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Open Access Publications from the University of California

CREDE is a federally funded research and development program focused on improving the education of students whose ability to reach their potential is challenged by language or cultural barriers, race, geographic location, or poverty. More than 30 CREDE-funded research projects around the country have gathered data and tested curriculum models in wide-ranging settings and with diverse student populations-from classrooms with predominantly Zuni-speaking students in New Mexico to inner city schools in Florida to California elementary schools with large populations of native Spanish-speaking students. The findings from these projects are available here and on the CREDE web site.

Cover page of Two-Way Immersion 101: Designing and Implementing a Two-Way Immersion Education Program at the Elementary Level

Two-Way Immersion 101: Designing and Implementing a Two-Way Immersion Education Program at the Elementary Level


In the United States, two-way immersion (TWI) is an educational approach that integrates native English speakers and native speakers of another language (usually Spanish) for content and literacy instruction in both languages. In recent years, the number of TWI programs has grown rapidly. This report examines key issues to consider when planning elementary level TWI programs, noting the fundamental characteristics that must be in place for the development of successful programs. Suggestions are based on over 15 years of research on TWI education conducted by the Center for Applied Linguistics. Much of the research involves visiting and working with new and experienced programs and learning first-hand about features necessary for a strong program. TWI education is a dynamic form of education that holds promise for developing high levels of academic achievement, bilingualism and biliteracy, and cross-cultural awareness among participating students. Because it requires instruction in two languages to integrated groups of students, it is complicated and challenging to implement effectively. The report looks at the following: essential elements of TWI programs (e.g., definition and goals, criteria for success, and instructional strategies); variable program features (e.g., setting, model, and language distribution); and advice from existing programs (e.g., planning, staffing, and parent involvement).

Cover page of Educating Hispanic Students: Obstacles and Avenues to Improved Academic Achievement

Educating Hispanic Students: Obstacles and Avenues to Improved Academic Achievement


This report synthesizes the research on the education of Hispanic students, summarizing these problems and suggesting possible solutions for approaching them.

Cover page of Leading for Diversity: How School Leaders Promote Positive Interethnic Relations

Leading for Diversity: How School Leaders Promote Positive Interethnic Relations


This book provides models of leadership that are effective in developing schools where positive interethnic relations can flourish. Vignettes and case studies allow readers to assess and develop their leadership skills in interethnic relations by recognizing and developing their strengths, assessing how organizational structures support or constrain positive relations, understanding the nature of ethnic tension in the school, identifying the school's priority needs, developing a core vision of interethnic relations, creating and implementing a plan for promoting positive relations, and documenting the effectiveness of the plan. Part 1, "A Framework for Developing Positive Interethnic Communities," includes; (1) "Leading from Within"; (2) "Assessing the School Context"; (3) "Understanding Racial and Ethnic Conflict"; (4) "Identifying Priority Needs--Individual and School-Wide"; (5) "Envisioning Positive Interethnic Relations"; (6) "Selecting Approaches"; (7) "Implementing and Refining the Plan"; and (8) "Documenting and Communicating Success in Interethnic Relations." Part 2, "Cases in Interethnic Relations for School Leaders," includes (9) "The Ripple Effect of Conflict"; (10) "The Power of the School Secretary"; (11) "Challenging Attitudes"; (12) "What's Data Got to Do With It?"; (13) "Dilemmas of Pluralism and Unity"; and (14) "Maintaining Confidentiality." The methodology, resources for schools, and alignment with standards for school leadership are appended.

Cover page of Broadening the Base: School/Community Partnerships Serving Language Minority Students at Risk

Broadening the Base: School/Community Partnerships Serving Language Minority Students at Risk


Language minority students, including immigrants and the U.S.-born children of immigrants, may have to contend with a mismatch between the language and culture of their schools and those of their homes and communities. To broaden the base of support for these students and to help address their academic needs appropriately, some schools have been partnering with community-based organizations (CBOs). This report outlines findings from a study of school/CBO partnerships that promote the academic achievement of language minority students. It describes the types of CBOs that partner with schools, the ways that partners work together, and the work that they do. Crucial elements of program success are discussed, as well as challenges that partnerships may face. There are recommendations from experienced partners that may benefit new partnerships.

Cover page of Implementing Two-Way Immersion Programs in Secondary Schools

Implementing Two-Way Immersion Programs in Secondary Schools


Elementary two-way immersion (TWI) programs continue to proliferate throughout the United States, but the number of successfully implemented secondary TWI programs remains small. Many districts with TWI cohorts that are reaching the upper elementary grades must now make complex decisions about whether and how to extend their programs into middle school and high school. For this report, telephone interviews were conducted with project coordinators from seven schools that have secondary TWI programs. Their responses provide a preliminary sense of the key challenges confronting TWI programs operated above the elementary level along with some experience-based options for meeting these challenges. Issues addressed include program planning; language distribution, curriculum and materials; student participation and motivation; attrition and late entries; student scheduling; teams, clusters, and houses; staffing; transportation; and parent involvement. A general overview of each program is included.

Cover page of The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol: A Tool for Teacher-Researcher Collaboration and Professional Development

The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol: A Tool for Teacher-Researcher Collaboration and Professional Development


Professional development for teachers is a complex and multifaceted endeavor and is becoming more so as popularity grows for standards-based education. Teachers generally report feeling pressure to cover the curriculum at nearly any cost. For English language learners, the cost is greater than usual as teachers often inadvertently pay less attention to the language needs of these students in content courses. The project described in this report was designed with the belief that teacher professional growth can best be fostered through sustained collaborative inquiry between teachers and researchers. It has set out to incorporate what we know about quality professional development with the special features needed to meet the needs of English language learners.

The purpose of the research project was to develop an explicit model of sheltered instruction that teachers could use to improve the academic success of their LEP students. The project has defined a model of sheltered instruction that is based on the research of best practices, as well as on the experiences of participating teachers and researchers who collaborated in developing the observation tool being utilized in the study. The tool, the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), provides concrete examples of the features of sheltered instruction that can enhance and expand teachers’ instructional practice. In this project, the model was used to train middle school teachers to implement effective sheltered strategies in their classes in four large urban school districts (two on the east coast and two on the west coast). The project teachers use sheltered instruction in a variety of settings, such as traditional English as a second language (ESL) classes, content-based ESL classes, and sheltered content classes. English language learners represent 22-50% of the total population at the project schools, and the proficiency levels of these students range from beginning to advanced.

To date, this project has helped the participating teachers to expand their knowledge base. They have created learning communities in which they can discuss issues of real importance and set the pace for their own professional growth. Through discussion with more capable others, the teachers have had opportunities to increase their understanding of the subject matter — both the content and the language development topics — and they have explored new teaching and assessment strategies. For those untrained in ESL instruction, the project has provided a venue for learning about second language acquisition and for understanding the challenge English language learners face each day as they study multiple subjects through their non-native language.

Cover page of Successful Transition into Mainstream English: Effective Strategies for Studying Literature

Successful Transition into Mainstream English: Effective Strategies for Studying Literature


This is one of a series of reports on various aspects of a multi-year Spanish-to-English language arts transition curriculum that seeks to promote first and second language acquisition and academic achievement in the early grades. After providing an overview of the multi-year transition program, this report focuses on how an 8-week literature unit—the intensive study of a carefully chosen literature text—is conducted.

The following four fundamental theoretical premises that undergird the project are described: (1) challenge, (2) comprehensiveness, (3) continuity, and (4) connections between students' existing knowledge and the academic content to be learned.

Four strategies found to be effective and the corresponding tools used are as follows:

(1) Build students' background knowledge. Background-building lessons and activities support the literature unit and provide a means to integrate language arts and social studies. Students complete supplemental reading through assigned independent readings, teacher read-alouds, and books available for pleasure reading.

(2) Draw on students' personal experiences. Individual "literature logs" are students' written answers to specific questions about themes in the story being studied. The questions elicit students' personal experiences relevant to the story.

(3) Promote extended discourse through writing and discussion. "Working the text"— reading it, re-reading it, discussing it, writing about it, and listening to what others have written about it—gives students opportunities to develop new ways to interpret and articulate ideas. A final writing project shows how students' understanding of the literature text has expanded and how their ability to write about it has been enhanced.

(4) Assist students in re-reading pivotal portions of the text. In preparation for the unit, the teacher "chunks" the book into manageable portions of reading that begin and end at meaningful junctures. In one or more chunks, the content is complex and critical to the larger understanding of the story and its theme(s). Such chunks require more time and intensive discussion and may be further divided into parts. Using background knowledge that students gained during study of the story and through further exploration of students' personal experiences, the teacher guides students through each step of a pivotal portion.

Evaluation studies of the benefit of such literacy instruction suggest that the program is providing students with a demonstrably successful transition experience. Mean national percentiles scores for project students increased from the 44th to 72nd percentile in reading and from the 40th to the 78th percentile in language. In comparison, percentile scores for nonproject students showed smaller gains. Project students also scored significantly higher than nonproject students on project-developed performance- based measures of English reading and writing.

Cover page of Program Alternatives for Linguistically Diverse Students

Program Alternatives for Linguistically Diverse Students


This report looks at programs and approaches for educating students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It is intended as a guide for decision makers in schools and school districts to help them identify the instructional approaches and programs that would best serve their students, meet their goals and needs, and match local resources and conditions. An underlying assumption of this report is that no single approach or program model works best in every situation. Many different approaches can be successful when implemented well. Local conditions, choices, and innovation are critical ingredients of success.

We discuss four program alternatives that are currently available to meet the diverse and complex needs of English language learners: (1) newcomer programs, (2) transitional bilingual education, (3) developmental bilingual education, and (4) two-way immersion. We also discuss an instructional approach that can be used with all students learning through the medium of a second language regardless of the type of program they are in. This approach is called sheltered instruction. Sheltered instruction can be implemented in conjunction with the other program alternatives discussed in this report, or it can be implemented as the sole approach for educating English language learners.

We also discuss foreign/second language immersion, which is designed for native-English-speaking students from the mainstream culture who want to acquire advanced proficiency in another language. Immersion programs also provide a viable option for educating indigenous language groups who have lost their heritage language. They are not intended, however, for English language learners; results from immersion programs should not be used to argue against first language instruction for these students.

Virtually all schools in America are being called upon to provide educational services for linguistically and culturally diverse students. It is imperative for the well-being of these students, their communities, and the nation that they receive the best education possible. In this report, we describe educational alternatives that work.

Cover page of Personalizing Culture Through Anthropological and Educational Perspectives

Personalizing Culture Through Anthropological and Educational Perspectives


This report is written primarily for teachers and teacher educators who, in their teaching, curricula, and relationships with students, are struggling with fundamental cultural questions: Who are my students? What kinds of cultural influences shape their lives? How do they — and I, as their teacher — shape and construct this culture on an ongoing basis? What are my own cultural assumptions and how do they influence my teaching?

Much has been written about how schools should respond to the needs of diverse learners and how teachers should alter curricula and teaching practices to accommodate them. We do not intend to reiterate what has already been accomplished in this area. Rather, this report covers ground that we think has been less well covered — namely, the personalization of culture and how it can enhance teaching and learning. These pages represent a distillation of ideas and strategies shared in 1996 at a two-day institute for teachers and anthropologists.1

Many teachers realize that a key to creating a successful learning environment for all students is to tap into the prior knowledge and skills that students bring to school and to make connections between their prior knowledge and new knowledge. Norma González (1996) confirmed this:

"Our experience indicates that when the children's background is recognized and incorporated into the classroom, children's motivation and engagement in the learning process increases dramatically. This is a necessary condition for improving students' achievement across all areas of the curriculum, including language arts, critical thinking skills, mathematics, and scientific inquiry."

When teachers and students share similar cultural and linguistic backgrounds, making these connections is easier, because teachers already have some fairly well-grounded information about the child's culture. For example, they might already know what kinds of activities families participate in on weekends, what kinds of work parents do, and how discipline tends to be handled in the home. Gaps in the teacher's knowledge can readily be filled in by asking parents, who speak the same language as the teacher. On, the other hand, when teachers do not have a background similar to their students', they may lack cultural information that is relevant to teaching these children. Worse yet, they may rely on stereotypes and generalizations to inform curricular and pedagogical decisions. Information and strategies for acquiring accurate information may not be readily apparent, and "even if it were possible for teachers to learn enough about the cultural background of each student, this can lead to the trap of essentialism" (Spindler, 1996), in which we expect all children of a particular cultural background to act in a certain way. Many teachers wonder where they can turn for strategies and ideas that make meaningful use of culture in the classroom.

The purpose of this report is to provide suggestions that will assist teachers in personalizing culture – that is, in moving away from broad generalizations about cultures toward specific knowledge about individual students and families, and toward awareness of the teacher's own culture. Through this personalization of culture, students' prior knowledge and skills can become a rich resource for teaching and learning. We view this as part of the larger effort to create culturally responsive schools. In the following paragraphs, we foreshadow five themes and related assumptions that frame our suggestions for personalizing culture.