Equitable Instruction for Secondary Latino English Learners: Examining Critical Principles of Differentiation in Lesson Design

  • Anne René Elsbree
  • Ana M Hernández
  • Annette Daoud


The research emphasizes the need for educators to take more ownership of Latino English Learners (ELs) and identify effective lesson differentiation through subject area content (instruction), process (activities), and products (assessments). Based on the literature review, school achievement improves when practices address students’ culture, experiences and learning styles in ways that are differentiated in academics.This study examined lesson plans from 35 teacher candidates (86% white, 14% Latino) in a Single Subject Credential Program in southern California. Candidates conducted clinical practice in districts that served up to 70% ELs, with the majority identified as Long-term English Learners (LTEL). Lessons analyzed a five-part differentiation plan: 1) student information, 2) differentiation, 3) appropriateness of differentiation, 4) assessment criteria, and 5) monitoring and adaptations. Results indicated 94% (33/35) of the candidates provided data on ELs’ proficiency levels. All (35) lessons included at least one differentiation. About 26% provided a rationale forl esson differentiation, monitoring or adaption; however, only 9% described assessment criteria. Educating LTELs is more than just providing access to the curriculum or sheltering instruction. Lessons must draw from critical theory/pedagogy for effective LTEL practices. Teacher educators need to be more strategic in how they teach differentiation to candidates.