Jake LaNasa, Touro University Candidate, TESOL/Bilingual department, Graduate School of Education on “Transforming the Education of English Language Learners/ Multilingual Learners for Tomorrow’s World.”

In my online courses, starting the semester, I facilitate student discussions using Canvas Discussion Boards. Questions focusing on readings help students with critical analysis of the readings. Course progression starts folding in tech tools such as voicethread, videos, mind maps, infographics, etc. I believe discussion boards create opportunities and set the stage for active learning, developing critical thinking and writing skills relevant to the course subject. To nurture graduate writing skills, my discussion boards are required to use APA style referencing. This gives students an opportunity to engage in graduate writing and peer feedback. Jake LaNasa contributed a well-researched and thoughtful discussion board, which I am proud to showcase.

Jake LaNasa is currently a permanent substitute teacher at California Avenue School in the Uniondale School District. H received his bachelor’s degree in Childhood Education, in December of 2021 and has been subbing ever since.

I became a teacher because my mother and many other family members are teachers. My mother would come home from work every day with a smile on her face and I knew that is what I wanted for my future.

Jake LaNasa, Touro University, candidate in the TESOL/Bilingual department, Graduate School of Education

  • Question: CHAP 1. WHAT Characteristics  INFLUENCE ELLs’ having SUCCESS IN SCHOOL?

          In order for ELLs to have success in schools, the teacher must build background knowledge and vocabulary as well as hands-on experience that enhance their understanding of the content. Teachers should also offer access to websites in the student’s native language in order to facilitate any language barriers. The more prepared the teacher is the higher chance of student success. This is not only the job of the teacher but of the schools, districts, and or universities to take action and implement this framework for all ELLs and students. Educators have to be aware of their students’ diverse backgrounds. The students bring cultural and educational experiences to the classroom that will have implications for assessment, program design, and instruction. Understanding the students’ funds of knowledge is incredibly important in constructing effective techniques. 

  • Question: What are some characteristics of ELLs to consider to implement effective teaching?

          No Ell is the same. The more aware the teacher is of this information, the easier it will be to implement proper teaching techniques. Many Ell’s come from different geographic locations which will present challenges. Many school districts have not served large numbers of ELLs in the past, meaning the school’s academic progress toward ELLs is not well established. This not well-established progress will reflect on some schools not having appropriate curricula and or resources available for Ells. Many teachers are also untrained in how to meet the needs of their Ell students, the teacher must know and understand the students’ backgrounds and abilities in their native language in order for the teacher to incorporate effective materials and techniques in their instructional practices. ELLs enter American schools with a range that varies widely in language proficiency.  Many characteristics of ELLs affect the way they learn and their ability for second language acquisition. These characteristics include the students’ educational background, socioeconomic status, age of arrival, personal experiences while traveling to America, and their parents’ education level. As educators, we must push the need for English language development (ELD) in order for the students to transfer their knowledge in their native language into English as they become more proficient with it.

I feel it is important to explain to the students that making mistakes is natural and teachers should not scrutinize students for grammatical correctness early on.

Jake LaNasa, Touro University, candidate in the TESOL/Bilingual department, Graduate School of Education


Educators must assure that the ELLs and SIFE students are getting the best educational opportunities possible. Districts should be integrating technology and revisiting their models of teaching ELLs to make sure their best practices are up to date with the growing and changing Ell population. The most important aspect is ensuring the Ell students are receiving equitable representation in their schools. Introducing TESOL techniques will transform the education of Ells by increasing students’ linguistic knowledge across multilingual contexts through research, standards, professional development/learning, and advocacy. To reach the students and transform their learning we must value their home language and culture to draw them into learning a new language altogether. The student’s home language will facilitate and bridge the gap between learning a completely new language. I feel it is important to explain to the students that making mistakes is natural and teachers should not scrutinize students for grammatical correctness early on. The students must receive feedback strategically in order for the students to not feel as though they cannot successfully acclimate to the new language and give up. Educators should be involving families in their student’s education path. If the families are involved and participate in their children’s education, this may lead to a greater chance of success as students will feel empowered. Students have to feel comfortable in the classroom during lessons, teachers can add more visuals, translate essential vocabulary, and allow students to collaborate in their native language during discussions. The classroom must be a safe environment. If the children do not feel safe, their ability to learn is fragmented and much more difficult. Implementing the SIOP model will also transform the education of Ells. The SIOP model consists of eight instructional strategies that will help educators in their lesson design and delivery. The SIOP model involves building background, lesson preparation, interaction, practice and application, lesson delivery, strategies, comprehensible input, and review and assessment. This model has a strong research base that has been tested across grade levels and subject areas. Implementing this model has proven to improve academic literacy for ELL students. With more teachers using this model, the future of Ell students is very bright.

  • Question: What is one takeaway from this week’s readings and how might it impact your teaching?

          Something that stood out to me is the fact that ELLs are either over or under-represented in special education. Many districts and schools struggle to distinguish between a learning disability and a delay in developing second language acquisition. Even if students are correctly identified, districts may have trouble providing services to bilingual special education educators. After reading this it changes my perspective of Ells in special education. This motivates me to meet with special education teachers in my building and discuss how they identify ELLs in special education and what services or scaffolds they have in place for them. I never want to misidentify a student and I believe that many students are. Some students have delays in language acquisition, but it does not mean they should be in a special education classroom. 

  • Question: Share a fun fact or photo of yourself.

          A fun fact about me is I work in the Uniondale school district where there is an overwhelming and continually growing amount of Ell students. I am taking these courses in order to further my knowledge of Ells and TESOL which in turn will make me a more qualified and proficient teacher in this school district. I am excited to obtain new knowledge and apply it to my Ell students every week.


Schembari, J. (2023, January 11). What advocates say we must do to support the needs of these children. Work It Daily. Retrieved January 25, 2023, from https://www.workitdaily.com/help-english-language-learners/what-advocates-say-we-must-do-to-support-the-needs-of-these-children

Echevarria, J. (2007). Making content comprehensible for English language learners: The Siop model. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

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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