Background Information: Category Trainings before RETELL

Category 1: Second Language Learning and Teaching (10-15 contact hours)

  • Knowledge
  • a. Key factors affecting second language acquisition.
  • b. Implications of these factors on classroom organization and instruction.
  • c. The implications of cultural difference for classroom organization and instruction.
  • d. Organization, content, and performance levels in the MA English Language Proficiency Benchmarks & Outcomes.
  • Skills/Observable Outcomes
  • • Teacher can analyze his/her own classroom as a site for second language acquisition and make appropriate adjustments.
  • • Teacher can use knowledge of factors affecting second language acquisition to modify instruction for students who are having difficulty in learning English and/or subject matter content.

Category 2: Sheltering Content Instruction (30-40 contact hours)

  • Knowledge
  • A. Curriculum and Lesson Planning.
  • Teachers will be able to:
  • 1. Plan lessons appropriate for LEP students at the four levels of proficiency described in the Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and Outcomes.
  • 2. Plan lessons that are guided by both language and content objectives appropriate for LEP students who are at different grade levels and different English proficiency levels, and that are aligned with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and the Massachusetts English Language Proficiency Benchmarks and Outcomes.
  • 3. Plan lessons that are characterized by student interaction, students' questions, and appropriate group work.
  • B. Instructional Strategies.
  • While teaching, teachers will be able to:
  • 1. Make language objectives, content objectives, and academic tasks explicit.
  • 2. Use supplementary materials, including graphic organizers, visuals, and manipulatives to make content more comprehensible.
  • 3. Group students so that all LEP students can participate.
  • 4. Integrate language instruction and content instruction.
  • C. Student Tasks.
  • Teachers will be able to:
  • 1. Plan learning tasks that have a product and that enable all students, including LEP students, to work and ask questions in small groups.
  • 2. Provide opportunities for students to display their knowledge in various ways.
  • D. Lesson Delivery.
  • While teaching, teachers will be able to:
  • 1. Assess student comprehension and learning throughout the lesson.
  • 2. Pace and organize learning activities so that students are engaged 90-100% of the time.
  • Skills/Observable Outcomes
  • • Teacher can plan and conduct content classes that are based on standards contained in the
  • Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and that engage LEP students who are at different
  • levels of English proficiency in learning throughout the duration of the class.
  • • Teacher can assess content learning of students who are at different levels of English proficiency.

Category 4: Reading & Writing in Sheltered Content Classrooms(15 Cat 4C-20 Cat4B contact hours)

  • Cat 4b: Elementary teachers preK-5th grade
  • Cat 4c: Secondary teachers 6th-12th grade
  • Knowledge:
  • a. Approaches and practices for developing reading skills and reading comprehension in English for English Language learners.
  • b. Strategies for developing content vocabulary for English Language Learners.
  • c. Approaches and practices for using writing in sheltered content classrooms.
  • Skills/Observable Outcomes:
  • • Teacher plans and implements appropriate reading activities in sheltered content classrooms for Limited English Proficient students who are at different levels of English language proficiency.
  • • Teacher incorporates strategies for vocabulary development in lesson planning and delivery in sheltered content classes.
  • • Teacher can plan and deliver writing instruction and activities appropriate for limited English Proficient students who are at different levels of English language proficiency.

Why were Category Trainings required for teachers working with English language learners?

Rights of English Language Learners:

Education is a basic right of all children in the United States. The federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) added important new educational rights for English language learners and their parents. Federal laws, such as NCLB, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and Massachusetts state laws recognize that students who are new to the United States and who are English language learners need extra support. They need help to learn English and, at the same time, to master academic standards. This issue of Pointers outlines some of these rights under state and federal laws.
State and federal laws use the terms “students with limited English proficiency” (or, LEP stu- dents), “English language learners” (or, ELLs), and “English learners” to describe the same group of students. Massachusetts PIRC prefers the term “English language learners” because it gives a positive focus on what these students are accomplishing—mastering a new language while learning all school subjects and becoming active members of their school communities.
( PIRC, Pointers:

Massachusetts Law:

2002-Chapter 71A : Structured/Sheltered English Immersion Law

FAQs about Chapter 71A:
  • Passed into law in November 2002 as a result of a election ballot question (“Question 2”)
  • 76% of Massachusetts voted for this law that voted in a state level program for ELLs.
  • Created a state mandated model for Limited English Proficient students known as SEI (limiting flexibility NCLB offers by MA state law)
  • Allows transitional bilingual education with waivers, at the secondary level
  • Later, the legislature voted to allow Two-Way Bilingual Programs

Implications of Ch. 71A:

  • All districts now have to create an SEI program if there is even ONE ELL identified
  • It’s a full-day program
  • ESL “tutorials” or part-time “services” , working with aides or paraprofessionals alone, are not enough-Need to have both ESL and sheltered content classrooms
  • How SEI is structured will look different in low and high incidence districts (and within schools) but every district with an ELL has to create an SEI program. This requires strategic planning.

What is Structured/Sheltered English Immersion?


1. ELD, English language development program, or ESL, English as a second language instruction, is explicit and direct instruction about the English language intended to promote English language acquisition by LEP students and to help them “catch up” to their peers who are proficient in English. It includes learning outcomes in speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

2. Sheltered content instruction, is instruction that includes approaches, strategies and methodology that makes the content of the lesson more comprehensible to students who are not yet proficient in English. It includes learning outcomes in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and in content specific areas.