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English Language Learners

English Language Learners

Many languages, one mission: education for all


  • Strategies to help everyone win when educators and families partner in the education of children.

  • 5 ways to help ELLs and their families achieve success in school and in their communities.

  • The National Education Association has a long, proud legacy of advocating for great public schools for every student, including English language learners.
  • Speaking in Tongues: A Movie Not to Miss!
  • anc_dyn_links
    Yes, you can get parents of English Language Learners involved. It just takes the right invitation.

Main Issues

Achievement gaps between ELLs and non-ELL students are deeply rooted, pervasive, complex, and challenging for the National Education Association affiliates and members. The good news is that NEA is actively addressing the complex issues by engaging in research and advocacy and proposing strategies that we can pursue individually and collectively to help eliminate those gaps.


Schools need the following to effectively address ELL students:

  • A research-based process for the effective teaching of ELLs
  • Curriculum design and lesson planning based on sound pedagogical principles, practices, and high standards
  • Strategic methods to employ for making grade-level materials and resources comprehensible for ELLs
  • Research-based training on theory, culture, diversity, social status, and policy of language acquisition
  • Training, technical assistance, and/or funding for programs and services for ELL students
  • Advocacy that will increase awareness as to the coalitions that support educators who work with ELLs
  • Resources that will help educators learn more about effective, differentiated teaching strategies specifically addressing ELLs.

NEA's English Language Learners: Culture, Equity & Language Training Module for Closing the Achievement Gaps is a resource with research-based and classroom-focused instructional and advocacy strategies to help educators:

  • Engage English Language Learners in academic learning and English language development
  • Recognize and build on cultural and equity assumptions and culturally relevant instruction
  • Create classroom and school environments that facilitate language learning
  • Absorb, understand and capitalize on language acquisition theory
  • Recognize language development stages and promising instructional practices for teaching in the classroom and school
  • Identify appropriate ELL instructional strategies aligned and differentiated to lessons, objectives, and goals
  • Find innovative ways to motivate ELLs to practice academic language skills that are carefully structured and require students to demonstrate growing proficiency.

For more information, contact the NEA English Language Learner Program.