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The Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) Model: Con cultura e idioma


This qualitative dual case study investigated the impact of the Sobrato English Academic Language (SEAL) Model on English learners’ acquisition of academic English language. This study of a model of intervention is based on Critical Race Theory, investigating the use of culturally and linguistically responsive practices and strategies to learn academic English language.

Following a document review, a series of interviews with 11 participants, observations of 5 teachers on 2 separate occasions, and a review of artifacts, 5 key findings were unearthed: SEAL (a) incorporates culturally responsive practices and strategies in its model design to give teachers tools to create a cultural context to serve as a bridge to learning academic English language; (b) integrates research-based strategies to teach English learners academic English language; (c) utilizes student-to-student discourse to promote oral production of academic English language; (d) utilizes a unit design involving thematic planning to expand precise language, teach grammatical forms, and explanations in academic contexts; and (e) makes use of a variety of strategies, allowing for the reprocessing of academic English language.

Considering these findings, the SEAL Model makes 3 significant contributions to the field of education in academic English language learning: (a) SEAL incorporates a professional development structure, providing a variety of resources shaping the perception that students’ culture, language, and identity are an asset rather than a deficiency; (b) SEAL teachers design units based on science and social studies content to frame the context of language learning where students engage in collaborative opportunities to learn academic English language within the content while practicing language tasks; and (c) SEAL has explicitly identified foundational research and strategies as best practices, providing professional development on these strategies with all levels within school districts.

Four recommendations were made due to the study’s findings: (a) the need for culturally and linguistically responsive awareness for parents, (b) models for extending learning of strategies, (c) opportunities for the processing of unit concepts and strategies, along with time to prepare teaching materials, and (d) the implementation of local and SEAL universal assessments.

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