Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Terms of Use

© 2022 Hannah Holt. This work is freely available courtesy of the author. It may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. For all other uses, please contact the copyright holder.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department

First Advisor

K. Ann Renninger


English learners (ELs) need to be equipped with tools that can help them find success in their secondary school STEM classes, as well as for the world beyond high school. There is a delicate balance between making sure the curriculum provides all the necessary tools for later success, and also allowing students to use their linguistic and cultural diversity to enable their learning process. Thus, teachers must consider both effectiveness and equity in the design of their instruction and assessment. This literature review compiles the findings and research of educators seeking to provide better resources for content teachers with ELs in their classes. Effective instructional practices like visual aids, pre-teaching vocabulary and sentence frames can be used to help support EL students in meeting both language and content standards. Equitable classroom practices such as normalizing translation and translanguaging, incorporating culturally sustaining pedagogy, and encouraging inquiry-based student discussions all serve ELs’ need for positive identity formation in STEM. Both how and when these practices are implemented are also considered. Suggested adaptations will vary across each specific unit, discipline and grade level, so it requires collaboration among language and content educators to figure out which strategies make the most sense in which contexts. Most importantly, these instructional modifications are framed as assets-based rather than deficit-based approaches. There is pedagogical value for all students, whether they are learning English for the first time, speak other languages at home, use different dialects of English, or are monolingual English speakers.

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Education Commons