Building Background to Improve Academic Achievement among English Language Learners


Sara Burmakow
Mentor: Dr. Sara Waring-Tiedeman
Graduate School & Adult Learning

Over the past several years, there has been an increase in the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) within the regular classroom setting. Often these students know little to no English before walking into the classroom and are expected to learn the same as other students in the classroom. As students learn, they connect new information to previous information naturally. When students lack this background knowledge they have a difficult time making those connections. One way to prevent this from happening is helping build background with the students in the regular classroom setting. Throughout the study, ELLs were worked with to build their background prior to new material being taught. Student understanding and connections improved with the implementation of this building background strategy within the regular classroom. ELL test scores improved significantly as well as their confidence among their students. Helping build the background with all students is a key component for learning within any classroom.