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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 Theoretical Perspectives, Research Findings, and Classroom Implications of the Learning Styles of American Indian and Alaska Native Students

Theoretical Perspectives, Research Findings, and Classroom Implications of the Learning Styles of American Indian and Alaska Native Students


Although research on learning styles has found variation between cultural groups in styles of learning (e.g., Park, 2001; Zhang & Sternberg, 2001), great variation has also been found within groups (e.g., Nuby & Oxford, 1998). These findings suggest that even in classrooms consisting exclusively of a single cultural group, as is the case in many reservation schools, teachers must use a variety of instructional strategies. Effective teaching requires teaching individuals.

This Digest begins with a brief discussion of two prominent definitions of learning styles and then describes studies that have found differences between the learning styles of American Indian students and students of other cultural groups. The Digest then presents instructional interventions stemming from learning styles research.

Cover page of Impact of Two-Way Immersion on Students' Attitudes Toward School and College

Impact of Two-Way Immersion on Students' Attitudes Toward School and College


One program model that has shown positive outcomes for Hispanic students is two-way immersion (Lindholm-Leary, 2001), also known as two-way bilingual or dual language education. Two-way programs integrate native English speakers and English language learners in the same classroom and provide content instruction in both English and the native language of the English language learners. These programs aim to provide high quality educational experiences for all students and promote higher levels of academic achievement.

This digest reports on a study that examined the impact of participation in a two-way immersion program on the language and achievement outcomes of former program participants and on their current schooling path and college plans. The study explored outcomes for three groups of students: 1) Hispanic students who began the two-way program as English language learners; 2) Hispanic students who began the program as English- only or English-dominant speakers; and 3) European American students who entered the program as monolingual speakers of English.

Cover page of Two-Way Immersion Programs: Features and Statistics

Two-Way Immersion Programs: Features and Statistics


The first TWI program in the United States began in 1963. For the next 20 years, the growth of TWI programs was minimal, with fewer than 10 documented programs in operation before 1981. The majority of programs in existence today were established during the past two decades. The 2000 Directory includes 248 TWI programs in 23 states and the District of Columbia. There has also been considerable expansion within existing programs: Many have reported adding new grade levels each year, and 40 programs now extend into middle or high school.

Program location. The majority of TWI programs are in public schools; only four are operated by private schools. Nearly a quarter of the public school programs operate in specialized environments: 11 are housed in charter schools and 53 in magnet schools. California has the most programs operating in specialized environments, with eight charter school programs and 22 magnet school programs. Relatively few TWI programs (32) are whole-school programs. About three quarters of the elementary programs (191) operate as strands within schools, as do all of the secondary programs (32). Twenty-five programs did not respond to this question.

Languages of instruction. Most TWI programs are Spanish/English (234). The other programs are Chinese/English (5), French/English (5), Korean/English (3), and Navajo/English (2). (One school houses both a Spanish/English and a Chinese/English program.) The majority of students enrolled in these programs are native speakers of one or both languages of instruction. In 37 programs, however, more than 1% of the students are native speakers of a language not used in the program (i.e., third language speakers). In nine programs, 5% are third language speakers.

Cover page of Brain Research: Implications for Second Language Learning

Brain Research: Implications for Second Language Learning


There has been a longstanding interest among second and foreign language educators in research on language and the brain. Language learning is a natural phenomenon; it occurs even without intervention. By understanding how the brain learns naturally, language teachers may be better able to enhance their effectiveness in the classroom.

Cover page of Examining Latino Paraeducators' Interactions With Latino Students

Examining Latino Paraeducators' Interactions With Latino Students


Sociocultural theory emphasizes the social nature of learning and the cultural–historical contexts in which interactions take place. Thus, teacher-student interactions and the relationships that are fostered through these interactions play a vital role in student learning. This digest discusses a study that examined the impact of sociocultural factors on the interactions between Latino language minority students and Latino paraeducators and the relationships that result from these interactions. The study explored whether a knowledge of students' culture and communities, primary language, and interaction styles helps paraeducators and their cooperating teachers meet the students' academic and social needs.

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 ignore the language needs of these students in content courses. The project described in this digest 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 is known about quality professional development with the special features necessary for meeting the needs of English language learners. The project has defined a model of sheltered instruction based on the research of best practices, as well as on the experiences of the participating teachers and researchers. They collaborated in developing the observation tool being utilized in the study, the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), which identifies the features of sheltered instruction that can enhance and expand teachers' instructional practice (Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, in press). The protocol is composed of 30 items grouped into 3 sections: Preparation, Instruction, and Review/Evaluation. Items are further clustered under Instruction: Building Background, Comprehensible Input, Strategies, Interaction, Practice/Application, and Lesson Delivery. Items are scored using a Likert scale with scores ranging from 4 to 0.

Cover page of Promoting Successful Transition to the Mainstream: Effective Instructional Strategies for Bilingual Students

Promoting Successful Transition to the Mainstream: Effective Instructional Strategies for Bilingual Students


This Digest describes a research and development program being carried out in transitional bilingual education (TBE) programs at five elementary schools in the Los Angeles area. The majority of the students in these schools are Latino, and more than 80% are classified as limited English proficient (LEP) at the time of enrollment. Since the early 1990s, researchers have been collaborating with teachers and project advisors to develop, implement, and describe instructional strategies that significantly improve the chances of these students to make a successful transition to mainstream English instruction. The transition program they have developed optimally spans Grades 3 through 5. Grade 3 is considered a pre-transition year, Grade 4 is Transition I, and Grade 5 is Transition II. The pre-transition component is designed to emphasize the importance of developing literacy skills in Spanish and oral language skills in English. The goal is to have all students performing at grade level in Spanish reading and writing and at the speech emergence level in oral English by the end of Grade 3, at which time they qualify for transition and begin English reading and writing while they continue receiving Spanish language arts.

It should be noted that the passage of California's Proposition 227 in 1998 essentially eliminated many bilingual programs throughout the state, including the ones with which the researchers have been working. Nevertheless, they are still investigating the effects of the transition program and its many components on the language arts achievement of English learners.

Cover page of In Their Own Words: Two-Way Immersion Teachers Talk About Their Professional Experiences

In Their Own Words: Two-Way Immersion Teachers Talk About Their Professional Experiences


The last several years have seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of two-way immersion (TWI) programs around the country, from 30 programs in 1987 to 225 programs in 1998 (McCargo & Christian, 1998). These programs integrate native English speakers and language-minority students for academic instruction and aim to promote bilingual proficiency, high academic achievement, and cross-cultural awareness in all students (Christian, 1994). The expanded popularity of these programs has meant a surge in the demand for and recruitment of TWI teachers. At the same time, there is very little research documenting the teaching experiences or professional development needs of current teachers in this unique teaching environment. Without this type of documentation, it is difficult to know which types of pre-service and in-service professional development activities will best prepare teachers to work effectively in TWI programs.

One study conducted specifically with TWI teachers describes a professional development project in El Paso, Texas, that utilized peer ethnography to foster reflective practice among 24 team-teachers in two TWI programs (Calderón, 1995). As a result of ongoing participation in this action research study, teachers reported improved collaboration with team members, improved dual-language teaching skills, renewed enthusiasm for teaching, and interest in pursuing graduate degrees. A related study investigating the self-reported professional development needs of French immersion teachers (Day & Shapson, 1996) found that, by far, workshops were the prevalent form of in-service professional development, and that French language arts and curriculum and materials development were teachers' top priorities. These studies are useful in that they initiate a dialogue on the professional development needs and practices of teachers in immersion settings.

Because TWI programs are increasingly popular but not well studied as teaching environments, it is important to continue this dialogue in a way that targets the specific professional demands of TWI teachers. Like all teachers who work in programs that facilitate second language acquisition, TWI teachers must constantly strive to integrate language and content objectives in every lesson. What makes the task of the TWI teacher distinct, however, is that at all times, regardless of the language of instruction, they are asked to deliver instruction to integrated groups of native speakers and second language learners. Therefore, they must always be mindful of ways to make the content comprehensible to the nonnative speakers, while still making the lessons stimulating and challenging to the native speakers. Likewise, because of the integrated nature of the programs, TWI teachers need to possess strong interpersonal skills that allow them to function well in cross-cultural environments. Not only do TWI teachers need to be able to promote positive cross-cultural relationships among students in their classes, they also need to be able to work effectively with other staff members and parents from both cultural groups.

Research on TWI being conducted at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) under the auspices of the Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) is investigating the professional development of TWI teachers. An important premise of the investigation is the belief that questions about how to prepare teachers to work in TWI settings are best answered by teachers themselves. For this reason, interviews and questionnaires were used to elicit teachers' perspectives and to gain demographic information about this understudied population. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight elementary TWI teachers from various programs across the country, and their responses were used to formulate a professional development needs assessment questionnaire that was distributed to 181 pre-K-8 classroom teachers in 12 TWI programs. Findings from the interviews and questionnaires are presented in this digest.

Cover page of Developing Language Proficiency and Connecting to Students' Lives: Two Standards for Effective Teaching

Developing Language Proficiency and Connecting to Students' Lives: Two Standards for Effective Teaching


This digest is based on a report published by the Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence: Pedagogy Matters: Standards for Effective Teaching Practice, by Stephanie Stoll Dalton.

The Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) has developed the following five pedagogy standards for effective teaching and learning for all students, including students placed at risk for academic achievement: (1) teachers and students producing together, (2) developing language and literacy across the curriculum, (3) connecting school to students' lives (4) teaching complex thinking, and (5) teaching through conversation. These standards emerge from principles of practice that have proven successful with majority and minority at-risk students in numerous classrooms in several states. They incorporate the broadest base of knowledge available and reflect the emerging professional consensus about the most effective ways to educate linguistically and culturally diverse students. (See the full report to learn more about all five standards.)

This digest focuses specifically on two of these standards—developing language and literacy across the curriculum and connecting school to students' lives—and provides examples of how they are implemented in the classroom. Indicators are introduced for each standard, revealing its action components and their functions in teaching and learning.

Cover page of Secondary Newcomer Programs: Helping Recent Immigrants Prepare for School Success

Secondary Newcomer Programs: Helping Recent Immigrants Prepare for School Success


Many school districts are facing increasing numbers of secondary immigrant students who have low level English or native language skills and, in many cases, have had limited formal education in heir native countries. These students must learn English, take the required content courses, and catch up to heir native-English-speaking peers before high school graduation. How are schools meeting the needs of these students, many of whom are placed below the expected grade level for their age?

Some districts have developed newcomer programs that serve these students through a program of intensive language development and academic and cultural orientation, for a limited period of time (usually from 6-18 months), before placing them in the regular school language support and academic programs. The rationale for establishing these programs differs across sites, but many programs were set up for one or more of the following reasons:

• Students were at risk of educational failure or of dropping out of school.

• Students were over age for their grade level placement, because of weak academic skills and limited formal education.

• Students' needs surpassed the instructional design of the regular ESL or bilingual program that was in place in the district.

• Students had low or no English or native language literacy skills.

This digest reports on data collected through a study of secondary newcomer programs, sponsored by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S.Department of Education as part of he Center for Education, Diversity & Excellence. It introduces the common factors and range of practices found in secondary newcomer programs across the United States. The information is drawn from program profiles found in Secondary Newcomer Programs in the United States:1996-97 Directory (Short & Boyson,1997).