Podcasts on English Learners in Secondary Schools: A focus on transitions and opportunities to learn





As part of the work of our Center, the National Research & Development Center to Improve Education for Secondary English Learners which was established by IES in 2020, three Center researchers were invited by the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) to participate in a webinar. In this event we discussed what research has shown about the academic trajectories of English Learners in middle and high schools, and the types of opportunities that deepen and accelerate their development.


Dr. Ilana Umansky from the University of Oregon, Dr. Karen Thompson from Oregon State University, and Dr. Aída Walqui, from WestEd, participated in a presentation entitled English Learners in Secondary Schools: Trajectories, Transition Points, and Promising Practices hosted by OELA in early 2021. The presentation discussed the academic trajectories of English Learners in secondary school settings, including newcomer students, students who have been labeled as long-term English Learners, English Learners with disabilities, and former English Learners. The discussion focused on the constraints that English Learners face in course enrollment engagement and success in academic classes, and most importantly, what we know about the malleable factors that can improve their progress through school.


The response from the audience was overwhelming and because many good questions from the audience could not be addressed during the webinar, OELA brought the panelists back together for a two-part podcast to discuss these relevant queries. In part 1, the team expands on how to support English Learners in meeting graduation requirements and mitigating risks that may lead them to drop out of school as well as what is known about quality academic development of English Learners. In part 2, the panelists discuss the needs of students with limited or interrupted formal education, professional learning opportunities for educators of secondary English Learners, and expanded on promising practices that can help educators meet their needs in secondary schools.


As research on these important lines of work continues, and new lessons are learned, Center researchers will continue sharing them with all those committed to the education of the talented English Learners in our school.


Listen now to learn more about the work that Drs. Thompson, Umansky, and Walqui are engaged in regarding the education of English Learners in secondary schools.

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