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CAL Activities

Coming in April 2005

In April, the Year of Languages highlights the teaching and learning of languages in settings of higher education, especially programs that promote high degrees of language proficiency. CAL is pleased to host a special presentation examining one facet of this topic, Languages Across the Curriculum: Status and Issues on Languages Across the Curriculum, by Professor Stephen Straight on Thursday, April 7, 2005, from 3:00 - 4:30 pm. Please check back soon to learn more about CAL's work that supports language study in higher education.

March 2005

In March, the Year of Languages focuses on the interrelationships between languages and other subject areas and professional fields. This is an area of focus for CAL year-round. To support its mission of improving communication through better understanding of language and culture, CAL conducts much of its work at the interface of language and other areas. Examples include CAL’s work

  • examining the role that language knowledge plays in the teaching and learning of other subjects in K–12 schools;

  • connecting adult language learning to workplace, health care, and civic knowledge; and

  • connecting language learning to national security needs.

Examining the Role That Language Knowledge Plays in the Teaching and Learning of Other Subjects in K–12 Schools

SIOP modelThe SIOP™ Model
The number of students in the United States learning English as a second language has increased dramatically in recent years. Between the 1992-1993 and 2002-2003 school years, the enrollment of English language learners in K–12 schools grew by 84.37%, while total enrollment grew by only 11.4% (National Center for English Language Acquisition, 2004). Many students learning English have not been succeeding academically. This has resulted in an achievement gap between these students and those who speak English as a native language.

With the goal of improving the academic achievement of English language learners, CAL’s work on the SIOP Model explores the relationship between learning a new language and learning academic content (e.g., science, math, social studies). The model provides a research-based approach to lesson planning and delivery of content course material that attends to the distinct academic needs of students learning English. Teachers using the instructional strategies embodied in the SIOP Model help English learners to develop their academic English skills while learning grade-level content.

The SIOP Model was developed in a 7-year national research project (1996-2003) sponsored by the Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE). Through literature review and with the collaboration of practicing teachers, researchers identified features of instruction present in high-quality sheltered lessons to help them generate the SIOP Model. The model was refined over multiple years of field-testing. In order to better disseminate the SIOP Model to educators, CAL produced two videos and a manual for use in professional development on the model. This work was funded by the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) of the U.S. Department of Education. CAL continues to conduct research and provide professional development services on the SIOP Model to school districts and states.

For more information about CAL’s work on the SIOP Model, visit or contact Deborah Short.

Connecting Adult Language Learning to Workplace, Health Care, and Civic Knowledge

CAELA logo

“Literacy and fluency in English seem to be related to economic self-sufficiency. . . . An analysis of the 2000 U.S. Census data on immigrant earnings revealed a positive relation between earnings and English language ability” (Burt, 2003).

CAL’s work on English as a second language (ESL) and literacy instruction for adults has focused on workplace programs that synthesize language learning and development of workplace-specific knowledge. The Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA) (and before CAELA, the National Center for ESL Literacy Education, or NCLE, 1989-2004), housed at CAL, supports workplace programming by collecting, publishing, and disseminating research-based resources on effective practices and providing training and technical assistance to ESL professionals.

Through these centers, CAL has also collected and made available publications on health literacy, a field concerned with defining and developing language knowledge related to basic health care. The field of health literacy is shaped by research findings that indicate a correlation between low literacy and poor health in adults. CAL’s resource collection on health literacy includes an issue brief, an annotated bibliography, and a selection of picture stories for use in developing the health literacy of English language learners.

For more information about CAL’s efforts in workplace programming and health literacy for adult learners see the CAELA Web site or contact Miriam Burt.

Connecting Language Learning to National Security Needs

EHLS (English for Heritage Language Speakers)

Sectors of the U.S. government responsible for national security have expressed an urgent need for individuals with high levels of proficiency in both English and any of several critical languages (Government Accounting Office, 2002). Most attempts to address this need have focused on teaching foreign languages to native English speakers. The National Security Education Program (NSEP) has recently contracted with CAL to approach the problem from another angle. CAL is developing a framework for the EHLS scholarship program that will aim to enroll native speakers of the languages identified as critical and help them develop their English proficiency to high degrees. The framework will include rationale, community outreach strategies, and plans for curriculum development.

For more information on CAL’s EHLS project, contact Grace Burkart.


Burt, M. (2003). Issues in improving immigrant workers’ English language skills. Washington, DC: National Center for ESL Literacy Education. Retrieved February 22, 2005, from

General Accounting Office. (2002). Foreign languages: Human capital approach needed to correct staffing and proficiency shortfalls (GAO-02-375). Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved November 12, 2004, from

National Center for English Language Acquisition. (2004). Poster: The growing numbers of LEP students, 2002-2003. Retrieved December 12, 2004, from

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Additional resources on CAL’s work connecting language to other areas

Examining the roles that language knowledge plays in teaching and learning of other subjects in K–12 schools
Why Reading is Hard

What's Different About Teaching Reading

What Teachers Need to Know

Making Content Comprehensible

Connecting adult language learning to workplace, health care, and civic knowledge
Issues in Improving Immigrant Workers' English Language Skills

English That Works: Preparing Adult English Language Learners for Success in the Workforce and Community

Connecting language learning to national security needs
Attaining High Levels of Proficiency: Challenges for Foreign Language Education in the United States



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