[semester equivalent = .66 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



In six chapters, all very interesting and readable, the author has laid out the most important issues (and some misconceptions) about the way best to work with a second language population.  She includes information about “Best Practices” and “What Educators Need to Know About Language.”  She includes the impact of national, state, and local requirements, and how to make the most of the realities a teacher will face.  Included are some practical teaching strategies, and where else to turn for more in-depth information.

This would be a good preface or follow-up to the 2-credit course Getting Started with English Language Learners, or an overview for the person who wants a brief introduction to what is going on in the real world of second language learners.

Course Text: Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator’s Guide by Judith Lessow-Hurley.  This 92 page 6” x9” book, ISBN 0-87120-759-1, is available for approximately $16.95 at Amazon.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. learned the reason first language development should be fostered while learning a second language.
  2. understood the need for a goal of communicative competence over native-like proficiency.
  3. understood the reason that frequent correction of language usage errors doesn’t help the ELL student.
  4. learned about the historical irony of the use of Navajo code-talkers in World War II.
  5. explored the answers to many Frequently Asked Questions.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



For additional reading accessing an annotated Master Bibliography for this course that enhances any teacher’s toolbox.The Bibliography can be downloaded where you got the syllabus on

  • Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator's Guide
    ISBN# 0871207591
    by Lessow-Hurley, Judith

    Buy from Amazon


Text cost is approximately $16.95 at



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introductions.

Briefly introduce yourself and tell why you have chosen this book.
Chapter 1 “Who Is the Second Language Learner?”
Why is it difficult to estimate the number of English Language Learners?
What is the difference between Language Minority students and Limited English Proficient Students?
Describe the difference between Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency and Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills.

Assignment #2: Concerning Language.

Chapter 2:  “What Educators Need to Know About Language” 
What does it mean to “code-switch?”  Is this the indicator of a lack of proficiency in either language?

Assignment #3: Questions.

Chapter 2:  Because we, as teachers, are fond of correctness, what methods of language instruction might we over-rely on, and what would be a preferable strategy?  Why is it unwise to try to replace home language with English?

Assignment #4: 2 Options.

Chapter 2:  Complete one (1) of the following options:  Describe some of the strategies adults use to help babies learn language OR  Why do doctors who do voluntary plastic surgery in underdeveloped nations usually fix a cleft lip before a cleft palate, and what does this have to do with language acquisition?

Assignment #5: Using Primary Language.

Chapter 3: “Best Practices”
What does research say about the value of using primary language in instruction to help students learn English and foster academic success?

Assignment #6: 2 Questions.

Chapter 3: Answer one (1) of the following questions:  Why is cooperative grouping an effective strategy for bilingual students? OR  What are some of the techniques used in sheltered instruction?

Assignment #7: Teacher Qualifications.

Chapter 4“Teacher Qualifications”
Beyond language, make your own list of what qualifies teachers who work with second language learners.

Assignment #8: Some Differences.

Chapter 4: Describe the differences between enculturation, acculturation, and assimilation.

Assignment #9: Politics & Policy.

Chapter 5 “Language Politics, Language Policy, and Schooling”
Answer one (1) of the following questions:  What are some evidences that schools are political, and what are some repercussions for language programs? OR
What are some historical ironies of restricting Bilingual Education?

Assignment #10: FAQ’s.

Chapter 6 “Frequently Asked Questions About Language Teaching and Learning”  
Regarding the question, “Should the United States have an official language policy?” find what programs an enforced English-only policy would limit.

Assignment #11: COURSE FORUM.

If you had the opportunity to make a suggestion to the U.S. Dept. of Education about teacher training for working with ELL students, what would you say?
If others have already shared comments, please respond to the one(s) that caught your interest.



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #12: Lesson Development.

Assignment #12:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)
Assignment #12-A:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Assignment #12-B:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #13: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:              
Option A)  Create a presentation that could be given for a group of colleagues, based on your reading.  It can be in the form of a Power Point, or a “lesson plan.”  The presentation should include a copy of any handout(s) you will use.  (If you ask for feedback, follow the “Peer Response as Part of Assignment Response” directions in Choice #3.)
Option B)  Compare and contrast the material in this book with information you find in another book or online research of articles.  For online research, quote any important URL, write a summary of information you found, and then compare/contrast with information in the book for this course.
Option C)  Create an Annotated Bibliography of five (5) books or articles related to the subject of your course.  The annotation should include Title, Author, Publisher (or URL), length of the book or article and your review of information contained.  Add your opinion of the value or your criticism of the contents of each book or article, and rate the importance of the material in contrast to the subject of your course.


Assignment #14: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



Ferlazzo, Larry & Hull- Sypnieski, Katie. The ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, Ready-to-Use Strategies, Tools, and Activities for Teaching All Levels, Grades 4-12, 2012, pb, 322 pages, Josey-Bass.  ISBN 978-1-118-09567-6.  The authors have designed a thorough handbook to offer educators specific ways to set up their ELL-friendly classroom, develop relationships with students and their parents, and provide motivating strategies for their students.  Larry Ferlazzo, one of the authors, is the highly acclaimed author of books on motivation, including Helping Students Motivate Themselves.  The book is full of reproducible forms, worksheets and lesson plans for thematic units.  Teachers comment that it is helpful, both for beginners and experienced ELL teachers.
Flynn, Kathleen & Hill, Jane. Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners, pb, 142 pages, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2006.
ISBN 1-4166-0390-5.  The diversity among learners in today’s ELL classroom is widening, but ironically, the curriculum is contracting, often due to the emphasis on preparation for standardized testing.  To the rescue come the authors, who provide the ultimate handbook of methods and specifics about how to work with ELL students as they move through five stages to become fluent English students.  The great insights you will get include how to make an easy diagnosis to determine at which of the five stages a student is functioning—and a probable timeline for your students to progress.  The authors have reviewed the nine class strategies in Classroom Instruction That Works by Marzano and Pickering.  Then the authors took each of the nine models and enhanced them to make each important strategy work especially well with ELL students.
Haynes, Judie. Getting Started with English Language Learners:  How Educators Can Meet the Challenge, pb, 163 pages, ASCD, 2013. ISBN 978-1-4166-0519-5.
This book is indispensable for everyone in education today:  teaches of ELL students, mainstream teachers, and support and administrative personnel.  It helps introduce the stages the new ELL student will be going through, as well as acknowledging the stages the teacher may be doing through in coping with the diverse variety of students at all levels and from differing cultures.
Hill, Jane D. & Miller, Kirsten B. have created a new second edition Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners, pb, 182 pages, ASCD, 2013. ISBN 1416616306.  This edition is based on the revised McRel Lab second edition of Classroom Management That Works.  It is much more research-oriented than the first edition of the book reviewed above, but both editions provide strong value and are based on the five stages of student language acquisition.  Note: The cover of this edition is bright yellow;  the cover of the other version has children’s faces.
Samway, Katharine Davies & Taylor, Dorothy. Teaching English Language Learners:  Grades 6-12 (Theory and Practice), 320 pages, Scholastic, 2008.  Each chapter takes on (sticky) “Situations” that are challenges for the ELL students and their teachers, especially at the secondary level.  The book handles advice on what to do in both interpersonal and intercultural situations, as well as  listening, speaking,  reading, and writing trouble spots.