Appropriate Interventions for ELLs
Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS)
Response to Intervention (RTI)
• Indirect
– Individual Consultation
– Group Consultation
– Classroom Consultation
– Systems Consultation
• Direct:
– Individual Counseling
– Group Counseling
– Family Counseling
– Direct Instruction
Positive Behavioral Supports
Systems Consultation
Tier I
School/ District
Information Needed
• Service Providers:
– ESL or Bilingual Teacher
– General Education Teacher
– Special Education Teacher
• What they need to know:
How 2nd languages are acquired
How culture impacts learning
How SES impacts learning
Cultural and linguistic learning styles
Systems Consultation
• Typical problems:
– School is experiencing bullying problems.
– Student academics are low throughout the county.
– District SPED has overrepresentation of diverse students.
• Common solutions:
– Consultant researches effective techniques for bullyprevention programs and teaches them to the school.
– Consultant works with district to help make curriculum, special
program, or textbook decisions.
– Consultant works with lawyers and/ or state DOE to ensure
that the district complies with requirements.
Group Consultation
Tier II
Group/ Class
Group Consultation
• Typical problems:
– Group of children throughout the school in different
classrooms experiencing the same problems.
– Entire ELL classroom of children are experiencing the same
• Common solutions:
– Observe and evaluate the current methods/ techniques used.
– Research the best types of programs to deal with this specific
– Share the results of the research and observations .
– Work together to come up with solutions.
Individual Consultation
Tier III
Individual Child
Individual Consultation
• Typical problems:
– Child is experiencing academic difficulties.
– Child is experiencing social/emotional/behavioral
• Common solutions:
– SST/CST/SIPT works with all teachers involved
• All teachers are given additional skills to help the child.
– Parent is given additional skills to help the child.
– Parent & teachers work together to help the child.
Steps to Consultation w/
Diverse Consultee (Gibbs, 1980)
• Appraisal: Consultee determines the
trustworthiness of the consultant.
• Investigation: Challenge the consultant to
determine if they qualified to work with them.
• Involvement: Consultee will open up if they trust
you to develop a relationship.
• Commitment: Consultee commits to consultant
but not process.
• Engagement: Commit to the process if they
believe in interpersonal skills of consultant.
Points to Consider:
Client is Diverse
• Must identify consultant’s knowledge of cultural
• Must aid consultee in developing cultural
sensitivity and knowledge about different cultural
• Must aid consultee in developing understanding
of system in which client works and lives.
• Work with teacher to improve development of
curriculum and multicultural education.
(Duncan, 1995)
Breakdown: Improving
Cultural Competence
• Self-awareness: know
your own bias and the
impact of this on
• Assessment of client:
Understand the system
and knowledge of the
• Pre-therapy: Make
client aware of what
therapy is and what will
• Hypothesizing: What are
the problems?
• Credibility and giving:
Client / Consultee must
believe in the treatment.
• Discomfort/ Resistance:
Therapists feelings of why is
this not working?
• Client’s/ Consultee’s
Perspective: Know your
Positive Behavioral Supports
Individual Counseling
Tier III
Only 6 slides
Solution Focused
Brief Therapy
Nature of People
• People are free to make choices and are not victims of their genetics or
• People are basically good.
• People are basically rational.
• People respond better to a present and future counseling orientation.
• People have the ability to work through their own problems.
• Focuses on “what” people are doing and not “why” they are doing it.
• Focus on success instead of failure
Solution-Focused Method
Miracle question: “Should a miracle occur this
evening while you were sleeping and when you
woke up, you suddenly realized that your
problems were solved, what would you be
doing that would indicate to you that the
miracle had actually taken place?”
Relationship questions: “What will your _____ say
that will be different after the miracle?”
Asking and reinforcing exceptions to the problem
Group Counseling
Tier II
Issues of Counseling for
Multicultural Clients
• Major stressors: poverty, acculturation and
racial discrimination.
• Diverse clients terminate counseling sooner.
• Given this, many brief therapies may be
• Example of one brief therapy that works
well in schools is Solution Focused Therapy.
Breakdown: Improving Cultural
• Strategy or plan for
intervention: Plan sessions
based on knowledge of
therapy and culture.
• Assessment of session:
How did that go? What
• Willingness to consult:
Know when you don’t know
enough to go it alone.
Response to Intervention
RTI-Tier I
• Performed on 100% of
the students.
• In the case of the ELL
student, this should be
considered 100% of
the other ELL students
and not the general
RTI: Tier I
• Typical Problem (a)
– Cultural misunderstanding about U.S. schools
• Common Solution (a)
– Develop outreach programs for ELL parents.
– Psychoeducational trainings concerning cultural expectations.
• Typical Problem (b)
– Language problems across all areas.
• Common Solution (b)
– Improve teacher understanding of L2 acquisition.
– Improve the ELL program
– Provide instructional opportunities in L1
Develop Outreach Programs
for ELL Parents
• Communication problems (Correa, 1989; Gault,
1989; Harry, 1992a; Lynch & Stein, 1987;
Turnbull & Turnbull, 1982).
• Cultural differences (Gault; Harry, 1990, 1992a;
Lynch & Stein; Sanchez, 1996).
• Lack of school knowledge and/or parental
knowledge (Gallegos & Gallegos, 1988; Harry,
1990 1992a; McKinney & Hocutt, 1982).
• Feelings of disconnection with or intimidation by
the school (Correa; Sanchez; Yates & Ortiz,
Improve Teacher Understanding
of L2 Acquisition
• Service Providers:
– ESL or Bilingual Teacher
– General Education Teacher
– Special Education Teacher
• What they need to know:
– How 2nd languages are acquired
– How culture impacts learning
– How SES impacts learning
– Cultural and linguistic learning styles
• ~15% of students will
receive this level of
• Often in small groups
or direct instruction.
• Should be researchbased but also
individualized for each
RTI: Tier II
• Typical Problems
– Reading and writing deficits (76% of ELL students below grade
level in reading).
• Common Solutions for ELL
– Most RTI interventions show some improvement for ELLs
(Shanahan & Beck, 2006).
– Only with a mixture of the following do you find the best
improvement (Linan-Thompson, Cirino, & Vaughn, 2007)
• Essential components of reading
• Features of Effective Instruction
• Development of English Language Skills
Development of English
Language Skills
• Language Enrichment: Student has L2 enough, but may need some
support. Can be done mostly in English
• Language Development: Students need more information on
academic language. Can be done mostly in English.
• Remediation: Acquire critical language competencies to help
compensate for disability. Need L1 & English or ESL.
• Native Language Instruction: CALP L1 to later get CALP L2;
instruction in L1 to learn curriculum while learning L2.
• English as a Second Language: Use of ESL (English-only) techniques
to teach curriculum.
• Instruction in English With no Other Support: Should only be done
when child demonstrates no need for further support because they
have CALP of 4-5.
RTI: What Language?
English-only Intervention
• 91% of students met gradelevel expectations
compared to 41% of
students who received no
Spanish-only Intervention
• 97% of students met gradelevel expectations
compared to 67% of
students who received no
Linan-Thompson, S., Vaughn, S., Prater, K., & Cirino, P. T., 2006
• Child is determined to
need special education
• Only in about 5% of
total school population
for SLD.
• Typical Problem (a):
– What is more important: ELL classroom time, special
education time, or general education time?
• Typical Solutions (a):
– Bilingual/ Special Education Interface
• Typical Problem (b):
– How do we work with parents to understand what is
happening within special education?
• Typical Solutions (b):
– Educate the parents on special education.
Bilingual Special Education
Possible Placements
• Full-time bilingual education with modifications
• Full time general education with ESOL and
• SPED consults with both general education and
bilingual education/ ESOL to plan instruction
• Resource for both SPED and bilingual education/
• Full-time SPED with considerations made for
linguistic and culturally differences.
Bilingual/ Special
Education Interface
• Develop a “lead” for the services who determines:
– Language of instruction for each goal.
– Instructional strategies accounting for L2 acquisition.
– Curricula and materials used accounting for L2
– Culturally appropriate motivators.
– Who will provide services, monitor progress, and do
annual reviews?
– Who will coordinate efforts from all of the
– Type of Language Intervention.
Educate Parents on
Special Education
• When Harry (1992a) asked Hispanic families she was
working with to show her a copy of their children’s papers, all
of them had a copy of the IEP, but none of them knew what it
was called or what it said.
• Gallegos and Gallegos (1988) found that a majority of
Hispanic parents reported they could not understand the forms
being sent home from the school. Report cards and IEPs were
discussed specifically.
• Lynch and Stein’s study, when parents knew what an IEP was,
only 55% of the Hispanics knew what services were on it.
• Krach (2003) found that the majority of Hispanic families
were satisfied with the level of communication received from
schools (much higher satisfaction than Anglo parents)
Kalyanpur, M. & Harry, B. (1999). Culture in Special Education. Baltimore, MD: Paul H.
Brooks Publishing Company.
Linan-Thompson, S., Cirino, P. T., & Vaughn, S. (2007). Learning Disability Quarterly, 30,
Linan-Thompson, S., Vaughn, S., Prater, K., & Cirino, P. T. (2006). The response to
intervention of English language learners at risk for reading problems Journal of Learning
Disabilities, 39 (5), 390-398
Paneque, O., & Barbetta, P. (2006). A study of teacher efficacy of special education
teachers of English language learners with disabilities. Bilingual Research Journal, 30 (1),
Shanahan, T., & Beck, 1. (2006). Effective literacy teaching for English language learners.
In D. August & T. Shanahan (Eds.), Developing literacy in second-language learners:
Report of the national literacy panel on language-minority children and youth (pp. 415488). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Eribaum Associates.
Xu, Y., & Drame, E. (2007). Culturally appropriate context: Unlocking the potential of
Response to Intervention for English language learners. Early Childhood Education
Journal, 35, 305-311

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