Four participating organizations in California, Texas, and Maryland are implementing projects that aim to improve the development of the English language and literacy of immigrant students, improve their mastery of academic content and skills, and improve their access to postsecondary opportunities, including preparation for higher education and the workforce. The participating organizations are California Tomorrow; the Center for Language Minority Education and Research at California State University, Long Beach; the Intercultural Development Research Association; and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
During the first two years of the program, the participating organizations have worked with middle school, high school, and district personnel to create structures and services that will endure long after the agents of change have left the scene. The first step has been to create an awareness in teachers and administrators that immigrant students have unique needs that require special attention in the schools. Students also need to become more aware--they must broaden their knowledge of postsecondary opportunities and learn of ways to prepare themselves for further education and the workforce. Community organizations must be informed and educated so that they become willing to work with schools and contribute to improvements in immigrant education.
While creating greater awareness, it is essential to establish infrastructures that will plan, carry out, and evaluate activities that address concerns for immigrant education on an ongoing basis. Core groups must be created, consisting of school and district staff committed to making a difference in the quality of education for immigrant students. The structure and mandate of these groups will vary according to local needs and resources, but in every case the groups serve to drive reform and maintain the focus on students.
Parents must form a part of the infrastructure as well. Parent centers in schools, informal parent meetings in neighborhoods, direct communication with parents in their languages, and other effective practices must be put in place so that parents, students, and teachers come together to develop and carry out programs for students' benefit. In these ways, parents are more likely to become a part of the life of the school and feel that they can make a difference, and teachers and administrators become more aware of the parents' realities.
Another essential component of infrastructure is partnerships among schools, colleges, and universities. Closer relationships among these institutions can open up more postsecondary opportunities for students. University faculty can provide professional development for educators in middle schools and high schools. Secondary schools, in turn, can share with vocational and technical programs their expertise in providing quality instruction for English language learners. Partnerships with community organizations are valuable as well. They can facilitate mentoring relationships for students and help to connect immigrant families with needed social services.
Finally, these structures and practices must become institutionalized. This can come about in a number of ways. Key school and district personnel become advocates for better education for immigrant students. New native language or sheltered English content courses, bearing credit for graduation, are added to the schedule. Curriculum frameworks are developed that take into account the needs of English learners and underschooled students. When such things happen, it becomes clear that needs are being recognized and changes are becoming established as permanent features in the services available to immigrant students.
For more information on the Program in Immigrant Education, contact Joy Peyton at CAL (email@example.com).
The foreign language initiative aims to enhance foreign language instruction in the region and the islands (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Vermont) by encouraging a long sequence of instruction (kindergarten through grade 12) and providing resources and training for those interested in foreign language issues. The initiative will identify model programs in the region, disseminate information and resources on early language learning through a Web site, and conduct workshops.
An applied research project will look at how English language learners can be included when schools begin to implement their new standards-based curricula. Researchers will work with teacher teams from bilingual education, English as a second language, and English language arts, providing support where necessary and documenting teachers' work. This project responds to a need for ways to translate content area standards into instructional practice that supports high levels of learning for all students.
A third effort will survey the literature on using portfolios for assessment with English language learners and investigate how schools are using portfolios for program placement and exit, grade level promotion, and other purposes. Documents produced by this effort will be tailored for use by principals, program administrators, and teachers.
The LAB is one of ten regional educational laboratories funded by the U.S. Department of Education. For further information on CAL's LAB activities, contact Carolyn Temple Adger at CAL (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Under a three-year contract, CAL will continue to offer training workshops in oral proficiency assessment and develop a multimedia self-instructional program in assessing oral proficiency. CAL will also maintain and update its foreign language test database on the World Wide Web. As a new, user-friendly service, CAL will put on the World Wide Web in a self-accessible format, selected materials from its extensive collection of resources for the teaching and learning of the less commonly taught languages.
CREDE's research will identify and develop effective educational approaches for linguistic and cultural minority students, as well as those placed at risk by factors of race, poverty, and geographic location. The center will operate over 30 projects under five programmatic strands to explore:
Two ERIC/CLL publications contain ideas for using the Internet and Web as resources for teaching and studying foreign languages. The September issue of the ERIC/CLL News Bulletin features an article by Michael Finnemann of Augustana College providing a brief description of the Web and detailing its potential application as a teacher- and student-centered medium for language learning. The article offers ideas for using the Web as a source of authentic materials; cultural information; grammar and vocabulary practice; and listening, conversation, and reading exercises. A number of excellent up-to-date Web addresses (URLs) are noted in the article. A 1994 ERIC Digest, Internet for Language Teachers, presents an overview of electronic mail projects, electronic journals, and listservs of interest to language teachers. The newsletter and digest may be downloaded from ERIC/CLL's Web site and are also available in print by contacting ERIC/CLL at the Center for Applied Linguistics.
The ERIC/CLL site also offers easy access to the award-winning AskERIC service for questions related to other education topics. Web sites for other clearinghouses in the ERIC system may be reached from the AskERIC site. Interested users can conduct searches of the ERIC database from this point as well.
ACCESS ERIC, the outreach and dissemination component of the ERIC system, operates a Web site with search capability that also links to other clearinghouses. One of their publications, Getting Online: A Friendly Guide for Teachers, Students, and Parents, is an excellent introduction to understanding and negotiating the World Wide Web to take advantage of the many Internet resources available.
The ERIC database grows through contributions from educators. If you have written any papers or reports on using Internet for language teaching--or any documents related to language education or linguistics--ERIC/CLL would be happy to consider them for inclusion in the database. Send a clear, legible copy to ERIC/CLL at CAL.
ERIC is pleased to offer any assistance you need to understand and take advantage of the Internet. Simply ask ERIC!
To make this type of training more widely available, CAL has developed the self-instructional SOPI Rater Training Kit. By working through the kit on their own or in small groups, teachers gain a hands-on understanding of proficiency concepts and become familiar with the goals of proficiency-oriented testing and teaching. In addition, they learn the theories and techniques behind the administration and scoring of the SOPI and become competent to administer and score the test at their own institution. Upon successful completion of a separate test of their rating ability, trainees can also receive a Certificate of Achievement from CAL.
Funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, the professionally developed kits have been extensively field-tested across the country. Each kit consists of four parts: a rater training manual, three training tapes, a workbook, and a reference guide for scoring. The kit also includes a complete copy of one SOPI. Rater training kits are available in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Chinese, and are being developed for Arabic and Russian. For further information, contact Laurel Winston.
Wiley is joint professor of education and applied linguistics at California State University, Long Beach. His research and teaching are concerned with educational linguistics, literacy, bilingual and multicultural education, and language policy.
Literacy and Language Diversity in the United States ($19.95) will be available Fall 1996 from Delta Systems Co., Inc. (1-800-323-8270).
Development of the database was made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The database is constantly updated by staff at the Center for Applied Linguistics, with support from the National Capital Language Resource Center, which is cooperatively administered by Georgetown University, George Washington University, and CAL. Of particular interest are tests developed outside the United States that might be suitable for a North American audience.
To find out more about the database or to add information on appropriate language tests, contact Dorry M. Kenyon at CAL (email@example.com).
The Tucker Summer Fellow for 1996 was Paula Wolfe, a doctoral candidate in the College of Education at Arizona State University, where she also serves as Assistant to the Editor of the TESOL Journal.
Ms. Wolfe's research interests include a broad range of topics in the area of language and education. While she was at CAL she drafted two papers based on her earlier research. One studies the differing gender distribution of linguistic interaction by English language learners in high school classrooms. The second looks at discourse in traditional (teacher-directed, top-down curriculum) and holistic classrooms (student-directed, bottom-up curriculum) and how they affect linguistic production and learning in English as a second language.
The G. Richard Tucker Summer Fellowship is offered each year to candidates for a master's or doctoral degree in any field that is concerned with the study of language.
The first recipient of the Ferguson Fellowship is Barbara Horvath, a professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Sydney from 1976 to 1993. Dr. Horvath has a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University and is the author of many articles, chapters, and books, including Variation in Australian English: The Sociolects of Sydney and Sociolinguistic Profiles: A Handbook. She was president of the Australian Linguistic Society (1988-90) and has been editor of the Australian Journal of Linguistics since 1991. This is her second visit to CAL: she was an affiliated scholar in the summer and fall of 1991, when she was on sabbatical.
Retired from teaching, Dr. Horvath continues to be active in research, writing, and consulting. She will spend approximately five months at CAL, continuing her sociolinguistic research on variation in Australian English and beginning work on a sociolinguistics textbook. In October she will present a paper on l -vocalization in Australian English at the annual NWAVE meeting.
During her residency at CAL, she will work with CAL staff and projects in an advisory capacity, particularly regarding the Australian experience in language policy, education of diverse populations, and English language teaching.