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Advocating for English Learners

Advocating for English Learners
A Guide for Educators

Foreword by John Segota, A Joint Publication with TESOL

November 2013 | 264 pages | Corwin

Embrace the future by ensuring English Learners have a voice in school.

English Learners (ELs) are the fastest-growing segment of the K–12 population.  But ELs and their families—who are in the process of learning English and navigating an often-unfamiliar education system—may not have a powerful enough voice to articulate their needs.  Consequently, all teachers and administrators must advocate for this all-important diverse group of students who will become tomorrow’s workforce. This book demystifies the techniques of advocacy for ELs, including:

  • A shared sense of responsibility for EL success—Providing tools that every educator can use to ensure that ELs are effectively served.
  • An overview for administrators—Influencing policy and fostering a culture that meets EL needs
  • Advocacy for ELs’ success beyond Grade 12—Equipping ELs for life after graduation, from higher education to career decisions 

ELs will continue to grow in number, and leaving them and their families voiceless is simply not an option. No educator can miss this essential book.

“In many ways, the history of American Education is the history of a quest for equality.  Dr. Staehr Fenner lends a human face to the experience of English Learners and encourages us to think in terms of what attributes ELs bring to their learning experience and how others can benefit from their presence in the classroom. This book is a promising, uplifting, and much-needed call for action!”
— Rosa Aronson, Executive Director
TESOL International Association, Alexandria, VA

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On-line book studyavailable now!
Author Staehr Fenner’s company, SupportEd, has created an on-demand LMS book study for readers of Advocating for English Learners A Guide for Educators. The self-paced book study works around your schedule and when you're done, you’ll earn a certificate for 20 hours of PD. SupportEd can also customize the book study for specific district timelines, cohorts and/or needs upon request. Learn more.

About the Author
1. Need for Advocacy for English Learners
2. Creating a Shared Sense of Responsibility for Teaching English Learners
3. How ESL Teachers Can Collaborate to Expand Advocacy Efforts for ELs
4. Advocacy Overview for School and District Administrators
5. Increasing EL Families' Involvement Through Building Their Advocacy Capacity
6. Advocacy Through Effective Instruction of ELs
7. Advocating for ELs in Assessment
8. Advocacy for ELs' Success Beyond Grade 12

"In many ways, the history of American Education is the history of a quest for equality.  With this must-read book, Dr. Staehr Fenner empowers educators to continue this quest on behalf of students who have too often been relegated to the basement of school buildings, literally and figuratively.   She lends a human face to the experience of English Learners and encourages us to think in terms of what attributes ELs bring to their learning experience and how others can benefit from their presence in the classroom. This book is a promising, uplifting, and much-needed call for action!"

Rosa Aronson, Executive Director
TESOL International Association, Alexandria, VA

"This book is a major contribution to the field in that it offers concrete actions administrators, teachers and parents can take to ensure best practices in schools for ELs.  Diane Staehr Fenner demonstrates her extensive school-based experience by providing a highly practical handbook filled with useful models, tools, and professional development activities, all of which are well grounded in an assets-based and shared responsibility theoretical framework.  This volume will meaningfully advance program quality, assessment and instructional practices, and family engagement through well-formulated advocacy initiatives as demanded by current EL teacher education standards. A welcome addition to all who care about the education of ELs PreK-12 and beyond!"

Nancy Cloud, Director, M.Ed. in TESL Program
Feinstein School of Education and Human Development, Rhode Island College

"This book makes a very important contribution to the field by highlighting the importance of advocacy and, through its numerous examples of advocacy in action, showing how to achieve equitable and excellent education for ELs."

Diane August, Principal
D. August and Associates

"Staehr Fenner delves into the many facets of school-centered advocacy that promote the educational advancement of English language learners. Her thorough treatment of the roles of many stakeholders—including teachers, school leaders, district administrators, and family members—in viewing linguistic and cultural diversity from a strength-based perspective is motivation to read this valuable resource."

Margo Gottlieb, Director
Assessment & Evaluation, Illinois Resource Center

"Diane Staehr Fenner coaches her readers on how to develop a much needed, decisive voice of advocacy. She makes a most compelling case for educators to share the responsibility for teaching English learners within and outside the school. A must read for all teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and policy makers!"

Andrea Honigsfeld, Professor
Molloy College, NY

“This book will equip educators with the research and the courage needed to make sure their EL students succeed. A true treasure trove of answers—whether the reader is a veteran educator of ELs, or someone who is new to the profession and the field, this book will improve practice, no doubt about it!”

Giselle Lundy-Ponce, Associate Director
American Federation of Teachers, Washington, DC

"Just when you thought no one could hear you above the din of everyday life as an educator, Diane Staehr Fenner has written a book that demonstrates a broad understanding of the challenges we face. Advocating for English Learners is a great opportunity to engage colleagues in the reflective and collaborative discussions critical to needs assessment and proactive program development to address the needs of some of our most vulnerable citizens and newly arrived immigrant students. This book should be part of every pre-service and in-serivce program for teachers and administrators who serve English learners. The challenge is not what we can do for our students. Our challenge is to create learning environments that recognize and energize the potential of each child and each family to contribute to our communities."

Anne Marie Foerster Luu, TESOL, International Teacher of the Year, 2013
Montgomery County Public Schools and McDaniel College, MD

"This is a state-of-the-art, practical, comprehensive resource that will be extremely useful and valuable to practitioners as they advocate to make a positive difference in the lives of English learners and their families."

Teddi Predaris, Director, Office of Language Acquisition and Title I
Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

"Diane Staehr Fenner’s practical tips on how to effectively advocate for ELLs will be a valuable resource for schools nationwide. Highly recommended for professional development discussions, district-level planning teams, and pre-service settings."

Lydia Breiseth, Manager
Colorín Colorado, Arlington, VA

"There are a plethora of books that tell teachers and instructional leaders how to best teach ELLs, but the field is in dire need of Advocating for English Learners. Finally, a book that tells us what we need to know before we can get to the work of actual instruction. This book provides educators with a firm understanding of the social and emotional supports that we must provide in order for our ELLs to maximize their academic potential. Advocating for English Learners goes beyond the classroom--linking our students' realities to the school. It shows us how to use our sphere of influence to provide what might be the missing ingredients for helping our ELLs to learn. This book is a must read for any teacher or administrator who is interested in improving his or her practice and changing the culture of the school to one that embraces all learners."

Esta Montano, Director, English Language Education Special Programs
Boston Public Schools, MA

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 2

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452257693