Yacqueline starts this thread by saying, 'First of all it is not logical to combine two different content courses.' ( - presumably 'English language' and a mainstream course such as maths, science or social studies') My own take on this issue, however, is that the focus in English language activities is, or should be, qualitatively very different from that in most mainstream courses, especially at the higher levels. English learners are not primarily being taught 'content'. Rather, they are being taught to communicate, i.e. they are learning a set of skilled behaviours - knowing how to - as opposed to knowing that. The problem is that English teachers need to have their students communicate about something. If that something (content) has no relation to what is being learned in mainstream classes, an additional cognitive load is placed on the learner. For this reason, I believe that English language teaching needs to be integrated into mainstream courses. If this is done, not only might the content of those courses become more accessible to the learner but perhaps the targeting of specific language skills and sub-skills might be more appropriate and timely.
This approach would place additional demands on English teachers. They would, for example, need to understand the mainstream content, perhaps in several different subject areas and across several grade levels. They might need to know, in advance of their intervention, specifically how the mainstream teacher was planning to deliver that content. Such demands might take English teachers out of their comfort zone but unless we find new ways of addressing this challenge we are likely to continue to be marginalized. One approach that works is to have the English teacher team teach with the mainstream teacher. This kills two birds with one stone – it makes content accessible to ELL's and it can provide an opportunity for mainstream teachers to see how that content can be structured as comprehensible input for both English L1 learners and ELL's. After all, good teaching is good communication regardless of who is on the receiving end of it.