feedback during learning, or the long-term discrimination and missed opportunities they may experience if they’re
unable to produce accurate language
in academic discussions?
When you engage in regular cycles
of formative language assessment with
your students, you’ll see language
growth throughout the year and have
detailed notes to document it. Find
some teacher friends (especially ESL
teachers and bilingual teachers) and
invite them to get started with you.
You’ll be in the weeds sometimes as
you try to make sense of student language, but you’ll be learning together.
It’s not so much about the perfect
analysis of language, but rather about
the value of the process.
I often tell teachers, “If students
don’t say it in your class, they’re never
going to say it.” Our classrooms are
the natural habitat for academic language, but just because the teacher
uses academic language, it doesn’t
mean that students will be able to do
so, too. As you engage in this process
of analyzing language and giving specific feedback, you’ll become more
adept at modeling language for students, setting clear expectations for
language production, and providing
crucial opportunities for practice and
interaction. What better way to help
your English language learners soar?;EL
Alvarez, L., Ananda, S., Walqui, A., Sato,
E., & Rabinowitz, S. (2014). Focusing
formative assessment on the needs of
English language learners. Washington,
Heritage, M., & Stigler, J. (2010). For-
mative assessment: Making it happen
in the classroom. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Mediamerge. (2011). Professor John Hattie’s
table of effect sizes. Retrieved from www
WIDA Consortium. (2009, September).
WIDA focus on formative assessment.
WIDA Focus Bulletin, 1( 9). Retrieved
Wiggins, G. (2012). Seven keys to effective
feedback. Educational Leadership, 70( 1),
Kristina Robertson (kmrobertz@gmail
.com) is an English language supervisor
in Roseville, Minnesota; an education
consultant; a former WIDA national
trainer; and a writer for Colorín Colorado
( www.colorincolorado.org). Follow her
on Twitter @eladvocacy or on Facebook
ASCD / WWW.ASCD.ORG 61
Although some students may eventually “grow into”
correct language usage through continual exposure
in the classroom, most students will not.