Who are SLIFE?

“Subpopulation of English language learners (ELLs) who have experienced interrupted education due to war, civil unrest, migration, or other factors.

ELLs who have never had the opportunity to participate in any type of schooling before entering school in the United States

ELLs who have experienced limited education in their home countries due to lack of resources or trained teachers, the type of schooling they participated in, or other circumstances.” (DeCapua & Marshall, 2010)

What are educational considerations for Slife?

SLIFE have considerable literacy and academic gaps as a result of missing school. Some are illiterate in their native language and require native language literacy in addition to English literacy. While these students must learn basic skills, they must also learn increasingly complex academic concepts. Additionally, SLIFE may have undergone extremely stressful conditions before entering school, which must be taken into account when integrating them into school (¡Colorin colorado!). Classrooms should be culturally responsive as well as language rich environments in order to maximize student engagement and learning.

How do i know if my student is slife

In order to determine if a student is SLIFE, interviews and assessments should be performed. This guide, created for Ontario guides teachers in identification of SLIFE, considerations for assessing SLIFE, as well as suggestions for supporting SLIFE. Bridges to Academic Success has an intake assessment to identify SLIFE as well as assessment guidance for educators.


my student has been identified as slife. now what?

Once your student is identified as SLIFE, you should consult with the student’s teachers as well as administrators to determine ideal placement for this student. After the student has been placed in classes, the teachers should work together to create curriculum that meets the needs of the student culturally and academically. If possible, a native language specialist or SLIFE specialist should be consulted.

What is the best way to educate my student

There are many different ways to educate SLIFE. Schools must look at the student holistically (background, experience, emotional and cultural needs, academic needs) in order to determine appropriate setting and curriculum for these students. You can learn more about how to support SLIFE here:

  1. Mutually Adaptive Learning Paradigm Instructional Approach

    MALP is a culturally responsive instructional approach to support SLIFE. It can be used in K-12 education as well as adult education. They offer resources and trainings in this approach.

  2. Seidlitz Education

    While not specifically for SLIFE, Seidlitz staffs individuals who have expertise in working with SLIFE such as Carol Salva. Seidlitz supports school districts and teachers in supporting English language leaners.

  3. Teaching Refugees with Limited Formal Schooling
    A wealth of knowledge, Teaching Refugees is a site that supports teachers working with English learners. The site includes curricular resources, scheduling ideas, and videos.

  4. Bridges to Academic Success

    Bridges offers curriculum, training, and resources to teachers working with newcomers. Their site includes curricular tools, assessments, and professional development videos.

  5. WIDA

    This fourteen page document from the May 2015 WIDA consortium includes: who are SLIFE as well as instructional considerations and suggestions for support for SLIFE. It also includes a FAQ with Dr. Deborah Short, who co-authored the SIOP Model.

  6. SIOP Model

    SIOP is the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, which was created in order to help English learners access content. This document explains the eight components and thirty features.

  7. ¡Colorin colorado!

    This site has excellent resources for supporting English learners. They offer ideas for school-wide and classroom support of SLIFE.

  8. Columbia ILAS K-12 Outreach Program

    This is a guide for teachers supporting Latino SLIFE written by Sarah Digby. Her work demonstrates the importance of native language literacy for SLIFE. Through her work with SLIFE, Sarah uses case studies to help teachers understand trauma of SLIFE, and how best to support them in learning and school.