Preparing Teachers

Preparing Teachers to reach English Learners

Our team compiled key elements to help you prepare educators to reach English learners.

What is infusion?

Lucas and Grinberg (2008) identified four structural strategies for preparing all teachers to teach ELs: “adding a course to the program, modifying existing courses and field experiences to give attention to ELLs, adding or modifying program prerequisites, and adding a minor or supplemental certificate program.”

Infusion of EL issues into teacher preparation curricula, is only one of several responses to the need for better-prepared teachers of ELs. Infusion is generally defined as the introduction of a new element or quality into something. There needs to be a balance to avoid situations in which the infused element is so diluted or compromised that it is undetectable.

For several decades, the integration or infusion of curricula within teacher preparation has been a common practice in mathematics, science, and social studies education, among others. EL infusion, also known as ESOL infusion or ESL infusion, is one approach to ensuring that teacher candidates are prepared to teach and assess ELs in mainstream classrooms.

EL infusion can be defined as the addition of EL content into a general teacher preparation program in an interconnected, cohesive, and interdisciplinary manner. What we term EL content includes EL-focused topics, objectives, instructional materials, and media (for example, articles, books, multimedia, websites), in-class activities, course assignments, field/clinical experiences, and assessments. It is a means of preparing generalist teachers to support the academic success and language development of ELs.


Lucas, T., & Grinberg, J. (2008). Responding to the linguistic reality of mainstream classrooms: Preparing all teachers to teach English language learners. In Handbook of research on teacher education (pp. 606-636). Routledge.

Origin and definition:

The One Plus model of EL infusion includes various measures to incorporate a focus on teaching and assessing English learners throughout teacher preparation curricula. Because teacher preparation programs’ resources and goals vary, the model accounts for differing circumstances and contexts while upholding quality assurances for whatever level of commitment an institution can support. Designed to be flexible yet comprehensive, the model encompasses all aspects of teacher preparation, including courses, field/clinical experiences, candidate assessment, faculty development, and scholarship, as well as program administration, evaluation, and accreditation.

The One Plus model is an adaptation and extension of Florida’s ESOL infusion model. Although the Florida model is intended for language arts teachers only and leads to the attainment of the full ESL endorsement, the One Plus model addresses various teaching specializations and credentials. The One Plus model of EL infusion includes various measures to incorporate a focus on teaching and assessing English learners throughout teacher preparation curricula.

Three levels of coverage:

Basic coverage comprises the EL-embedded teacher preparation courses, field/clinical experiences, and assessments that are part of an EL-infused program. We recommend that, at a minimum, basic coverage include embedding the majority of foundational and discipline-specific courses, observations and interviews of English learners in instructional settings, and a reflective portfolio of each candidate’s compiled EL-focused assignments.

Increasingly, teachers of academic subjects are asked to consider the language demands of their disciplines for native speakers of English and ELs alike. Although language development can be an important part of learning about a subject such as mathematics, most academic subject instructors are primarily concerned with teaching the concepts, facts, and skills of their disciplines. Language focus can be facilitative of these ends but should not overshadow them in mainstream academic subject classes. Moreover, many academic subjects lend themselves to other types of presentation, exploration, and assessment of their concepts, facts, and skills than just verbal discussion and explanation. For this reason, accommodations in instructing and assessing these subjects can be more feasible than in subjects that focus specifically on building English language skills.

Language arts and literacy teacher candidates also benefit from learning and practicing general linguistic and contextual adaptations for ELs at multiple levels of English proficiency. For example, in teaching secondary literature such as Romeo and Juliet, language arts instructors teach facts and concepts that can be made clearer to ELs through contextual and linguistic support such as story diagrams and summary outlines with definitions or translations of difficult terms. In addition, many language arts and literacy teachers support students’ development of knowledge and skills in various academic subjects through a focus on reading and writing in the content areas, so understanding how these subjects are made comprehensible is important for that reason as well.

Program Elements and Outcomes:

Categories of EL embedded course categories:



Added content of EL embedded course categories: 


EL-specific course content:

Embedded EL content:

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Preparing Every Teacher to Reach English Learners

If you are interested in learning more on the different ways, you can prepare teachers to reach English learners, the ELAN authors  compiled essential information in their book Preparing Every Teacher to Reach English Learners.

Preparing Every Teacher to Reach English Learners presents a practical, flexible model for infusing English learner (EL) instruction into teacher education courses


The editors outline the key steps involved in this approach—winning faculty support, assessing needs, and developing capacity—and share strategies for avoiding pitfalls. The central chapters feature sample courses illustrating how EL content can be incorporated into standard courses (human development, learning disabilities, and social foundations) and across subject areas and topics (math, science, social science, physical education, and classroom management).

Most preservice teacher candidates report that they feel unprepared to work with English learners. This practical, flexible model for infusing EL content into teacher education will provide an invaluable resource in shaping the next generation of teachers.


Part I - EL Infusion from Theory to Practice: The One Plus Model

In this chapter, the authors review some of the prevailing approaches in delivering content through infusion and offer an operational definition of EL infusion inspired by principles of interdisciplinarity, instructional design, and effective instruction and assessment of ELs, which guided the development and implementation of the One Plus model.

The authors trace the evolution of EL infusion, beginning with a response to a Florida Consent Decree that highlighted the need for the preparation of teachers to teach ELs. We then describe the development of the early iterations of the Florida English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) infusion model, which was originally designed for language arts teachers only and leads to the attainment of the full ESOL endorsement. Finally, the authors explain how they adapted the Florida ESOL infusion model and built-in resources, procedures, and policies to develop the One Plus model.

The authors provide a detailed description of the One Plus model, which addresses a diverse array of teaching specializations and credentials. They focus on the two institution-granted credentials at the center of the One Plus model, namely, EL-qualified for teaching academic subject areas in mainstream classrooms and EL-qualified for teaching language arts in mainstream classrooms. Finally, for institutions considering adoption of the One Plus model, they offer a framework for designing, implementing, and evaluating such programs.

This chapter presents a step-by-step process for infusing EL content across courses and programs and provides tools and strategies for engaging faculty in the infusion process.

The authors provide guidance in planning and delivering faculty development in EL content and share a set of resources that teacher educators can use to support the development and implementation of the model in their own contexts.

Part II - Application of the One Plus Model Across Selected Disciplines

This chapter includes four sample EL-embedded course summaries at the basic, or 1 + level of infusion representing the areas of human development, early childhood education, learning disabilities, and social foundations.

This chapter features six sample course summaries at the intermediate, or 2 + level of infusion representing the areas of classroom management and instructional strategies, physical education, mathematics education, middle school science, adolescent mathematics, and social studies education.

This chapter offers four sample course summaries at the more complex 3+ level of infusion in language arts education, including children’s and young adult literature, foundations of language and literacy, and development reading.

Chapter 9 opens with a reflection by Edwidge Crevecoeur-Bryant and features three sample course summaries of professional preparation courses that are more closely aligned with the 1+ level, representing the areas of counseling, school psychology, and educational administration.

Chapter 10 authored by Florin Mihai and Eleni Pappamihiel provides examples of content in EL-specific courses and/or field experiences. The chapter describes the addition of two EL-specific courses and offers suggestions for incorporating content from these courses, along with related field experiences, across the teacher preparation curricula.

In this chapter, authors Jeannie Ducher, Martha Casta~neda, and Amy Fisher Young address candidate assessment and evaluation of EL-infused programs and present a culturally responsive framework for evaluating EL-infused programs and assessing teacher candidates’ preparation to teach ELs in mainstream classrooms.

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