Learning Disability or ESL Issue Guide for Educators of ELLs

Rated 5 out of 5, based on 19 reviews
19 Ratings
The ESL Nexus
Grade Levels
Not Grade Specific
Formats Included
  • PDF
21 pages
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The ESL Nexus

What educators are saying

I used this as an activity to help my staff understand what to look for when trying to differentiate between a language delay and a language disorder - it was a really eye-opening questionnaire.
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Ever wonder if an English Language Learner student has a learning disability because he or she is not doing well in class? Figuring out the difference between a special education need or a second language issue is not easy. This questionnaire is a tool to help educators determine if a bilingual or multilingual student who is having difficulty in regular education classes needs more ESL support or should be referred for special education testing. It can also help when an ELL is being considered for retention.

Resource at a Glance:

What will educators learn?

* How the academic and family backgrounds of English Language Learners impacts their ability to learn the English language.

* The impact your own training and experience in working with ELLs has on their ability to be successful in school.

* What kinds of modifications help ELLs succeed in school.

Who is it for?

* Teachers who have ELLs in their classes.

* Other educators who work with ELLs.

How does it help educators?

* Use the flow chart as a visual to help decide what to do about an English Language Learner who is struggling in school.

* Use the blank questionnaire to record info about an ELL who is struggling.

* Use the annotated questionnaire as background info to help you decide if an ELL might need to be tested for a learning disability or if the student needs more ESL language support.

What educators who have used this resource say about it:

♥ "Very informative! Thanks!" -- Janna W.

♥ "I used this as an activity to help my staff understand what to look for when trying to differentiate between a language delay and a language disorder - it was a really eye-opening questionnaire." -- Allison B.


What's included in this ELL product:

★ Table of contents for quick reference (1 page)

★ A Notes to the Teacher section with background information (2 pages)

★ A flow chart with questions for educators (1 page)

★ Blank cover page for recording info about the student for whom the questionnaire is being used (1 page)

★ The blank questionnaire, with space to write responses to each of the questions (6 pages)

★ The annotated questionnaire, with comments from the ESL perspective on various types of behavior that often lead to a suspicion of a learning disability, and why it might or might not be an issue of needing more language support instead (8 pages)

More Info:

The questionnaire has 19 questions divided into 4 sections:

* The Student's Background

* The Student's Performance in Class

* The Teacher's Experience and Training in Working with ELLs

* Modifications Being Made

Teachers, coaches and administrators can use this questionnaire to obtain information about ELL students who are not doing well in school and then, combined with data obtained from other sources, make a more informed decision about how to best support students who have a multilingual background.

A 1-page flow chart with questions to help you determine if a struggling ELL needs ESL or Special Education support is also included in the resource.

This questionnaire was developed for teachers at a K-8 school and is also suitable for use by high school educators. It was presented at many in-service teacher trainings in my school district. Both regular education and special education teachers said it was a very useful tool.

Using this questionnaire can help all educators begin the process of determining whether a struggling bilingual or multilingual student needs special education services, ESL support if it is not being provided, or additional language support if the student is already in an ESL program.


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Thank you and happy teaching!


Total Pages
21 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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