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EAL and Content Teachers Collaborating to Support All Students at a Saskatchewan Secondary School
Research Site: Secondary School in Regina,
Saskatchewan with approximately 1600 students
from Grades 9-12. 20% of students are EAL students
originating from 35 different countries including
China, Pakistan, India, Korea, the Philippines, and
Terminology: English as an Additional Language
(EAL) Students/Teachers; Content Teachers;
Increasing number of EAL students in the school
district. Need for English as an Additional Language
(EAL) teachers and content teachers to work more
collaboratively to support students.
Peercy and Martin-Beltran (2012) - “when pairs envisioned their
work as collaborative, they created a synergy that constructed a
broader network of resources for ELLs by bringing together more
people, materials, ideas, and abilities than either teacher was
able to generate alone.”
Creese (2006) - The content teacher is responsible for ensuring
that students learn content and meet the required outcomes while
the EAL teacher seeks to ensure that metalinguistic needs are
Fu et al. (2007) - As a result of teacher collaboration, ELLs
gained confidence and were more willing to take risks in the
mainstream classroom. Teachers learned a great deal about
teaching and about themselves as teachers.
Arkoudis (2003) - Emphasizes the importance of pedagogical
relations between teachers and urges that teachers remain open
to constant negotiation where understandings emerge as they
How do I understand my practice better as a
result of collaborating with content teachers
to provide sheltered instruction for EAL
students in mainstream classrooms? How
can I help content teachers to better
support EAL students?
Which collaborative activities do we
perceive to be most effective for teachers’
professional development and for EAL
students’ academic success?
The Literacy Engagement Framework
(Cummins, J., Mirza, R., & Stille, S., 2012)
Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol
(Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2008)
The Five Levels of Collaboration framework
developed by Davison (2006)
Action Research Study
Five participants in total.
Myself as the practitioner-researcher.
One EAL teacher as a “critical friend”
Costa and Kallick (1993).
Three content teachers including two
English teachers and a science teacher.
Pre- and Post-Interviews
SIOP Lesson Plans
Participant Journals (E-Mails, Journals,
any written communication)
EAL teacher (Beth) as “critical friend”.
“…[O]ur world is getting a lot smaller and we need to learn
about each other and [I] find that working together, we can
“I think that collaborative team members need to recognize
that these are all of our kids and they are not just the EAL
teachers’ responsibility and if you have them on your class
list, you need to treat them like you treat everybody else. I
also feel like …if the work is too difficult, then it’s your
responsibility to make it more accessible for your kids so you
have to highlight key terms or I know that more one-on-one
time for them or assign a buddy to them…something that the
classroom teacher should have to do so I think we all need
to come together and talk about, you know, the special
needs that our EAL kids have.”
Content Objectives: I can recognize familiar common place phrases in
writing and replace them with original or distinct words, phrases, or images.
Language Objectives: I can write clichés using words and images.
Key Vocabulary: cliché, tone, concrete image, sensory language, parallel
Higher Order Questions:
What general idea or theme are you suggesting through your clichéd
images? (Be specific!)
How do the images create a particular tone? For example, critical,
admiring, objective tones.
Scaffolding: Modeling Guided Independent
Grouping: Whole Class Small Group Partners Independent
Processes: Reading Writing Listening Speaking
Can volunteer to read their poems aloud.
Strategies: Hands-on Meaningful Links to Objectives
Review and Assessment (Check all that apply):
Individual Group Written Oral
Review Key Vocabulary: Create a colour coded system to identify the
vocabulary in own writing piece. For example, highlight three words
that identify the tone in your writing.
Review Key Content Concepts: Create a unique poem about
personal identity using the style of Duke Redbird and including the
Extensive prior experience collaborating as
part of an inter-disciplinary team
Fewer opportunities to meet and discuss
“Tuesdays with Morrie” Example
Ranked lower on Davison’s Levels of
Finding time to meet for planning,
grading, reviewing reflections, focusing
on the models of collaboration.
Lack of common prep time
Trying to balance our roles as co-teachers
Expand knowledge of each other’s areas
› Ability to observe students while other is teaching
› Introduce different teaching strategies – try new
Better support students
› Both content and language needs addressed
› Students may connect with one teacher more
› Content being presented in different ways
› Lower teacher to student ratio
The Five Levels of Collaboration
framework developed by Davison (2006)
1. Pseudo-compliance or passive
5. Creative Co-Construction
How do I understand my practice better as a result
of collaborating with content teachers to provide
sheltered instruction for EAL students in mainstream
classrooms? How can I help content teachers to
better support EAL students?
Which collaborative activities do we perceive to
be most effective for teachers’ professional
development and for EAL students’ academic
EAL and content teachers have much to learn
from each other.
Sharing with another EAL expert is valuable to
Co-teaching involves open communication,
mutual respect and commitment to learning
Effective professional learning
Enjoyed incorporating content/language objectives
Appreciated alternative point of view
Realization they can be very flexible
Lots of benefits to collaboration for teachers and
Collaborative training in teacher collaboration
Educate teachers on how to use common
collaborative tools such as SIOP lessons or
Provide teachers with education in teacher
Ensure that time is made available to support
collaborative opportunities from an
“All teachers working with ESL students [ELLs] need to be
equipped with not only knowledge of language and culture, but
also skills of collaboration, leadership and critical reflection, to
engage all educators in the innovative process that leads to
change in schools. Not only do all teachers need to understand
and embrace their roles as language teachers and cultural
facilitators, but they need to take on the challenge of being an
advocate for ESL students and collaborating with other educators,
parents, and the community in advancing our efforts to prepare
ESL students for the twenty-first century.”
He, Y., Prater, K., & Steed, T. (2011). Moving beyond 'just good teaching': ESL
professional development for all teachers.
Arkoudis, S. (2003). Teaching English as a second language in science classes: Incommensurate
epistemologies. Language and Education, 17(3), 161-173.
Costa, A., & Kallick, B. (1993, October). Through the lens of a critical friend. Educational
Leadership, 51(2), 49-51.
Creese, A. (2006). Supporting talk? Partnership teachers in classroom interaction. International
Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9(4), 434-453.
Cummins, J., Mirza, R., & Stille, S. (2012). English language learners in Canadian schools:
Emerging directions for school-based policies. TESL Canada Journal, 29(6), 25-47.
Davison, C. (2006). Collaboration between ESL and content teachers: How do we know when we
are doing it right? The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9(4), 454-475.
Echevarria, J. V. (2008). Making Content Comprehensible for Secondary English Learners: The
SIOP® Model. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Fu, D., Houser, R., & Huang, A. (2007). A collaboration between ESL and regular classroom
teachers for ELL students' literacy development. Changing English, 14(3), 325-342.
He, Y., Prater, K., & Steed, T. (2011). Moving beyond 'just good teaching': ESL professional
development for all teachers. Professional Development in Education, 37(1), 7-18.
Peercy, M., & Martin-Beltran, M. (2012). Envisioning collaboration: including ESOL students and
teachers in the mainstream classroom. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 16(7), 657-673.
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