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Speakers of two dialects may share cognitive advantage with speakers of two languages
Speakers of two dialects may share cognitive advantage with speakers of two languages
The new findings on bi-dialectalism are published in the journal Cognition, following a study undertaken by researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Cyprus, and the Cyprus University of Technology. Although a topic of continuing ...
Classroom diversity: English learners have new ways to succeed in school
Classroom diversity: English learners have new ways to succeed in school
Iman Ali wants to fix broken bones. It's a pretty specific career objective for the 16-year-old Faribault High School student, but it makes more sense when she explains what motivated the ambition. "In Ethiopia, I saw a lot of people who cut (off) thei...
7 digital resources for students learning English or any other language
7 digital resources for students learning English or any other language
In classrooms all across the country, old-fashioned textbooks and stodgy lesson plans are sucking the life out of language learning. These classes leave so many learners apathetic or frustrated as they recite scripted dialog or memorize an endless lita...
Study: Science curriculum for English language learners shows promise
Study: Science curriculum for English language learners shows promise
A study from researchers at New York University found that a curriculum developed for English language learners in Florida boosted their science test scores. The study evaluated the effects of Promoting Science Among English language learners, a scienc...
Supporting dual language learners in early learning settings
Supporting dual language learners in early learning settings
The White House is announcing a new Federal policy statement from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education on better supporting our country's youngest dual language learners in early childhood programs. The Obama administration w...
English has taken over academia: but the real culprit is not linguistic
English has taken over academia: but the real culprit is not linguistic
Not only was April 23 the anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, but the UN has chosen it as UN English Language Day in tribute to the Bard. If growth in the number of speakers is a measure of success, then the English language certainly deserves ...
Refugees in Pennsylvania district denied access to adequate education, lawsuit argues
Refugees in Pennsylvania district denied access to adequate education, lawsuit argues
The American Civil Liberties Union and Education Law Center have filed a lawsuit against the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, schools, claiming the district barred English language learner refugee students from attending traditional high schools because of the...
Latinos and early education: New reports take stock of existing research
Latinos and early education: New reports take stock of existing research
We talk often about how early childhood education from birth to age eight is critical for setting a strong foundation for children's educational outcomes. If we get ECE right - ensuring equity in access and quality - we can stop academic achievement ga...
Teachers' biggest challenge: The bi-illiterate student
Teachers' biggest challenge: The bi-illiterate student
I was a first-year teacher, in over my head. With no formal training - and little preparation of any kind - I stepped into a classroom at a school for juvenile offenders. Students didn't choose to come to my class. The state of Colorado mandated they b...
How do you teach English to Americans?
How do you teach English to Americans?
Jose Perez never really worried about why his children had to repeat English language classes year after year. After all, they were born in California. Perez assumed the reason for the added instruction was that he and his wife have a rule that everyon...
Brain waves predict speed of second language learning
Brain waves predict speed of second language learning
The study of how we differ in our ability to learn a second language is useful not only for understanding bilingualism, but also for researching the processes of learning and neural plasticity - how well the brain changes and adapts through life. In th...
Reclassifying English language learners: What's the effect on Wisconsin high schoolers?
Reclassifying English language learners: What's the effect on Wisconsin high schoolers?
Those watching election results recently know voter demographics, and how they've changed over time, play a major role during primary campaign season. These national demographic trends not only influence presidential campaigns but also affect schools a...
Report: States that learning improves in countries that have invested in bilingual programs
Report: States that learning improves in countries that have invested in bilingual programs
A new policy paper by the United Nations has recommended the use of the mother tongue during teaching for at least six years of early learning. The report says that teaching a language "other than one's own language," negatively impacts a child's learn...
It boggles the mind: A puzzling word game
It boggles the mind: A puzzling word game
When I was a child, two of my favorite games were Spill and Spell and Perquackey, simply constructed language games whose contemporary spinoff is Boggle. Years later, I remembered those games when I was developing a multipart activity to teach parts of...
6 new transparency requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act
6 new transparency requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act
If you haven't read through all 1,000-plus pages of the brand new Every Student Succeeds Act, you may have missed a key theme: The new law includes a host of new transparency requirements that will give the feds, states, districts, educators, advocates...
Why getting a student's name right is important for all school staff
Why getting a student's name right is important for all school staff
Researchers have explored how mispronouncing a students' name can affect a child's experience in school. Now, the research arm of the federal Education Department says that getting a students' name right is essential to ensure they're getting the servi...
Duke student project aims to improve K-12 Latino students' English skills
Duke student project aims to improve K-12 Latino students' English skills
Led by their professors, a team of undergraduate students at Duke University is working on a project designed to enhance professional development for North Carolina elementary school teachers whose students lack essential English language skills. The p...
Can resting brain predict language learning ability?
Can resting brain predict language learning ability?
A new study in the journal Brain and Language explores the rate at which adults learn a new language through a novel approach: studying resting-state brain activity of study participants. The study, organized by scientists at the University of Washingt...
Switching languages mid-conversation does not impair performance
Switching languages mid-conversation does not impair performance
New research finds that bilingual speakers can switching between languages mid-sentence without a lag — if they switch at the right time. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign investigators believe consistent use of a language for certain wo...
The superior social skills of bilinguals
The superior social skills of bilinguals
Being bilingual has some obvious advantages. Learning more than one language enables new conversations and new experiences. But in recent years, psychology researchers have demonstrated some less obvious advantages of bilingualism, too. For instance, b...
Being bilingual changes the architecture of your brain
Being bilingual changes the architecture of your brain
I'd been back from studying abroad in Mexico City for a couple of days when I asked my dad, "Can I use the lavadora?" "The what?" He didn't speak Spanish. I knew that, of course. I didn't even really speak Spanish. I had barely been able to hold a conv...
Gains in reading for Hispanic students overshadowed by achievement gap
Gains in reading for Hispanic students overshadowed by achievement gap
Latino students have made impressive academic gains over the past decade, but almost a quarter are still not proficient in reading – and in some states, they're more than three grades behind their peers. Those are just some of the findings in a n...
There's even more scientific proof bilingual kids are smarter
There's even more scientific proof bilingual kids are smarter
We've long known that bilingual kids are smarter than those of us who grew up speaking one language. But a new study shows that children as young as 11 months are capable of learning two languages, and moreover, those who do grow up multilingual show m...
Intensive English programs: The importance of student experience
Intensive English programs: The importance of student experience
In a world that increasingly breaks down borders and hosts more than 7,000 languages, the benefits of bilingualism are wide-reaching and invaluable. While various studies have shown that children find it easier to acquire a second language, it's never ...
Can Texas figure out how to teach English to immigrant children?
Can Texas figure out how to teach English to immigrant children?
Out of all the cities in Texas, this would seemingly have been the one where schools knew how to help Spanish-speaking students learn. El Paso is progressive and welcoming, and is more than 80 percent Latino. Its close ties with Ciudad Juarez, just acr...
ELLs, schools to learn from Stanford study
ELLs, schools to learn from Stanford study
A recent study by Stanford University researchers about English language learners is simply illuminating. It behooves Salinas-area educators, parents and stakeholders in the public schools to check it out. Why? Because it focuses on six schools that ar...
Study examines efforts to improve Head Start access for refugee children
Study examines efforts to improve Head Start access for refugee children
The number of newly arrived refugee children enrolled in early childhood education programs surged in two cities where Head Start officials and resettlement agencies worked together to help families adjust to their new communities. A report from the Wa...
Pattern learning key to children's language development
Pattern learning key to children's language development
A new study reveals children's language development is a learnt skill and is intricately linked to their ability to recognize patterns in their environment. Conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney and Australian National University, the ...
The power of student-led conferences
The power of student-led conferences
Many in the education world believe today's parent-teacher conferences have shifted away from their purpose, with parents and students "ganging up" on the teachers. If that is an accurate depiction of how things are at your school, then you need to tak...
Attentive listening: An overlooked component of academic interaction
Attentive listening: An overlooked component of academic interaction
As U.S. K-12 classrooms move to incorporate 21st Century skills to prepare students for increasingly complex learning, life, and work environments, justifiable emphasis has been placed on effective communication and collaboration with others to accompl...
The secret weapon for any English or language teacher's data arsenal
The secret weapon for any English or language teacher's data arsenal
Data is such an integral part of education, and can be especially helpful to teachers with English Language Learners — which in this day and age, really means any teacher, anywhere. As the number of ELL's increase in classrooms across the country...
Why do languages have different sounds for the same animals?
Why do languages have different sounds for the same animals?
If you grew up in an English-speaking country, you likely learned at a young age that cats say "meow," dogs say "woof," and roosters say "cock-a-doodle-doo." But if you'd grown up in Japan, you would've learned entirely different words for these sounds...
Florida Senate approves making coding a foreign language
Florida Senate approves making coding a foreign language
Florida senators approved a bill allowing high school students to take computer coding classes in place of foreign language requirements. The bill (SB 468), introduced by Sen. Jeremy Ring's, D-Parkland, won by a 35-5 vote. It will take effect during th...
A guide for leaders who want to use new funding flexibility in ESSA
A guide for leaders who want to use new funding flexibility in ESSA
There's a little noticed provision in the Every Student Succeeds Act that could help states and districts use federal funding to expand or try out academic services for individual kids — including tutoring, credit recovery, expanded access to rig...
Bilingual education in NYC set for big expansion
Bilingual education in NYC set for big expansion
Big Apple public schools are going to become a bit more of a melting pot — at least linguistically. Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina will unveil a plan Monday to open 38 bilingual programs at city schools starting in September, the Daily News has...
Navigating a sea of words: An assessment of academic conversation
Navigating a sea of words: An assessment of academic conversation
The use of structured academic conversation in the classroom is becoming more sophisticated. However, many teachers are either still unsure about how to assess the quality of the conversations. How do we know the students are talking about germane cont...
How children's brains develop to make them right or left handed
How children's brains develop to make them right or left handed
As children grow older, they tend to favor one hand over the other for certain tasks, particularly for writing or drawing. A child's "handedness" is generally categorized as right, left or mixed, and tends to settle around the same time they acquire la...
Refugees around the world can now take online classes for free
Refugees around the world can now take online classes for free
Of the myriad troubles that come with being displaced from one's home country, losing educational credentials may seem small. But it isn't. Refugees who resettle in other countries often find themselves unable to continue on their previous career path ...
The reason you discriminate against foreign accents starts with what they do to your brain
The reason you discriminate against foreign accents starts with what they do to your brain
People around the world are hearing more foreign accents than at any time in human history, as more people move around than ever before. In 2013, an estimated 232 million people lived outside the country they're from, seeking refuge or employment. In t...
Gifted, but still learning English, many bright students get overlooked
Gifted, but still learning English, many bright students get overlooked
Of the 3 million students identified as gifted in the U.S., English language learners are by far the most underrepresented. And nobody knows that better than 17-year-old Alejandra Galindo. "It's just kind of hard to not see people who look like me in m...
Experts: Promoting growth mindset means checking biases at the door
Experts: Promoting growth mindset means checking biases at the door
The idea of growth vs. fixed mindsets is one that has gained a lot of traction in modern debates around how to meet the needs of students. Most herald the idea of the growth mindset as being the proper way to frame educational conversations. The idea i...
What's it like to attend a multilingual high school?
What's it like to attend a multilingual high school?
At Pennsylvania's Upper Darby High School in suburban Philadelphia, more than 15 languages are spoken in a student body of nearly 4,000. To help support such a diverse array of English language learners, the school created a peer tutoring program. As p...
Refugee students' stories look to bridge cultural gap
Refugee students' stories look to bridge cultural gap
Some Fargo high school students left their parents not knowing if they will see them again and hid under the bed as gunshots rang through their villages. They traveled thousands of miles to escape violence but thought instead they'd freeze to death. Th...
Nebraska schools increase bilingual education opportunities
Nebraska schools increase bilingual education opportunities
Diverse and evolving Nebraska communities are driving the need for more capable teachers in world language and bilingual education. That's why schools in Omaha, Fremont and Lexington have adopted dual-language programs to maintain academic standards fo...
Robots help Valley students learn English
Robots help Valley students learn English
A teacher has come up with an innovative way of teaching her students math, science and English all at the same time. Thelma Whaling has been teaching fourth grade at Evergreen Elementary for seven years. A couple of years ago, she started teaching Eng...
Helping English learners meet the Common Core's speaking and listening standards
Helping English learners meet the Common Core's speaking and listening standards
As most educators know, the Common Core State Standards provide little guidance for how teachers can assist their English language learner students to meet them. To fill the gap, here's a short summary of the speaking and listening standards, along wit...
20 strategies for motivating reluctant learners
20 strategies for motivating reluctant learners
Kathy Perez has decades of experience as a classroom educator, with training in special education and teaching English language learners. She also has a dynamic style. Sitting through her workshop presentation with like being a student in her classroom...
Program highlights library services for English language learners
Program highlights library services for English language learners
Participants in the English language learners program at Deerfield Public School District 109 and their families recently got a taste of what the Deerfield Public Library has to offer as part of the district's second annual ELL Family Night. The ELL pr...
Closing the 30 million word gap
Closing the 30 million word gap
Mention Napa County, Calif., and what comes to mind for most people are rows of sun-splashed grapes — and well-tanned couples sipping wine under the shade of a vine-covered pergola. But Napa has its share of poverty, too. More than half of the st...
How can teachers meet the needs of unaccompanied minors who have suffered 'complex trauma?'
How can teachers meet the needs of unaccompanied minors who have suffered 'complex trauma?'
About 30 Montgomery County Public Schools educators are sitting in a circle. Most of them teach English as a second language, or ESOL. Today it's their turn to learn. The lesson is about understanding what it's like to be a student who fled Central Ame...
Rise in English proficiency among US Hispanics is driven by the young
Rise in English proficiency among US Hispanics is driven by the young
English proficiency among U.S. Latinos has risen over the past 14 years, an increase almost entirely due to the growing share of younger Hispanics born in the U.S., according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. When asked about...
Hiding grammar lessons in content material
Hiding grammar lessons in content material
A variety of activities will enhance language acquisition — including articles, student presentations, discussions, role plays, field trips and demonstrations. In a content-based approach, grammar still needs to be taught since the need will aris...
Succeeding at this high school means juggling multiple languages
Succeeding at this high school means juggling multiple languages
Muath Farea is at a desk by himself, studying for his World History final. He's writing in English — but that's not his first language. So, sometimes, his teacher helps him. "Miss, what mean this word?" Muath asks. "I still not understand." "The ...
Refugee children's academic outcomes similar to non-refugee peers despite learning challenges
Refugee children's academic outcomes similar to non-refugee peers despite learning challenges
Refugee children had similar academic success as other children if adequately supported, despite having more behavioral and emotional problems overall, a comprehensive review has found. Emotional and behavioral issues were most prevalent in refugee chi...
Study: Some words sound farther away than others
Study: Some words sound farther away than others
Words have meanings beyond those found in the dictionary. The very sounds of the syllables that form everyday words carry symbolic meaning. As researchers at the University of Toronto recently discovered, some words sound and feel "farther away" than o...
Checkbox lands kids in ELL class
Checkbox lands kids in ELL class
Marisol Negron wasn't sure what to make of the check box on her son's Boston Public Schools student enrollment form. The simple question, "Is any language other than English spoken at home?" had any number of implications. Would it improve her then-5-y...
Vocabulary doesn't have to be a bore
Vocabulary doesn't have to be a bore
Do your students cringe when you say, "We have new vocabulary terms to learn"? These students may recall the previous times they have copied words over and over again or looked up exhaustive lists of words that lack a connection to one another. Our lea...
Brainy black and Hispanic students might benefit most from 'honors' classrooms
Brainy black and Hispanic students might benefit most from 'honors' classrooms
Tracking, the practice of putting a small group of higher achieving students into separate advanced or honors classes, isn't popular with progressive educators. Previous research has pointed out that it exacerbates inequality in our schools because hig...
The rare district that recognizes gifted Latino students
The rare district that recognizes gifted Latino students
Imagine you're back in school, bored to death, with limited academic options. Because you're learning English, everybody assumes you're not ready for more challenging work. What they don't realize is that you're gifted. Researchers say this happens to ...
Bilingual baby brains show increased activity in executive function regions
Bilingual baby brains show increased activity in executive function regions
Many brain studies show that bilingual adults have more activity in areas associated with executive function, a set of mental abilities that includes problem-solving, shifting attention and other desirable cognitive traits. Now new findings reveal that...