In education, English Language Development (ELD) refers to improving the English skills of students, especially those who are learning English as a second language. A strong ELD program will empower students, helping them to communicate in English more effectively in both written and oral forms, as well as improving their comprehension and listening abilities. Improving a student's English will make him or her a much more powerful academic, and will also help the student succeed in English speaking nations, in which English skills are expected for most well paying jobs and in many social situations.
Instructors who work with English Language Learners (ELLs) implement an ELD program for their students, commonly working with other teachers and experts to structure a strong curriculum. In classrooms with students at mixed levels of English ability, a common situation, an ELD curriculum must support the ELLs while also helping other students, and this can be a difficult balance to strike. Teachers who work extensively with minorities may receive special training to help them teach their students most effectively. Most school districts set ELD goals which clearly outline the skills that they expect students to have as they move through school, to ensure that students will be able to keep up and receive a high quality education.
A strong ELD curriculum integrates a number of subjects, and starts at a very young age. The classroom needs to be organized effectively to help students learn, and teachers keep learning material varied and interesting so that students are interested in learning more. Often, an ELD program is structured in units, which help students to learn blocks of material and then put their new English skills to use. ELD students learn English through a variety of other subjects, and a good ELD program will also impart some learnings in math, science, and history in addition to teaching English. While ELD is most intensive in elementary school, to help students develop the building blocks of successful communication, educational institutions through college offer ELD programs to assist students. In addition, some communities offer ELD programs for adults who are not attending school.
When working with older ELLs, an ELD program often encourages peer assistance. At a college student help center, for example, more advanced ELLs help less advanced students to grasp major concepts. ELD is also not restricted to speakers who are acquiring a new language: many native English speakers benefit from ELD programs as well. Native English speakers who have low literacy levels participate in programs designed to improve their English reading, and by extension their ability to write, speak, and comprehend material in English.