Empowering English Language Learners by differentiating instruction to meet their abilities and experiences.

“So much about their learning is new and unique to their personal experience. That’s why I’ve found it’s essential to offer English Language Learners genuinely differentiated instruction—instruction that’s based on a genuine relationship and a real understanding of each student’s story.”

Taking steps to personalize my teaching goes a long way toward empowering my English Language Learners.

To better serve my students, I first assess their academic and linguistic abilities early on. I do this by introducing a fun survey that requires them to answer questions about who they are in their home country and who they are in their new country. The engaging questions ease their anxiety to perform in another language. Here they are encouraged to translate and construct meaningful sentences in both their first and second languages;

Next, I drive instruction by being animated and accessible—by using body language, facing students while speaking, speaking slower and enunciating each word, and employing lots of visuals, academic language and social language interactive word walls; and

Then, I differentiate instruction by personalizing each student’s learning in a way that meets and then just exceeds his or her present competencies and comfort level.”

Dorina Sackman-Ebuwa

Dorina Sackman-Ebuwa is the 2014 Florida Teacher of the Year, and a Finalist for National Teacher of the Year. She is a leading authority on teaching English Language Learners, and has spent the past 20 years face-to-face with students of diverse ... Full Bio