Rigorous and Meaningful Science for English Learners: Urban Ecology and Transdisciplinary Instruction
Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D; Gisela OBrien, Ph.D.; Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; and Eric G. Strauss, Ph.D.
This article describes efforts undertaken by two centers at Loyola Marymount University—the Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL) and the Center for Urban Resilience (CURes)—in collaboration with five southern California school districts to develop and implement the Urban Ecology for English Learners Project. This project aligns with the 2018 NASEM report call to action to (1) create contexts for systems- and classroom-level supports that recognizes assets that English Learners contribute to the classroom and, and (2) increase rigorous science instruction for English Learners through the provision of targeted program models, curriculum, and instruction. The article presents project highlights, professional learning approaches, elements of the interdisciplinary, standards-based Urban Ecology curricular modules, and project evaluation results about ELs’ outcomes and teachers’ knowledge and skills in delivering high-quality STEM education for ELs. The authors list various implications for teacher professional development on interdisciplinary instruction including university partnerships.
Beyond the Seal of Biliteracy: The Development of a Bilingual Counseling Proficiency at the University Level
Fernando Estrada, Ph.D.; Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; Meghan Paynter, M.A.; and Roberto Ruiz, M.A.
In this article, the authors propose that California’s Seal of Biliteracy for high school seniors can serve as an exemplar to advocate for the continued development of bilingual skills in university, graduate-level students—and counseling students in particular. Citing literature that points to the need for linguistic diversity among counselors in school and community agencies, the authors describe the efforts taken by the Counseling Program in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in partnership with LMU’s Center for Equity for English Learners to address the need. Their pilot of a Certificate of Bilingual Counseling in Fieldwork (CBC-F) involved the development and testing of proficiency rubrics that adhered to current standards for teaching foreign languages and simultaneously measured professional competencies in counseling. Results of the CBC-F pilot with five female Latina students in the counseling program at LMU in the spring of 2017 appeared promising and were described in detail. These findings have implications for preparing and certifying professionals in other fields with linguistic and cultural competencies in response to current demographic shifts.
Gisela O’ Brien, Ph.D.; Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; and Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D.
In this article the authors explore project-based learning (PBL) as an avenue for meeting the needs of English learners against the backdrop of both the 2010 California Common Core State Standards and the 2012 English Language Development Standards. They begin with a definition and brief history of PBL. The authors then propose and expanded version of PBL that considers the unique linguistic needs of ELs and conclude with two promising examples from two California school districts.
Norman C. Gold, Ed.D.; Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; Martha Hernández, M.Ed.; and Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, M.Ed.
This article focuses on the assessment needs that are unique to English learners (ELs) and provides a comprehensive set of recommendations regarding their equitable and fair assessment. Specific recommendations are provided for when to assess ELs, accommodations for ELs, and the budget and infrastructure that necessary to support these accommodations. The authors expect that these recommendations resonate with state leaders and policymakers as the state of California transitions to a new state assessment system.
Dialogic Reading and the Development of Transitional Kindergarten Teachers’ Expertise with Dual Language Learners
Carola Matera, Ph.D.; Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; and Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D.
This article presents highlights of professional development efforts for teachers in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classrooms occurring throughout the state and through a collaborative effort by researchers from the Center for Equity for English Learners (CEEL) at Loyola Marymount University. The article begins by identifying the various statewide efforts for professional development for TK teachers, followed by a brief review of the literature on early literacy development for diverse learners. It ends with a description of a partnership between CEEL and the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide professional development both in person and online to TK teachers on implementing Dialogic Reading practices and highlights a few of the participating teachers. This article has implications for expanding the reach of professional development for TK teachers through innovative online modules.
Ana M. Hernández, Ed.D. and Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.
A growing interest in Two-Way Bilingual Immersion (TWBI) programs has led to increased attention to bilingualism, biliteracy, and biculturalism. This article describes the writing development in Spanish and English for 49 kindergarten students in a 50/50 Two-Way Bilingual Immersion program. Over the course of an academic year, the authors collected writing samples to analyze evidence of cross-linguistic resource sharing using a grounded theoretical approach to compare and contrast writing samples to determine patterns of cross-linguistic resource sharing in English and Spanish. The authors identified four patterns: phonological, syntactic, lexical, and metalinguistic awareness. Findings indicated that emergent writers applied similar strategies as older bilingual students, including lexical level code-switching, applied phonological rules of L1 to their respective L2s, and used experiential and content knowledge to write in their second language. These findings have instructional implications for both English Learners and native English speakers as well as for learning from students for program improvement.
Preventing Long-Term English Learners: Results from a Project-Based Differentiated ELD Intervention Program
Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.; Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D.; and Rosalinda Barajas
In this article the authors describe efforts taken by a small southern California school district to develop and implement an innovative, research-based English Language Development program to address a growing concern over long-term English Learners (LTELs) in their district. With support from the Weingart Foundation this afterschool program served 3rd and 7th grade LTELs between 2008–2011 to accelerate language and literacy acquisition and prevent prolonged EL status. Program evaluation results indicated that the intervention was associated with improved English language proficiency as measured by the California English Language Development Test. Results also showed a heightened awareness of effective practices for LTELs among the district’s teachers and high levels of satisfaction among the participants’ parents. This intervention program has implications for classroom-based intervention including project-based learning for LTELs, for targeted professional development, and for further research for the prevention of LTEL status.
The Observation Protocol for Academic Literacies (OPAL); A Tool for Supporting Teachers of English Language Learners
Elvira G. Armas, Ed.D and Magaly Lavadenz, Ph.D.
Schools and school systems are experiencing an instructional support gap that results in limited opportunities for educators to analyze, reflect on and improve research-based practices for ELLs so that outcomes for culturally and linguistically diverse students can change. To address this need, an inter-disciplinary research team from the Center for Equity for English Learners, comprised of educational leaders, teachers, researchers, and content experts developed a classroom observational instrument—the Observation Protocol for Academic Literacies (OPAL). The OPAL is intended for teachers, educational leaders, coaches, and others to conduct focused classroom observations for three potential purposes: research/evaluation, professional development, and coaching. In this article the authors introduce the OPAL’s research base, describe how to use the OPAL tool, and provide examples of the applied use of the OPAL to support professional learning and evaluate a three-year school reform effort.
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