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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 Learning Science and English: How School Reform Advances Scientific Learning for Limited English Proficient Middle School Students

Learning Science and English: How School Reform Advances Scientific Learning for Limited English Proficient Middle School Students


This article presents findings from the School Reform and Student Diversity Study, a 4-year project to locate and analyze schools offering exemplary science and mathematics programs to middle school students with limited proficiency in English. In contrast to the vast majority of schools, the four schools described in this article give these students access to stimulating science and mathematics curricula by instructing them either in the students' primary language or in English using sheltered techniques. These schools have overcome the usual barriers to including students with limited English proficiency (LEP) in grade level science and mathematics courses, particularly the belief of many teachers and administrators that fluency in English is a prerequisite to learning other academic subjects.

How have these schools been able to offer innovative science and mathematics programs to students who are not yet proficient in English? First, these programs were manifestations of larger national and state level efforts to improve science and mathematics instruction. External partners connected the schools to these larger reform efforts and aided teachers in developing thematic instruction, providing hands-on experiential learning opportunities, and fostering students' construction of meaning. Second, the exemplary science and mathematics programs took place in a broader context of school restructuring, such as school-based decision making in regard to allocation of resources, creation of smaller school units for learning, innovative uses of time that protected and extended LEP students' time to learn, and teacher collaboration. Finally, well-conceived and well-implemented language development programs for LEP students were crucial to the programs' success. The availability of qualified faculty, the creation of multiple-program pathways for transition to English, and support for transitioning students to all-English instruction provided the foundation for giving LEP students access to innovative science and mathematics programs.

Cover page of Learning English: How School Reform Fosters Language Acquisition and Development for Limited English Proficient Elementary School Students

Learning English: How School Reform Fosters Language Acquisition and Development for Limited English Proficient Elementary School Students


Many schools across the nation are facing the challenge of educating students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds who have limited English proficiency. This paper examines four exemplary elementary schools that have successfully implemented language development programs for limited English proficient (LEP) students as part of a schoolwide restructuring effort. These exemplary schools--in California, Texas, and Illinois-- were selected on the basis of a national nomination process. All have nontraditional school organizations, a well-developed language acquisition program for LEP students, and high-quality language arts curricula. The analysis presented here synthesizes data about the four schools gathered from telephone interviews and on-site interviews with teachers, principals, and district staff. Research staff also conducted focus groups with students and parents and observed instruction in selected classrooms.

Although each school takes an individual approach to language acquisition and development, they share the following elements: (a) They have changed the organization of the school in ways that support improved teaching and learning for all students, including LEP students; (b) they have adapted their programs for LEP students in response to their students' needs; (c) they have provided LEP students access to challenging content; (d) they have engaged LEP students with their English-only peers; (e) they have implemented innovative curricular strategies including whole language, literature-based curriculum, and thematic, integrated curriculum; and (f) they have implemented innovative instructional strategies including cooperative learning, active learning, and experiential instructional strategies.

In undertaking a process of education reform, these schools have been able to tailor their programs to meet the needs of their students. They have instituted innovative organizational structures that have specific pedagogical benefits for LEP students while at the same time creating a mission and vision for the school that embraces all students.

Cover page of Creating a Community of Scholarship with Instructional Conversations in a Transitional Bilingual Classroom

Creating a Community of Scholarship with Instructional Conversations in a Transitional Bilingual Classroom


This report explores the ways in which instructional conversations between a teacher and her students contributed to building an academic community in a transitional bilingual fourth-grade classroom. Through an analysis of reading lesson transcripts, classroom events, and student essays and journal assignments, this report shows how classroom experiences fostered the development of students' understanding of the concepts of sacrifice and responsibility. This report describes how, at both the individual and classroom community level, instructional conversations deepened student understandings of the texts they read in class by encouraging students to make connections between particular textual concepts and their own experiences. In addition to tracking student gains in understanding, this report shows how the conversations helped build a classroom community that incorporated the cultural beliefs and concerns of the students.

Cover page of Fostering Second Language Development in Young Children: Principles and Practices

Fostering Second Language Development in Young Children: Principles and Practices


More than one fifth of American school-age children come from families in which languages other than English are spoken (McDonnell & Hill, 1993). Many children from such families are limited in their English proficiency. During the last decade, the number of school children with limited proficiency in English grew two and a half times faster than regular school enrollment (August & Hakuta, 1993). Given these changes in classroom demographics, it is imperative that all teachers have knowledge about second language development and instructional strategies for developing language proficiency.

This report sets down some guidelines for teaching these children. It summarizes principles and practices that can be derived from current thinking and research in the field of second language acquisition and culturally sensitive instruction.

Cover page of Making Change Happen in a Language Minority School: A Search for Coherence

Making Change Happen in a Language Minority School: A Search for Coherence


This paper reports on a project aimed at improving academic achievement at a predominantly Latino elementary school in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. Project activities were guided by a school change model that helped provide a coherent, sustained focus over a period of several years. The model suggests four elements that can be used to produce changes in teaching and learning: goals that are set and shared; indicators that measure success; assistance by capable others; and leadership that supports and pressures. Administration and faculty at the school, aided by UCLA researchers, made substantial improvements in teacher expectations, teaching, school climate, and student achievement.

Cover page of Links Between Home and School Among Low-Income Mexican-American and European-American Families

Links Between Home and School Among Low-Income Mexican-American and European-American Families


The goal of this report is to show how low-income Mexican-American and European-American children's and adolescents' everyday learning activities in the home and parents' aspirations for their children's future are key elements in home-school linkages. After reviewing two models of home-school linkages, we apply the ecocultural approach to analyzing third-,fifth-, and seventh-grade students' participation in chore and homework activities and their parents' aspirations for their personal/moral, educational, and vocational future. Drawing on interviews with these students' parents, we illustrate personnel (parents, siblings, relatives, friends) available to guide children's and adolescents' mastery of homework and chores, parents' direct and indirect instructional scripts, and how parents' future goals and aspirations might shape their present goals and guidance. In reporting our findings, we pay special attention to 1) similarities and differences between the ecology of learning, resources, and vulnerabilities of Mexican-American and European-American families, 2) within-cultural-group variation in families' resources and vulnerabilities, and 3) how families' resources and vulnerabilities, guidance scripts, and aspirations change as children enter adolescence. We conclude with suggestions for how to apply our findings to the design of parent-school partnerships.

Cover page of Integrating Language and Content: Lessons from Immersion

Integrating Language and Content: Lessons from Immersion


Among the most interesting and effective innovations in second language education during the last three decades have been the immersion programs developed in Canada. The first immersion programs were developed to provide Canada's majority-group English-speaking students with opportunities to learn Canada's other official language. Since that time, immersion programs have been adopted in many different areas of North America, and alternative forms of immersion have been devised.

This report presents a selective review of research findings from the extensive evaluations that have been undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of immersion programs in Canada and the United States. It focuses on selected aspects of second language learning and discusses implications of immersion research findings for the design and development of second language programs in other school settings for other kinds of learners: for example, for students learning through other forms of content-based instruction and limited-English-proficient students.

The intent of this review is not to advocate immersion for all second language learners but to learn from the experiences and research findings in immersion for majority language learners. The lessons to be learned from immersion are related to the importance of (1) integrating language with content instruction, (2) classrooms that are discourse-rich, and (3) systematic planning of language along with content instruction.

Cover page of Two-Way Bilingual Education: Students Learning Through Two Languages

Two-Way Bilingual Education: Students Learning Through Two Languages


In a growing number of schools in the United States, students are learning through two languages in programs that aim to develop dual language proficiency along with academic achievement. These two-way bilingual programs integrate language minority and language majority students and provide content area instruction and language development in two languages.

A study of over 160 schools between 1991 and 1994 provides a picture of the current state of two-way bilingual education in the United States. Two-way programs typically share the goals of bilingual proficiency, academic achievement, and positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors, but they vary a good deal in the approaches and strategies they use to work toward those goals. A host of local factors affect such issues as student enrollment, program features and design, and instructional features.

Emerging results of studies of two-way bilingual programs point to their effectiveness in educating nonnative-English-speaking students, their promise of expanding our nation's language resources by conserving the native language skills of minority students and developing second language skills in English-speaking students, and their hope of improving relationships between majority and minority groups by enhancing cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

Cover page of Effective Instructional Conversation in Native American Classrooms

Effective Instructional Conversation in Native American Classrooms


Instructional conversation (IC) is a dialog between teacher and learner in which prior knowledge and experiences are woven together with new material to build higher understanding. IC contrasts with the "recitation script" of traditional western schooling, which is highly routinized and dominated by the teacher. IC varies in form in different cultures, as do other discourse forms. Analysis of the research on the formal and informal learning of American Indians lends insight into possible ways in which instructional conversations in classrooms with these children can be modified to promote learning. Effective instructional conversations for Native Americans are influenced by four basic psychocultural factors identified by Tharp (1989): a) sociolinguistics; b) motivation; c) cognition; and d) social organization. These factors are implicated in activity settings that are more likely to produce effective ICs in Native American classrooms. "Ideal" activity settings--those most likely to produce and maintain ICs for Native American students are proposed and illustrated.

Cover page of Teacher Research on Funds of Knowledge: Learning from Households

Teacher Research on Funds of Knowledge: Learning from Households


The conceptualization of working-class Latino students' households as being rich in funds of knowledge has engendered transformative consequences for teachers, parents, students, and researchers. The qualitative study of their own students' households by teachers has unfolded as a viable method for bridging the gap between school and community. Teachers enter the households of two to three of their students as ethnographers, that is, as learners of the everyday lived contexts of their students' lives. These are not home visits in the usual sense, as teachers do not attempt to teach the family or to visit for disciplinary reasons. The focus of the home visit is to gather details about the accumulated knowledge base that each household assembles in order to ensure its own subsistence. Teachers also participate in study groups that offer a forum for the collective analysis of the household findings. Based on their experiences in the households and the study groups, teachers form curriculum units that tap into the household funds of knowledge. Parents have been drawn into the process by the validation of household knowledge as worthy of pedagogical notice. New avenues of communication between school and home have been constructed in a way which fosters confianza, or mutual trust.