Journal of Educational Research and Practice




English learners (ELs) are the fastest growing segment of K–12 students. When ELs do not respond to instruction as quickly as their English-speaking peers, teachers may focus on their deficits and wrongly label them as having a learning disability. In this article on the universal design for learning engagement guidelines, we summarize how we have anticipated learning barriers and increased engagement with academic content for ELs in our practice. By teaching strategies for self-regulation and individual coping skills, providing guided practice and support to sustain effort, and giving students various ways to achieve the same goal in a safe learning environment, teachers of ELs and collaborative staff can engage students in their classrooms and schools. We explore universal design for learning for ELs through an assets-based approach and suggest strategies for elementary and secondary teachers to modify for ELs through illustrative case vignettes based on our classroom practice.