One element effective ELL programs have in common is the tendency to treat the students’ native languages as a resource rather than a hindrance. Regardless of state-imposed limitations, there are ways teachers can apply primary language to help ELLs gain a deeper comprehension of English and content.

There are ways teachers can use a student’s primary language and home culture to increase the ability to grasp English. While it is true that not all primary language use is helpful (e.g. direct translation of each word severely hinders learning, as learning English becomes unnecessary), judicious use of primary language support, can be highly effective.