An examination of the benefits and limitations of ELL support models in elementary schools: a review of the literature
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This research paper presents a review of the literature within the discourse of English Language Learner (ELL) support at the elementary school level. The paper focuses on three models of support that are widely used in English-medium schools: pull-out support, push-in support, and co-teaching. The number of ELLs is growing in North America, and a deeper understanding of the support models, along with their benefits and limitations, will be useful as schools decide how they will support ELLs. This paper used peer-reviewed articles, dissertations, and public reports dating from 2007 onwards, and found six key themes that were relevant to the discussion of support models: instructional minutes; safe spaces and strong relationships; target language versus content instruction; support from administration; professionalization; and, collaboration. A key finding from this review is that the research base on support models is small, and would benefit from more peer-reviewed studies and a greater variety of perspectives. The research shows that as schools move towards more collaborative models of support, ESL instructors continue to strongly prefer a pull-out model of support due to the challenges of collaboration.