Touro TESOL Candidate Kristi Mattina on Illustrative Examples of Teacher Classroom Discourse

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

New York’s classrooms are some of the most culturally and linguistically diverse in the country. Our TESOL certificate program prepares NYS-certified teachers to provide responsive, comprehensive education to students of every background. 

What You’ll Learn

The 15-credit program includes five courses—each with carefully designed fieldwork experiences—that emphasize both academic content learning and English fluency for English Language Learners.

We explore contemporary theory and research-based instructional strategies for multicultural education, methods and materials for second language acquisition, and best practices for teaching ELLs in specific subjects. We give you the tools to ensure that your students meet the latest performance standards of PreK-12 curricula in both private and public schools.

Courses are offered evenings and Sundays, and online to accommodate our students’ diverse scheduling needs, and you’ll receive personalized guidance based on your current work and career goals from highly qualified and experienced professors.   

Upon completion of the program, you’ll be eligible for the New York State Advanced Certificate in ESOL. All courses are transferable to the master’s degree program in TESOL at Touro College

Kristi Mattina holds a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education and a Master’s in Special Education. In June, she completes her 11th year of employment with the NYCDOE. She is a Special Education teacher and taught in ICT and 12:1+1 settings in District 31. She also enjoys spending time with her family and two young children.

Course Description

EDPN 673 Methods and Materials for Teaching English as a Second Language

This course provides an historical overview of second language acquisition theories and teaching methods. Students learn how to apply current approaches, methods and techniques, with attention to the effective use of materials, in teaching English as a second language. Students will engage in the planning and implementation of standards-based ESL instruction which includes differentiated learning experiences geared to students’ needs. Emphasis is placed on creating culturally responsive learning environments. The course also analyzes the applicability of applied linguistic studies to such teaching and the appropriateness of various methods and techniques to different developmental and skill levels. Special attention is given to curriculum development, planning and executing instructional activities. Additional emphasis is given to the selection of materials and the design of evaluation instruments for measuring cognitive development in the core subject areas.

Kristi Mattina and her Discussion Board Contribution

DB 3 Program Models – Bilingual & ESOL

Give specific illustrative examples of YOUR PERSONAL teacher classroom discourse IN YOUR CLASSES.

Prior to teaching a new topic, my co-teacher and I always have some sort of a lesson warm-up. If we are beginning a new novel, we have students generate “before” reading questions and comments. We discuss the title, cover illustration, and topic of the novel and invite students to come up with any questions or comments they may have prior to reading. Students work in groups or pairs and write their responses on post-its which are then hung on an anchor chart under the heading “before reading.” Students are always quick to participate during this activity since it encourages students to share their prior knowledge or invites them to ask a question. There really aren’t wrong answers and this creates a stress-free environment for students who are usually reluctant to share ideas.

Another example of teacher classroom discourse, that I have been using more increasingly this year, is extended wait time. I admit that in past years, I would ask a question and call on one of the first few students who raised their hands. This does not give the class enough time to process the question being asked, especially if it uses academic language. As an adult, I find that it takes me time to process some questions, so why would that be different for my students? As I increased the wait time after I asked a question, I saw that more students slowly began to raise their hands. It is definitely an effective way to encourage students to share their thinking.

As I increased the wait time after I asked a question, I saw that more students slowly began to raise their hands. It is definitely an effective way to encourage students to share their thinking.

Kristi Mattina, Candidate at the TESOL and Bilingual Department,Touro College, GSE

PRETEND THAT YOU OBSERVE YOUR OWN CLASS – use the sample classroom observation feedback form p. 361 in your textbook and reflect on what you learned about your planning, teaching and assessment.

I chose to reflect on an activity I implemented after finishing a narrative writing unit. The purpose of this lesson was to reinforce the narrative writing standards that were taught previously and to give students an “on demand” writing piece to demonstrate how much they retained in regards to narrative writing techniques. The lesson involved watching a 3-minute cartoon without volume. We then showed a written model of how one could have narrated the video. Students watched a different video on silent and were given the task of narrating the video using the techniques we had taught.

Lesson Quality: The lesson objectives involved using narrative techniques in student narration. Students were engaged while watching the video and they seemed to enjoy creating their own stories to go along with the video.

Teacher Presentation: I have been a 5th-grade teacher for 7 out of my 11 years of teaching. I feel that I know the writing standards very well. We are constantly looking for different ways to teach our lessons in order to keep our students engaged. They seemed to love this activity. I knew I had clearly presented the task when all students were working actively and independently.

Student Participation: As mentioned above, students were very interested. After I modeled the task, students asked questions such as: “Can we add dialogue to our narration?” “Can we make up names for the characters?” and “Is it alright if we exaggerate a little?” Students made sure that their questions were answered and they were excited to begin the task.

Major Strengths: Regardless of academic ability, all students were able to create a narrative story to explain what was happening in the video. I think a strength was coming up with an activity that all students could access while keeping them interested.

Questions/Suggestions: I think one thing I would have done differently would have been to include a 2nd video that was 1 minute long instead of the 3 minute video. When planning the lesson, 3 minutes seemed short to me. However, there was a lot of detail that occurred and it may have been difficult for all students to capture it in their writing.

4. ON p 389 in your textbook -391 you will find textbook evaluation checklists. Take one book YOU USE CURRENTLY in YOUR classroom and analyze it with those checklists. Reflect on what you learned in your answer in the DB with specific, descriptive examples.

I chose to analyze an ELA Practice Coach book. We use this book because at this point in the school year we have covered most of the 5th-grade reading standards and the book allows us to spiral back to review and reinforce the standards.

Analysis of Linguistic Content: The text uses academic language in its questioning. We change the sequence of the text to suit the standards we are teaching at that moment. The book is aligned to the 5th-grade learning standards and mirrors our curriculum.

Analysis of Thematic Content: Many topics are covered throughout the text. It includes a variety of literary and informational texts. Being that the topics are so vast, students usually identify with a lot of the topics, but not necessarily all of them.

Analysis of Activities for In-Class Use: Each topic in the text begins with an introductory activity. After assessing previous student data on the standard and depending on the level of support needed for the standard, we may incorporate the introductory activity. If the students demonstrate understanding of the topic, we may just go-ahead to the practice part of the lesson. The introductory activity includes guided reading questions and analysis of a question and response.

Analysis of Activities for Homework: Homework, in my class, is given as a reinforcement of the lessons taught that day. I use the text to assign homework on the topic discussed that day, as long as I don’t feel it is too complex for independent practice.

Analysis of Activities for Testing Purposes: The text does supply benchmark assessments to mirror the book’s material.

Analysis of Activities for Review Purposes: Generally, we use the entire text to spiral back to standards already taught. We also use the materials in the text to help students apply what they have already learned.

Analysis of Activities: Special equipment does not need to be ordered ahead of time, but I do create model answers to constructed and extended response questions to help students organize their responses more clearly.

Analysis of Unit Connections and Review Points: Connections are constantly made between the standards we have covered and the activities in the text.

Analysis of What to Skip: As stated above, we do “jump around” quite a bit so that the information in the text mirrors our lesson objectives. At times, we may skip the introductory part of the lesson if students have demonstrated that they do not need that support.

5. Gather some information on student assessment from your school district. What kinds of student assessments are regularly administered, and in what language? If the district includes non-native speakers of English, are testing and assessment requirements modified or altered in any way to accommodate them? If so, how?

One example of an assessment given by our district is the Measure of Student Learning. It is given at the beginning of the school year to assess students’ incoming proficiency on a topic. It is then given again at the end of the school year to measure growth. In my school, the test is given in English. Accommodations are given to students with special needs as they are written on the IEP. After discussing it with the ENL teacher at my school, she explained that since MOSL is a baseline assessment that measures student growth and does not measure English proficiency, there is the option to give it in the student’s home language. The only accommodation given to an ELL student who does not have an IEP is extended time.

6. In NYS, what are the Program Options for English Language Learners/Multilingual Learners?

In NYS, program options for ELLs/MLLs include: Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) programs- In these programs, students speak the same language. They learn to read, write, speak, and understand English while receiving content instruction in their home language.

Dual Language (DL) programs- Students receive instruction in both their home language and the language they are learning in the hopes reading, writing, speaking, and understanding 2 languages. There is an emphasis on culture in order to promote strong self-esteem.

One-way Dual Language program-Students speak the same language and have similar backgrounds. Instruction is taught in students’ home and target languages.

Two-way Dual Language program-Students include native English speakers and ELLs. Students receive instruction in both their home and target languages. “The goal of these programs is for students to develop literacy and proficiency in English and in the home/target language (the second language that is being acquired/learned)” (Program options for Ells and MLS). Integrated ENL classes- Students receive both content area and English instruction. The home language is used to support understanding. Teachers of these programs have content area and ENL certification OR each certified teacher works collaboratively.

Stand-alone ENL class- Students have very diverse backgrounds. Students are taught English instruction by an ESOL teacher in the hopes of supporting the student in other content areas. (Program options for Ells and MLS)

7. What is the purpose of Commissioner’s Regulations – Sections 117 (Links to an external site.)

The purpose of Commissioner’s Regulations -Sections 117 is to ensure that all new student admits into a district are properly screened. New students are screened for having learning disabilities, limited english proficiency, or being gifted and talented. Upon admittance to a NYS school, students are screened for health exams including immunizations, academic development, and home language. If it is determined that a student has a disability, limited english proficiency, or is gifted, the appropriate referral will be made (NYSED, 2010).

8. How do the BLUEPRINT FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNER/MULTILINGUAL LEARNER (ELL/MLL) SUCCESS (Links to an external site.) and CR Part 154 Comprehensive ELL Education Plan (CEEP) and ENL staffing requirements connect with each other? (Links to an external site.)

The blueprint for ELL/MLL success describes all teachers as being ENL teachers, whether that is their background or by working collaboratively. This blueprint ensures that all the needs of the learner are being met. This includes academic and social needs. It encourages districts to see ELLs and MLLs and their families as assets and partners within the learning environment. It also involves the use of formative assessment tools in order to ensure that students are understanding content area material. The main purpose of a CEEP is to also ensure the needs of a student are being met. The CEEP is a document, where as the blueprint is a set of principles. The principles outlined in the blueprint should be considered when writing the CEEP. This plan should specifically explain how student needs are being met. “The CEEP is divided into multiple sections in which LEAs must outline how they are addressing the needs of their ELLs and describe their strategic plan for providing grade-appropriate, linguistically and academically rigorous instruction that will allow ELLs to meet the Next Generation Learning Standards in alignment with the expectations set forth in the New York State Blueprint for English Language Learner/Multilingual Learner Success. When completing the CEEP it is recommended that LEAs familiarize themselves with the principles outlined in the Blueprint.” (CR Part 154 comprehensive ell education plan (Ceep) 2021)


Commissioner’s Regulations – Sections 117.1-3. NYSED. (2010, March 31). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

CR Part 154 comprehensive ell education plan (Ceep). New York State Education Department. (2021, October 26). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

Blueprint for ell success – new york state education … (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

Program options for Ells and MLS. New York State Education Department. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

Rennie, J. (1993, August 31). ESL and bilingual program models. Eric Digest. ESL and Bilingual Program Models. ERIC Digest. Retrieved February 1, 2022, from

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Snow, M. A. (2014). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston: National geographic learning.

Author: drcowinj

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today,” determined Malcolm X at the O.A.A.U.’s [Organization of Afro-American Unity] founding forum at the Audubon Ballroom. (June 28, 1964). (X, n.d.) Dr. Jasmin Bey Cowin a Fulbright Scholar, SIT Graduate, completed the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP™) at Columbia University, Teachers College. Dr. Cowin served as the President of the Rotary Club of New York and Assistant Governor for New York State; long-term Chair of the Rotary United Nations International Breakfast meetings; and works as an Assistant Professor at Touro College, Graduate School of Education. Dr. Cowin has over twenty-five years of experience as an educator, tech innovator, entrepreneur, and institutional leader with a focus on equity and access to digital literacy and education in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. Her extensive background in education, administration, not-for-profit leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, and technology innovation provide her with unique skills and vertical networks locally and globally. Dr. Cowin participates fully in the larger world of TESOL academic discipline as elected Vice President and Chair-Elect for the New York State, NYS TESOL organization, for the 2021 conference. Ongoing research, expressed in scholarly contributions to the advancement of knowledge is demonstrated through publications, presentations, and participation in academic conferences, blogging, and other scholarly activities, including public performances and exhibitions at conferences and workshops. Of particular interest to her are The Blockchain of Things and its implications for Higher Education; Current Global Trends in TESOL; Developing Materials and Resources in Teaching English; E-learning; Micro and Macro-Methodologies in TESOL; E-Resources Discovery and Analysis; and Language Acquisition and the Oculus Rift in VR.

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