The Coaching and Self-Reflection Tool for Competency in Teaching English Learners

The Coaching and Self-Reflection Tool for Competency in Teaching English Learners

Indicator 4c

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities and Teacher Leadership

Teachers maximize support student learning by developing and demonstrating professionalism, collaboration, and leadership by:


4c. Working with colleagues, students and families to develop and sustain a positive school climate that supports student learning

To motivate diverse learners, it is vital to ensure a safe and responsive environment where everyone is valued (Karaoglu 2008). While classroom environment is one of the factors, the culture of collaboration with parents and families of English learners is another. School districts have a legal obligation to communicate meaningfully with parents of English learners about programs, services, and activities (OELA, 2015). By fulfilling these obligations, educators are better able to instruct students, tap into their funds of knowledge, and collaborate with families to ensure positive educational experiences for students.

Specific practices and strategies that allow teachers to collaborate around and build best-practices to meet the needs of English learners may include:

  • Advocating for the needs of English learners.
  • Creating an inclusive environment that highlights the funds of knowledge that English learners possess, as addressed in the Guiding Principles of the CELP Standards.
  • Engaging linguistically and culturally diverse families in a culturally responsive manner.
  • Anticipating the needs of families of English learners including the need for translation.
  • Actively participating as an advocate for English learners and families, educating colleagues, and challenging assumptions.
  • Highlighting the funds of knowledge that English learners possess for the wider community.

Sample “Might See” for 4c

An observer might see:

  • During parent-teacher conferences, the teacher has prepared questions in the parents’ home language and English to facilitate discussions.
  • The teacher sends out a monthly schoolwide newsletter that highlights the successes of English learners across the building.
  • The teacher sends home a monthly newsletter in multiple languages with guides of how parents can support their children.
  • The teacher compiles supports in the community for parents to take adult ESL classes.
  • The teacher shares information about cultural norms of the predominant cultures represented in the student population with other teachers to prepare them for interactions with families of English learners.
  • The teacher invites parents of English learners to share their expertise in the classroom or school.

Sample coaching and reflection questions

  • In what ways might you educate and engage families in the “business of school?”
  • How might you investigate the assumptions you are making about the ELs in your classroom?
  • How do you know what works to make ELs and their families feel safe, secure, and comfortable in your classroom or building?
  • In what ways might you build your understandings about the different cultures of the ELs in your school/classroom?