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Claude Goldenberg Stanford University Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does—and Does Not—Say.

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Presentation on theme: "Claude Goldenberg Stanford University Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does—and Does Not—Say."— Presentation transcript:

1 Claude Goldenberg Stanford University Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does—and Does Not—Say

2 2 Setting the stage… ELLs--large and diverse population(s) Almost everything about educating ELLs is controversial ELLs have language and academic needs There are many uncertainties and controversies about effective approaches, but research is growing 4

3 3 Who are “English learners”? Students who are not sufficiently proficient in English to be able to benefit adequately from mainstream instruction 7

4 4 Achievement of ELLs Tend to lag behind in academic achievement, on virtually any measure: Standardized tests, NAEP, grades, graduation rates, post HS participation. Students of Mexican and Cent. Amer. descent -- by far the largest EL group--esp. at risk

5 5 California’s ELLs, by language 10

6 6 The ELL research base

7 7 Historically, ELL research has been… Dominated by language of instruction debate Strongly ideological Surprisingly sparse on important topics (e.g., accelerating ELD) Portions have been insufficiently attentive to student outcomes Difficult to use as basis for practice

8 8 Research base is changing Research consensus on some issues More research is looking at student outcomes Language of instruction not as dominant Similarities and differences in effective practices for ELLs & non-ELLs

9 9 Key findings from recent research syntheses 1. Components of effective instruction generally apply to English learners, however…. 2. Modifications or enhancements are necessary, primarily due to language limitations. 3. ELD should be taught explicitly, but no single model or approach is sufficient. 4. Teaching children to read in L1 promotes reading achievement in English (L2).

10 10 Key findings from recent research syntheses 1. Components of effective instruction generally apply to English learners… 2. Modifications or enhancements are necessary, primarily due to language limitations. 3. ELD should be taught explicitly, but no single model or approach is sufficient. 4. Teaching children to read in L1 promotes reading achievement in English (L2).

11 11 What works for instruction in L1 generally works for instruction in L2 * clear goals and objectives * appropriate and challenging material * well-designed instruction and instructional routines * clear input and modeling * active engagement and participation * informative feedback * application of new learning * practice and periodic review * interaction with other students * frequent assessments, with re-teaching as needed.

12 12 phonemic awareness phonics oral reading fluency (mixed results) vocabulary reading comprehension strategies (weakest effects) writing In L2 literacy instruction, results are generally--but not entirely--consistent with findings for L1 reading:

13 13 Key findings from recent research syntheses 1. Components of effective instruction generally apply to English learners …. however…. 2. Modifications or enhancements are necessary, primarily due to language limitations. 3. ELD should be taught explicitly, but no single model or approach is sufficient. 4. Teaching children to read in L1 promotes reading achievement in English (L2).

14 14 Instruction aimed at comprehension tends to be less effective for ELLs*. WHY? ELLs face the double challenge of learning academic content and the language of instruction simultaneously * National Literacy Panel

15 15 One implication is that ELD must be a priority. But as students acquire ELD skills, they must also have access to comprehensible, meaningful instruction… how? A) primary language instruction B) instructional modifications or adjustments, aka “sheltered” instruction

16 16 “Sheltering” strategies target language AND content skills (e.g., SIOP) tasks must be very clear redundant information, e.g. gestures, visual cues pictures, demonstrations, “realia” graphic organizers (tables, webs, Venn diagrams) material with familiar content (cultural or background knowledge can influence comprehension) strategic use of L1 (e.g., cognates, other L1 support) extra practice and time differentiate instruction by language proficiency

17 17 Research on sheltered strategies’ effects on EL achievement SIOP--1 published study showing small effect Large literature on graphic organizers for all… can they compensate for limited English? Using familiar content promotes comprehension Positive evidence for L1 support (e.g., cognates) Redundant cues, pictures, “realia,” extra time??? Can sheltered instruction help ELLs “keep up” with non ELLs?

18 18 Key findings from recent research syntheses 1. Components of effective instruction generally apply to English learners …. however…. 2. Modifications or enhancements are necessary, primarily due to language limitations. 3. ELD should be taught explicitly, but no single model or approach is sufficient. 4. Teaching children to read in L1 promotes reading achievement in English (L2).

19 19 English language development (ELD) Wide range of perspectives, theories Different emphases, issues: Communication vs. formal aspects of language Comprehensible input vs. output Focus on language vs. focus on content Provide feedback vs. don’t provide feedback Little data on what type of ELD instruction is most beneficial for ELLs

20 20 Best evidence to date suggests*: ELD should be taught explicitly during an ELD period Most effective approach probably incorporates several perspectives: “form focused” and “communicative” approaches; comprehensible input and output; feedback used strategically Carefully structured interactions among students *Saunders & Goldenberg, 2010, CDE volume

21 21 Key findings from recent research syntheses 1. Components of effective instruction generally apply to English learners …. however…. 2. Modifications or enhancements are necessary, primarily due to language limitations. 3. ELD should be taught explicitly, but no single model or approach is sufficient. 4. Teaching children to read in L1 promotes reading achievement in English (L2).

22 22 Effects of primary language of instruction L1 (e.g., Spanish) reading instruction is beneficial for L2 (e.g., English) literacy (5 meta-analyses). Effect size approximately.3-.4 (small to moderate; cf phonics instruction) Learning to read in L1 and L2 simultaneously Inconclusive data on length of time for L1 instruction 2way instruction very promising (benefits of bilingualism/biliteracy--beyond benefits for L2)

23 23 Transfer of literacy skills from first to second language What is transfer? (positive and negative) Bottom line: Knowing academic skills in one language helps you learn academic skills in another

24 24 L1 in “English immersion” Some data on effectiveness L1 “support” rather than L1 instruction-- * cognates * brief L1 explanations * preview-review * teach strategies in L1

25 25 Policy implications and questions Best evidence and state policy--Are they aligned? Where are they not? Teacher preparation--Do we know enough to specify what teachers should know/be able to do? Do CLAD/BCLAD make teachers more effective? Time to learn, graduate--Can we expect ELLs to cover the same academic ground as non ELLs in the same amount of time?

26 26 Challenges and directions for the future Ideology--language (for/against L1 use in school); socio-cultural-political issues (role of culture; social status; history of discrimination). Complexity--curriculum and instruction overlaid with language, culture, and socio-political dimensions. Opportunities--rather than exclusively liabilities and challenges.


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