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Interview with an ESL Teacher


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“Excited to Learn English” by Luke Mackin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


“Teachers are so overwhelmed, they see an ELL kid as one more thing, rather than as someone who has something really powerful to contribute to the class.”

Listen now or read the transcript:


In Episode 1 of the Cult of Pedagogy Podcast, we meet Kim, a middle school ESL teacher. She talks about the complexities of teaching English-language learners, like the power imbalance that arises when the kids speak English but the parents don’t, why ELL students won’t look their teachers in the eye, and the well-intended mistake so many content area teachers make when working with a diverse population. She describes technology tools that improve language learning, instructional strategies that make a huge difference, and what she would do if she could design standardized testing for ELL students.

Language teachers, policymakers and anyone who serves an ELL population will learn a lot from this one. ♦


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  1. If only our state legislators could understand the issues we as educators face when ELL’s enter our classrooms, state assessments hinder the creative teaching style of the teacher and the learning by the student. Great podcast!!

  2. Barb says:

    This is an incredible interview. Thank you to Kim for sharing so much information in such an easitly digestable way! I’m inspired by your clarity of expression in an area where I too, am so passionate. I’m a classroom teacher in Canada. I saw you Jennifer at a Peel District School board Tech conference last August. Your presentation was amazing and I’m so glad I follow you on twitter and facebook! I’m going to share this with colleagues for sure!

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi, is there any way to download your podcasts? Thanks! Your site is an incredible resource. It’s rare to find a teaching website with practical ideas. Usually, it’s all “theory.”

  4. Lisa says:

    Thank you for addressing many topics that I identify with. Does Kim have any other practical resources for ESL teachers?

  5. Janice says:

    So much of this was condescending to the classroom teacher. She talks about all regular classroom teachers as if they are inept and the ELL teachers are there to save the day. It would have been nice to hear some real solutions for use in the regular classroom, instead of a barrage of insults for people managing a room of 30 students. So tired of hearing how every problem is the fault of the classroom teacher.

  6. mohammed says:

    Hi, is there any way to download your podcasts?
    I am an Arabic teacher living in Qatar, poor in English, I will make your great site my private English language school.

    • Andrea Castellano says:

      Hello Mohammed! Yes, you will be able to download the podcasts. Here is a link to the Cult of Pedagogy Podcast page. There, you’ll find a list of where you can listen to the podcasts. The download process depends on which platform you choose, but yes, they are downloadable. Hope you find this helpful!

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