The Language Lens for Content Classrooms

The Language Lens for Content Classrooms

A Guide for K-12 Educators of Academic and English Language Learners

Sarah B. Ottow

Developing a Language Lens means cultivating a cultural and linguistic responsiveness that improves the learning experience and achievement of every language learner—be they English Language Learners, Academic Language Learners, or both. Any student can be a language learner, so this guide is for every K-12 instructor who is looking to be more effective, inclusive, and responsive in their teaching.

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Every teacher is a language teacher, every student is a language learner, and every classroom needs a Language Lens.

Sarah Ottow has spent 20 years helping schools and organizations develop a Language Lens—a cultural and linguistic responsiveness that improves the learning experience and achievement of every language learner. The Language Lens for Content Classrooms: A Guide for K-12 Educators of Academic and English Language Learners is the starting point for any general education or content teacher of:

  • English Language Learners: students who are learning English as a second (or more!) language, and who may not speak English at home.
  • Academic Language Learners: students who are learning the language necessary to access the curriculum—the nuanced language needed to process and apply content standards, skills, and knowledge that differ for every subject—who may or may not be ELLs.

It doesn’t matter if you teach Chemistry, Gym, or Language Arts; any student can be a language learner, so this guide is for every K-12 instructor who is looking to be more effective, inclusive, and responsive in their teaching.

Additional Resources

Make it FUNctional! Curriculum Guidance for Teachers of ELLs/ALLs (VirtuEL Conference 2018)

Product Code: BPP180015
ISBN: 9781943920600 | 03/20/19
Publisher: LSI

Reviews

This timely book provides a host of highly practical insights for addressing one of our most important challenges faced by educators striving to meet the academic and sociolinguistic needs of all students: cultivating the powerful symbiosis of language development and content learning.
 
– Jeff Zwiers, Senior Researcher, Stanford University Graduate School of Education

"The Language Lens for Content Classrooms offers an essential blend of instructional strategies and approaches as well as a holistic vision of the mindsets and perspectives any and every educator of English Learners must have. Ottow breaks down the terminology and context of an increasingly diverse K-12 education system and provides suggestions, tools, and thought-provoking questions to guide the reader. Readable, relatable, and rich with examples and anecdotes, I recommend [this book] for educators starting off or seeking to refine and deepen their practice in teaching with English Learners.

– Rebecca Westlake, ELL Director, Salem Public Schools

"Putting on a 'language lens' in your content classroom is akin to giving your students superpower capes. The practical ideas in this book will transform your classroom into a more engaging and interactive space where students use oral and written language actively. In doing so, students will develop a meta-understanding of the power of language as a lifelong tool to learn everything more deeply and convey that learning with the enviable competency they will need in college and career."

– Tim Boals, Ph.D., WIDA Founder and Director 

Author Sarah Ottow's wealth of knowledge is on full display here. This book is a comprehensive and accessible primer for classroom teachers who want to support their multilingual learner students but aren’t sure where to start. Language and content teachers alike will find practical “next day” strategies to help meet the needs of multilingual learners.

– Melissa Katz, Director of the NYC Special Education Collaborative and Inclusive Education Initiatives

This book arrives right on time, as it provides teachers and leaders with a practical guide that combines language development tools and strategies with an appreciation for culture and student identity. As an ESL student who now sits in the superintendent’s office, I appreciate the book’s conscious effort to move practitioners to getting to know their students culturally and linguistically, while providing a very comprehensive set of competencies that support language learners in content classrooms. The stories of students’ language learning journeys bring this work to life and the added bonuses of links to many other resources make this book a must have for anyone interested in building a multi-lingual community.

– Victor F. Capellan, Superintendent, Central Falls School District

Free Resources