Administrative support for English language learners: How the SIOP model empowers teachers, administrators, and English language learners

Date of Completion

January 2006


Education, Language and Literature|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Principals as instructional leaders need to understand effective content-area instruction for ELLs (Short, 2000). It is critical that administrators receive professional development in the areas of second language acquisition, diversity and ELL pedagogy, in addition to specialized professional development in implementing and managing effective ELL programs (Walker, Shafer, & Iliams, 2004). The main purpose of this research study was to (a) provide a detailed account of principals' level of understanding on sheltered instruction and the SIOP instrument for teaching ELLs, (b) examine principals' individual understanding of the SIOP rubric and implementation, (c) compare principals' ratings using the rubric (second observation) with the observation done without the rubric (first observation), and (d) examine how the SIOP rubric can be modified and revised in order to be used as an instrument to evaluate teacher performance.^ This study was guided by the work of Echevarria, Vogt, & Short (1999, 2004) who focus on lesson planning and delivery of sheltered instruction practices as tool for student access to academic language development. Sheltered instruction (SI) is an approach for teaching content to ELLS in strategic ways that make the subject matter concepts comprehensible while promoting the students' English language development (Echevarria & Shorts 2004).^ A case study approach was used and three principals were chosen as participants. They were chosen based on the following criteria: (a) the participant must be a principal at Hillside Public Schools, (b) previous participation in sheltered instruction training and a study group, and (c) a willingness and availability to participate in the study.^ The findings of this study conclude that principals need on-going systematic professional development in sheltered instruction in order to be able to effectively assess its implementation. In this study, the SIOP rubric became the focus of the evaluation assisting principals in identifying key components of sheltered instruction and identifying areas of strength and weaknesses not only in their classroom observations, but in their own individual understanding of sheltered instruction.^