Promoting Student Voice and Choice: Examples from a Secondary EL Classroom Project
Keywords:newcomer, high ability, gifted, WIDA, choice menu, high school, multilingual
A creative reflection project was designed and implemented for English learners in a newcomer high school class using instructional strategies which are often reserved for classes with gifted students. The researchers designed the project around two principles which are also hallmarks of high ability curriculum design: 1) an assumption that emerging multilingual students have high abilities and unrecognized talents, and 2) a commitment to students using their own agency to show their learning. We consider connections between instructional strategies used by English language learning specialists and high ability education specialists. The resulting asset-based project was aligned with the WIDA framework to support differentiation and assessment. This article discusses the successes and struggles that came from implementing this project with secondary English learners. We also share the materials created for this unit as well as considerations for other educators who might consider adapting or implementing a similar project.