Kristin Grayson, M.Ed.

Fostering Student Engagement English Language Learners – Podcast Episode 19 | Classnotes Podcast Episode 19

Classnotes Podcast (August 29, 2007) Because of English language learners’ different English proficiency levels, teachers often struggle to find ways to have students actively participate in their learning. This is particularly the case for content area teachers who may have had little or no training in teaching English language learners.

IDRA is helping teachers learn, reflect and adapt instructional strategies so that all their students are engaged and learning the content and academic language. Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., an IDRA education associate outlines the engagement-based sheltered instruction model that she developed at IDRA and describes its research base.

Kristin is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

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Show length: 20:31


IDRA Engagement Based Sheltered Instruction Model and Training
Intercultural Development Research Association

“You Can’t Win if You Don’t Get to Play – Effectively Engaging All English Language Learners”
By Adela Solís, Ph.D., and Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., IDRA Newsletter

Dr. Cummins’ ESL and Second Language Learning Web

Web Site by Dr. Stephen Krashen

Five Standards for Effective Pedagogy
Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence

How to Narrow the Achievement Gap with Direct Vocabulary Instruction
By Kate Kinsella

Student Content Engagement as a Construct for the Measurement of Effective Classroom Instruction and Teacher Knowledge (may take a few minutes to load)
American Institutes for Research

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Show Notes

  • Host Bradley Scott, Ph.D., senior IDRA education associate, opens the show and describes the mission of IDRA and the Classnotes Podcast series.

  • Bradley asks listeners to send feedback through IDRA's online form, or by e-mail to They can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and/or sign up for an e-mail alert, which will send out an update as soon as a new podcast episode is published.

  • Bradley introduces IDRA education associate Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., who will be discussing the topic of engaging English language learners.

  • Kristin describes "engagement" as the cognitive activity going on in a student's brain that brings them into the learning process.

  • Kristin talks about why she created the student engagement model at IDRA.

  • Kristin explains that the model focuses on teachers working in content areas in regular mainstream classrooms, as well as the English as a second language teachers who are supporting them. The model helps both groups to merge content and academic language teaching in order to foster academic success for the English language learner.

  • Kristin describes the research behind IDRA's engagement-bested sheltered instruction mode, including the work of Jim Cummins.

  • Kristin says that IDRA's model works to capitalize on the inherent strengths and assets of English language learners, including their personal experiences and native languages. The model also uses two observation tools: (1) observing student engagement, and (2) observing what the teacher is doing to structure that student engagement.

  • Kristin notes that the model considers "the four R's" already going on in the classroom: relationship, relevance, rigor and resources (technology, administrative support).

  • Kristin names and explains the four areas of student engagement for English language learners that the model focuses on:
    1) Engagement in opportunities to connect personally to the content,
    2) Engagement in opportunities to understand the content,
    3) Engagement in opportunities to systematically build academic language, and
    4) Engagement in opportunities to systematically practice academic language.

  • Kristin talks about the successful field testing that IDRA has conducted with its engagement model.

  • In her closing thoughts, Kristin reinforces the notion that the key to academic success of English language learners is teachers' ability to successfully recognize and capitalize on the unique qualities and talents of their students.

  • Bradley reminds listeners to subscribe to the podcast and to send in their feedback and questions.