Promoting Academic Achievement Among English Learners: A Guide to the Research

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Discover the research and facts on what works in educating English learners!

This comprehensive resource examines the research on promoting success among students who come to school knowing little or no English and translates current findings into specific recommendations for developing policies and programs for English learners. With illustrative scenarios throughout, this book gives educators and policy makers solid, research-based information about:

  • Using students’ home language in academic programming
  • Teaching English and academic content simultaneously
  • School and district factors that affect achievement for English learners
  • Sociocultural factors in success, including the influence of parents and families

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Editorial Reviews

Michael F. Graves
"Given the number of English learners already in our schools and the rate at which this population is growing, effectively educating language-minority students is one of the greatest challenges schools face. To meet this challenge, as Goldenberg and Coleman forcefully argue, we need to be guided by the best research available. In this lucid, concise, and reader-friendly review of the research on teaching English learners, the authors present the information that teachers, curriculum specialists, and policy makers need to create the strongest possible instructional programs. But this book is more than a review of research—it also includes specific recommendations that follow from the research. I highly recommend this excellent book to everyone concerned with the education of language-minority children.”
Liliana Minaya-Rowe
"The authors have done an exceptionally good job of capturing the major trends, differing perspectives, and many challenges in schooling of English language learners, while putting forth a vision for the immediate future that is solidly grounded in research and in current and evolving knowledge.This bookis essential reading for all teachers, teacher educators, and policy makers."
Patricia G. Mathes
"A must-read for administrators, program developers, policy makers, and educators who make decisions about English language learners (ELLs) in our schools. Goldenbergand Coleman synthesize a complex body of research into a work that is objective, comprehensive, and understandable. While they address the theories and common beliefs that often drive practice with ELLs, they focus on what is known to be effective for ELLs based on child outcome data. They are also honest and transparent about their own opinions and clear when they are discussing known facts. In sum, this book represents a trustworthy source for determining what is known about providing the highest quality educational services for students who are ELLs."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412955492
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Pages: 181
  • Sales rank: 619,918
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Claude Goldenberg, a native of Argentina, is Professor of Education at Stanford University. He received his AB from Princeton University and PhD from UCLA's Graduate School of Education. Goldenberg has taught junior high school in San Antonio, TX, and first grade in a bilingual elementary school in the Lennox School District near Los Angeles. Goldenberg was a National Academy of Education Spencer Fellow and a recipient (with Ronald Gallimore) of the Albert J. Harris Award from the International Reading Association. He was on the Committee for the Prevention of Early Reading Difficulties in Young Children (National Research Council) and the National Literacy Panel (NIH and U.S. Department of Education), which synthesized research on literacy development among language-minority children and youth. He is author of Successful School Change: Creating Settings to Improve Teaching and Learning (Teachers College, 2004). His research focuses on improving achievement for language minority students, particularly those from Latino backgrounds.

Rhoda Coleman is Senior Research Fellow and Professional Development Specialist at the Center for Language Minority Education and Research at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). She received her BA and EdD from University of Southern California, has a master's in Reading and Reading Specialist Credential from Loyola Marymount University, and a master's in Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. Coleman taught elementary school in grades 1 through 6 for 29 years in the Lennox School District near Los Angeles where she taught EL students transitioning into English. She was then a Language Arts consultant for Los Angeles County Office of Education providing K-12 professional development to school districts throughout California and writing and producing over 25 teacher-training videos. She currently teaches in the teacher credential program at CSULB. Coleman was a California Teacher of the Year, recipient of the Milken National Educator Award, and California Social Studies Teacher of the Year.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures vii

Acknowledgments viii

About the Authors ix

1 Why This Book? 1

A New Focus on English Learners 3

This Book's Goal 5

What About Bilingual Education? 10

ELLs in the United States: Populations and Programs 11

A Word About Research and Statistics 16

The Book's Plan 20

References 21

2 The Role of the Home Language 23

Common Sense Does Not Necessarily Lead to Truth 24

Differences Between the NLP and CREDE Reports 29

How to Explain Effects of L1 Instruction on L2 Achievement? 31

Still Many Unknowns 33

Is There a Place for L1 in English Immersion Programs? 34

Recommendations 36

References 37

3 Literacy Instruction in a Second Language 39

English Learners Developing Literacy: Key Components 41

English Learners Developing Literacy: "Complex Approaches" 48

What Instructional Modifications Are Needed for English Learners Learning to Read? 50

Recommendations 56

References 57

4 Promoting English Oral Language Development 59

A Surprising Lack of Research 61

Academic and Conversational English Have Different Characteristics 61

Approaches to Promoting English Language Development 63

How Long Does It Take English Learners to Become Fluent in English? 68

A Need to Focus on Academic English Proficiency 71

How Should English Learners Be Grouped for ELD Instruction? 72

Interactions With English Speakers 74

Should ELD Be Taught Separately or Integrated With Other Academic Instruction? 76

Recommendations 78

References 79

5 Academic Instruction in a Second Language 81

Key Concepts 83

What Do We Know About Effective Content Area Academic Instruction for ELLs? 89

Techniques for Teaching Academic Content to ELLs 90

The Development of Academic Language 91

Science Instruction for ELLs 96

Recommendations 97

References 98

6 School and District Role: Focus and Coherence 101

Getting From Here to There 103

Explicit Academic Goals 104

Ongoing Student Assessment 105

Leadership 106

Professional Development 108

Other School and District Factors 111

Linking School and District Policies With Classroom Practice 112

Recommendations 113

References 114

7 Social, Cultural, and Family Influences 117

Culture and Achievement Among ELLs 118

Evidence on Culturally Compatible Instruction for ELLs Is Mixed 120

Using Material With Familiar Content 123

Does Familiar Necessarily Mean Culturally Familiar? 126

Parents and Families 129

Recommendations 132

References 133

8 The Research Goes to School 135

English Language Instruction Scenarios 136

Primary-Language Instruction Scenarios 157

9 Conclusion: What's Next? 167

Teachers, Specialists, and Coaches 168

Administrators and Policy Makers 170

Conducting Thoughts 171

References 172

Glossary 173

Index 177

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