What is best practice?

Research will never be able to identify instructional strategies that work with every student in every class. The best research can do is tell us which strategies have a good chance (i.e., high probability) of working well with students. Individual classroom teachers must determine which strategies to employ with the right students at the right time. In effect, a good part of effective teaching is an art. ELLs benefit most from reforms that improve learning for all students, such as curriculum improvement, professional development, and school reorganization (Ruiz-de-Velasco & Fix, 2000). Such reforms must also take into account the particular context of each school—its demographic profile, existing program models, community culture, and so on. With this caveat in mind, a number of principles and practices on this website support improved achievement for adolescent ELLs as well as for their native-English-speaking peers (Rance-Rooney, 2009).


  • Recognize the different linguistic and academic needs of students in various ELL subpopulations.
  • Use the native language to support English language development.
  • Implement language development standards and assessments that are directly linked to academic standards and assessments.
  • Create literacy-rich secondary school environments.
  • Use instructional approaches that unify language and content learning.
  • Instruct students in language learning strategies.

-Immigrant Students and Secondary School Reform: Compendium of Best Practices, CCSSO, 2004

Best Practices in Literacy Instruction: Steven Peha

Myths and Misconceptions About Second Language Learning: What Every Teacher Needs To Unlearn - Barry McLaughlin, 1992