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The Education of Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students: Effective Instructional Practices

  • Author(s): Garcia, Eugene E.
  • et al.
Abstract

Linguistically and culturally diverse students find themselves in a vulnerable situation on entering U.S. schools. They can achieve academic success, however, when provided with appropriate instruction tailored to meet their specific needs. Recent research has documented effective instructional practices used with students from homes and communities where English is not the primary language of communication. These descriptive studies identified specific schools and classrooms whose language minority students were particularly successful academically. Studies included examination of preschool, elementary, and high school classrooms, and concentrated largely on Latino students. A number of common attributes were identified in the instructional organization of the classrooms studied:

- functional communication between teacher and students and among fellow students was emphasized; - the instruction of basic skills and academic content was consistently organized around thematic units; - instruction was organized in such a way that students were required to interact with each other utilizing collaborative learning techniques; - students progressed systematically from writing in the native language to writing in English, making the transition without any pressure from the teacher to do so; - teachers were highly committed to the educational success of their students and served as student advocates; - principals were highly supportive of their instructional staff and supported teacher autonomy while maintaining an awareness of the need to conform to district policies on curriculum and academic accountability; - both Anglo and non-Anglo parents were involved in the formal parent support activities of the schools and expressed a high level of satisfaction with and appreciation for their children's educational experience in these schools.

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