English Learners (ELs) entering U.S. schools at the high school level face the enormous challenge of acquiring academic literacy as well as secondary-level content in a relatively short period of time. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that a significant number of the ELs entering at the secondary level are students with limited or interrupted formal educations as a result of family migrations, unequal schooling in their home countries, political unrest or even war. In response to this pressing need to teach language and content simultaneously, many school districts are adopting the sheltered instruction (SI) model. This paper will explore the research and literature available on the use and implementation of SI as a program model for ELs, and raise awareness of the difficulty ELs have in acquiring both content and language acquisition at the high school level, specifically with regard to science. Then, the paper will examine the implementation of a high school sheltered science course for ELs in the beginning stages of language proficiency. Initial curriculum is presented, along with a narrative discussing the successes, failures, and revisions of the design. The paper concludes with recommendations for a future sheltered course.


Nancy L. Drescher

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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