Engaging, Culturally-Responsive, Evidence-Based K-8 ESL Teaching Materials
Kid-Inspired ESL teaching materials were developed under a strict commitment to evidence-based results.
Over the course of more than a decade, our group of educators have worked at creating materials, putting those materials in classrooms with real teachers and real students, tracking student results to monitor progress and changing or revising the materials based on the data we collected.
Because of our unique environment, we have been able to test out materials and methods together and nimbly readjust both based on results. The content and design elements of each page of our materials have a time-tested purpose to them, having been revised repeatedly over many years based on the results of hundreds of students and dozens of teachers.
Our materials have also been built with current evidence-based research in mind.
Kid-Inspired materials are built on the recommendations and experiences of experts in the field such as John Medina, Gabriel Wyner, Larry Ferlazzo, Tonya Singer Ward, Natalie Wexler, Diane Staehr Fenner, Isabel Beck and many more.
We have gleaned an enormous amount of wisdom from these teachers, authors and researchers. It is by standing on the shoulders of these giants that led us to focus our English language teaching materials on practice. All of our materials are set up to maximize the time students spend practicing all four language domains: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students need to use a language in order to learn it.
Furthermore, we have set high expectations in each of the four language domains.
We want English language learners to achieve the same standards as their native-speaking counterparts. That requires a balancing act of exposing students to a combination of both English language-learning materials as well as challenging grade-level materials.
There is no time to waste in our endeavor to see English learners reach grade level standards. Students need to make quick and steady strides. Once a student falls behind, each passing month makes it substantially more difficult for that student to catch up. That is why we have also developed sets of practical tests in each of the language domains to measure and track student progress every month. If a student falls behind, the teacher knows very quickly and is able to work with that student and his or her family to help.
We are still always looking for ways to improve on the materials we have created. They are not set in stone; we continue to update them often based on teacher feedback, student results and new research in the field of language acquisition.
With Kid-Inspired ESL teaching materials, we have devoted ourselves to creating materials that are student-centered and culturally sensitive. The materials help create opportunities for students to share their thoughts and experiences. The materials leave questions of culture, religion, family background and more open for discussion. Teachers can use the materials to spark safe discussions about different student experiences in order to foster understanding and empathy in the classroom.
There are so many creative ways teachers can leverage the materials to teach respect and understanding of different cultures and values. That is where we move from materials to methods. The two have to be synchronized.
Training programs for teachers about how to create such classroom experiences are incredibly valuable. When both our materials and methods are culturally-responsive, students feel safer, more connected, and more confident about their place in the classroom. After that, the results speak for themselves.
When we speak of engaging, we are referring to the idea that students learn faster when they enjoy and are interested in what they are learning. Many students often lose their child-like interest in learning once they get to school, and their rate of acquisition drops off dramatically. Our materials have been built to make learning fun and engaging.
Having fun is certainly not enough on its own though. Students are perfectly capable of having fun without learning anything at all. This means we must couple our efforts to create interesting, fun experiences in the classroom with research-based practices and standards.
When we couple the two, we have more engaged, confident students who learn more quickly than we may have previously thought possible.
That is why kid-Inspired ESL teaching materials were written with student interest in mind. Texts were written to spark student curiosity and connect with experiences students can relate to. Speaking practices were written with a sense of humor and surprise so that students come to expect the unexpected. Writing practices were designed to let students explore interesting topics in fun and engaging ways that build confidence.
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