According to the National Center for Education Statistics, significant achievement gaps of up to 45% persist for English Learners in math and reading.1 At an ELL Made Simple workshop, one of the primary outcomes is for participants to embrace the essential elements that make deeper learning effective.
What is deeper learning? Deeper learning can best be summed up using the simple acronym, H.E.A.T., representing the student application of Higher order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic connections, and Technology use.
The key to becoming proficient in the “H.E.A.T.” look-fors is, obviously, practice...and more practice. But transforming grade level language proficiency and content objectives into robust learning activities consistently throughout the school year also requires thoughtful participation in other activities; namely, interactive simulations, case studies, video snapshots, and lesson plan reviews.
Closing the achievement gap between English Learners and non-English Learners does not occur overnight, but requires a renewed perspective that mastery of English language proficiency can occur simultaneously with acquisition of rigorous academic content.
1 U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1990–2015 Mathematics & Reading Assessments.