hurricane Maria more than a year after the storm struck the island. So what do we know about the extent of trauma in the U.S. territory's schools, and what resources are being brought to bear to help them? 

One of the World's 7,000 Languages Dies Every Three Months. Can Apps Help Save Them?

Like his ancestors, 65-year-old Clayton Long spent his childhood immersed in Navajo culture, greeting fellow clan members with old, breathful Navajo words like "Yá'át'ééh." Then he was sent to an English-only boarding school where his native language, also known as Diné, was banned. "I went into a silent resistance," Long says from his home in Blanding, Utah. He vowed that he would help to preserve it after he left, work he has done for about three decades as a teacher. This week, he’s entering new territory on that mission: the app store. Long is one of the educators working with language-learning startup Duolingo on the company’s latest endeavor: using its popular app to revive threatened languages. On Oct. 8, celebrated in some places as Indigenous People's Day, Duolingo will launch courses in both Navajo and Hawaiian, two of the estimated 3,150 languages that face doubts about their long-term survival.

Most States Failing to Meet English-Learner Academic Targets, Report Finds

A new U.S. Department of Education report found that states are struggling to meet their academic targets for English-language learners in mathematics and reading. "The Biennial Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Title III State Formula Grant Program" found that just five states met their goals for helping English-language learners make progress in learning the language and reaching academic targets in mathematics and reading during the 2013-14 school year, the most recent year for which data was submitted.