Language Through Music: Bridging the Opportunity Gap in the ELD Classroom
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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Language Through Music: Bridging the Opportunity Gap in the ELD Classroom


Because long-term English language learners (LTELs) in California normatively take two hours of English language instruction beginning in middle school, their schedules disallow participation in electives, such as arts, representing a significant opportunity gap. This mixed methods study examined the student, parent, and teacher experiences as well as the student English language development outcomes of a pilot program undertaken in one Southern California school district, in which one class of 17 LTEL students were placed into a choir class that embedded ELD standards into the curriculum. After one semester of the pilot program, qualitative data in the form of interviews, journals, and a focus group indicated that the program improved social-emotional outcomes for LTEL students and was highly supported by their parents, while teachers indicated that the program was positive, but needed further support in order to work well as a regular course offering. Quantitative results derived from ANCOVA analyses of English language assessments indicated that the students in the program significantly improved in their English development in comparison to a demographically matched control group from the same district. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.


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