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Immigrant Students in Secondary School: Creating Structures That Promote Achievement

Joy Kreeft Peyton and Carolyn Temple Adger, Guest Editors 4

Creating and Sustaining Change for Immigrant Learners in Secondary Schools
Supporting ESL students success in content area courses requires a broad base of participants and
changes that are institutionalized at every level in the school.
Margaret A. Dwyer 6
Professional Development From the Inside Out
A teacher-driven, teacher-defined professional development effort enables a school to better meet the
needs of immigrant students.
Ann Jaramillo 12
Literature-Based ESL for Secondary School Students
Historical fiction and multicultural novels enhance secondary students language skills and allow them
to explore situations or issues similar to their own.
Brenda Custodio and Marilyn Jean Sutton 19
How Content Teachers Interact With English Language Learners
Transcripts from three science classrooms underscore the contrast between teachers engagement of
ESL students and their native-speaking peers in discussion and inquiry.
Lorrie Stoops Verplaetse 24
Full Inclusion for Secondary School ESOL Students: Some Concerns From Florida
The authors explore the implications of full-time placement of ESOL students in mainstream
classrooms and describe conditions for doing so effectively.
Candace Harper and Elizabeth Platt 30
Cultural Differences in Conceptions of Disability: Central America and the Caribbean
Differing sociocultural concepts of disability may lead to conflict and miscommunication between U.S.
educators and Central American and Caribbean students in U.S. schools.
Shana R. Grossman 38


Semantic Maps Joan Parker Webster 42
Using Search Engines With ESL Students Joan Schneider Kantor 44
Culture Clubs Bridget Fitzgerald Gersten 46
Pen Pal Journals Sally Winn 48


TESOL Journal
Vol. 7, No. 5
Autumn 1998

Made in America: Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools Laurie Olsen

Reviewed by Jacqueline Moase-Burke 51
Into, Through, and Beyond Secondary School: Critical Transitions for Immigrant Youths
Tamara Lucas
Reviewed by Barbara Fagan 51
So Much to Say: Adolescents, Bilingualism, and ESL in Secondary School
Christian J. Faltis and Paula M. Wolfe, Eds.
Reviewed by Sharon Hough 52
ESL Framework of Stages: An Approach to ESL Learning in Schools K-12
Penny McKay and Angela Scarino
Reviewed by Lexie Mincham 53
Immigrants and Refugees: Create Your New Life in America Raimonda Mikatavage
Reviewed by Lynda Terrill 54


Readers advice on block scheduling 5 5

A question for readers on orienting new faculty 5 5


Guidelines for Contributors 3

Membership Application 56

Cover design by Ann Kammerer.

TESOLs mission is to
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Founded 1966
teaching English to
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Editorial Advisory Board

Nancy Cloud
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY USA
Debra Deane
University of Akron
Akron, OH USA
Robert A. DeVillar
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA USA
Christopher Ely
Ball State University
Muncie, IN USA
Sandra H. Fradd
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL USA
Linda Harklau
University of Georgia
Athens, GA USA
Ana Huerta-Macas
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM USA
Sarah Hudelson
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ USA
Linda New Levine
Mt. Kisco Elementary School
Mt. Kisco, NY USA
John Milon
University of Nevada
Reno, Nevada USA
Jeff McQuillan
California State University, Fullerton
Fullerton, CA USA

John Murphy
Georgia State University
Atlanta, GA USA
Joy Kreeft Peyton
Center for Applied Linguistics
Washington, DC USA
Ellen Riojas Clark
University of Texas
San Antonio, TX USA
Linda Schinke-Llano
Millikin University
Decatur, IL USA
Salina Shrofel
University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Toshiko Sugino
The National Defense Academy
Yakosuka, Japan
Christine Stryker
California State University, Stanislaus
Turlock, CA USA
Marjorie Terdal
Portland State University
Portland, OR USA
Erin Turner
William T. Machen Elementary School
Phoenix, AZ USA
Joan Wink
California State University, Stanislaus
Turlock, CA USA

Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ USA

Associate Editors
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA USA
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA USA

Tips from the

Classroom Editor
Arizona State University
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Reviews Editors
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI USA
University of South Australia
Adelaide, South Australia

Ask the TJ Editor

Minnesota State UniversityMankato
Mankato, MN USA

Managing Editor
TESOL Central Office
Alexandria, VA USA

Assistant Editor
TESOL Central Office
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Assistants to the
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ USA

Director of
and Marketing:

Helen Kornblum
TESOL Central Office


Ann Perrelli
TESOL Central Office

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Guidelines for Contributors

TESOL Journal, a refereed publication
of teaching and classroom research, welcomes submissions on matters related to
children, adolescents, and adults who are
learning English as an additional language. Appropriate topics include, but are
not limited to, classroom inquiry and
research, teacher preparation, literacy/
biliteracy, curriculum and policy issues,
and methodology.
TESOL Journal welcomes any of the
following types of submissions.

Feature Articles
A feature article should be 2,000-4,500
words and should:
1. analyze, present, or discuss novel ESOL
methodology, curriculum materials and
design, teacher education, and classroom
inquiry and research in terms accessible
to classroom teachers. You should connect your inquiry and research to theoretical principles; heavy referencing,
however, is discouraged.
2. discuss and reflect upon research findings that are applicable to classrooms
in which there are ESL/EFL learners.
3. encourage practitioners to engage in
their own reflective practice and classroom research on connections between
oral and written language during language and content learning.
Send your submissions to Stephen J.
Stoynoff, Editor, TESOL Journal, at the
address listed below.

activities, or methods in such a way that

they could be adapted by teachers in
diverse programs or teaching situations.
Submissions should not be recounted in
the manner of a diary, but rather as a set of
guidelines for successful implementation. Tips might include the following
information: appropriate levels, objectives, approximate class time and preparation time required, necessary materials,
implementation procedure, and any
caveats or alternatives to the recommended procedure. Submissions should be
250-800 words.
Send your submissions to Bridget
Gersten, Editor, Tips from the Classroom,
TESOL Journal, College of Education,
Box 1111, Arizona State University,
Tempe, AZ 85287-1111 USA.

Readers Respond
Readers Respond offers you a forum to
comment on or react to any article, perspective, or tip from previous issues.
Submissions should not exceed 500
Send your submissions to Stephen J.
Stoynoff, Editor, TESOL Journal, at the
address listed below.

Reviews should evaluate recently published ESOL classroom materials such as
textbooks, curriculum guides, computer
programs, or videos. Reviews should be
between 500 and 750 words.

Ask the TJ
Ask the TJ responds to questions submitted by readers to TESOL Journal on
matters relating to teaching and classroom
research. Responses should not exceed
100 words.
Send your questions or responses to
Carlann Scholl, Editor, Ask the TJ, English
Department, MSU 53, Minnesota State
UniversityMankato, Box 8400, Mankato,
MN 56002-8400 USA.

Your submission must be a
previously unpublished manuscript and
should conform to the following
1. Three copies of each submission; all
references to the authors identity
2. Typed, double-spaced, with 1 margins
on top, bottom, and sides of each page.
3. Copies, not the originals, of student artwork and/or black and white photographs. Originals and written
permission will be requested if the submission is accepted.
4. Source citations according to APA
(American Psychological Association)
5. A biographical statement of up to 50
words for each author, including the
name and address to which correspondence may be sent. A telephone num-

We urge you to send copies of student artwork, writing samples, or sample exercises
as well as photographs to illustrate all submissions.

A perspective submission should present your views on ESOL-related
sociopolitical and professional concerns
around the world. You should present a
cogent argument for your views but with
only a limited number of references. Perspectives should be 800-1,000 words,
though the editor reserves the right to
adjust the length as warranted.
Send your submissions to Stephen J.
Stoynoff, Editor, TESOL Journal, at the
address listed below.

Tips from the Classroom

Tips from the Classroom briefly
recount successful ESOL techniques,

In the body of the review, include

1. a brief summary of important features
of the material (without commentary)
2. an evaluation of these features, with
the merits/demerits of the material
3. a discussion of any wider ESOL pedagogical issues in the material
4. possibly a discussion relating the
review materials to ESOL methodology, theory, or current trends
5. an explanation as to why the teacherreader would want to use the material
(or not)
Send your submissions to Mary Lee
Field, Reviews Editor, 147 W. Kenilworth
Ave., Royal Oak, MI 48067 USA.

ber, fax number, and e-mail address are

also requested.
Submissions of feature articles, perspectives, tips, and reviews will be acknowledged within 1 month of their receipt.
TESOL Journal retains the right to
edit all manuscripts that are accepted for
General inquiries regarding TESOL
Journal should be sent to:
Stephen J. Stoynoff
English Department, MSU 53
Minnesota State UniversityMankato
Box 8400
Mankato, MN 56002-8400 USA
Fax 507-389-1913
E-mail tesol-journal@mankato.msus.edu

Immigrant Students in
Secondary School: Creating
Structures That Promote
Joy Kreeft Peyton and Carolyn Temple Adger, Guest Editors
Center for Applied Linguistics
Immigration is changing the face of education in the United States and around the
world. Worldwide, there were 28 countries
with 1 million or more foreign residents at the
beginning of the decade and 63 countries with
100,000-1 million foreign residents (United
Nations Population Division, 1994). In 1998,
approximately 125 million people resided
outside of their country of citizenship
(Migration Dialogue, 1998). In the United
States, those born elsewhere constitute the
fastest growing segment of the population,
with more than 1 million immigrants entering
the United States each year. In 1996, roughly
10% of the population (24.5 million) had
immigrated to the United States (U.S. Bureau
of the Census, 1997). Slightly more than half
(57%) of the foreign-born students in public
school are in Grades 7-12 (U.S. Bureau of the
Census, 1995). Schools need to ensure that
they are serving these students appropriately.
The call for papers for this special issue
indicated interest in students and programs
around the world. However, most of the articles submitted, and all of those accepted,
focus on the United States. This is unfortunate, in one sense, because the international
perspectives possible in TESOL are not represented. At the same time, the focus on secondary school education in the United States
exposes challenges that have only recently
been topics of research and publication.
Being an adolescent in secondary school
can be difficult for anyone, rife with new
experiences and major transitions. It can be
especially difficult for adolescents who are
new to the country, learning a new culture,
and adjusting to school. They must learn the

4 TESOL Journal

routines of school, such as bell schedules;

movement from class to class; entry, exit,
and lunch routines; and absence and lateness
policies (for further discussion, see Crandall,
Jaramillo, Olsen, & Peyton, in press; Lucas,
1997). In addition, they need to earn the academic credits required to graduate from high
school and enter postsecondary education, if
that is a goal.

Immigrants in secondary school face a

serious time challenge: They need to catch up
with their native-English-speaking peers in
order to graduate before they reach the age
limit for high school. Some have had little
education in their native country because of
economic conditions or war, and they begin
their U.S. schooling far behind their peers.
The older the student is when entering school
in this country, the more difficult the challenge to catch up can be.

Language complicates the matter further.

Immigrant students may know very little
English when they arrive; or they may know
social but not academic English; or the
English that they know may not be the variety used at school and in the workplace, such
as the World Englishes of Jamaica and
Nigeria. Increasingly, students need to study
secondary school academic content in
English with little language support and may
need to pass tests in English to advance in
their academic careers.
Immigrant adolescents need access to
information and school structures that facilitate timely transitions from class to class,
middle school to high school, and high
school to college or work; access to the
social life, leadership opportunities, and specialized courses (e.g., gifted and talented
courses and career academies) that are available to their native-English-speaking peers;
classroom instruction that promotes access to
academic texts and course content and
includes opportunities to interact with teachers and peers about content; teachers who are
trained to understand their needs and supported in meeting them; and, in some cases,
access to social services and community
agencies outside the school. Schools need the
organizational structures that make schools
and schooling fully accessible to immigrant
youth (Adger & Peyton, 1999).
The feature articles, tips, and book
reviews in this special issue address these
needs. Because teachers are critical to the
solution, the first two feature articles focus
on teachers engagement in change processes
that are responsive to immigrant students

needs. These are followed by two articles on

instruction and two on serious policy issues

to which we have yet to develop structural
Margaret Dwyer examines the challenges
to creating and maintaining school structures that promote immigrant students
success and identifies factors that can lead
to positive, lasting change.
Ann Jaramillo describes a teacher-driven
professional development process to create an immigrant-responsive high school.
Brenda Custodio and Marilyn Jean Sutton
describe literature-based programs that
develop students academic knowledge
while sparking their imaginations and
enriching their knowledge of language
and literature.
Lorrie Verplaetse reports a study of interaction in middle and high school content
area classes, where teachers unwittingly
limited opportunities for the English language learners to interact.
Candace Harper and Elizabeth Platt discuss the move in Florida-and increasingly, in other states-toward inclusion of
English language learners in mainstream
content area courses and recommend
strategies for doing this effectively.

Shana Grossman contrasts conceptions of

special education and disability in the
United States with those in Central
America and the Caribbean and suggests
implications for placement of immigrant
students. The issues she raises apply to
students from other countries as well.
Tips from the Classroom describe culture
clubs to break down barriers among English
language learners and native English speakers, pen pal journals between English language learners in high school and students
attending institutions of higher education,
semantic webbing to help students get started
with writing, and ways to teach English
learners to search the World Wide Web.
As a field, we have only begun to examine and write about structured approaches
that help immigrant students of secondary
school age succeed. This issue moves us further in that direction.

Adger, C. T., & Peyton, J. K. (1999).
Enhancing the education of immigrant students in secondary school: Structural challenges and directions. In C. Faltis & P. Wolfe
(Eds.), So much to say: Adolescents, bilingualism, and ESL in secondary school (pp. 205
224). New York: Teachers College Press.

Crandall, J. A., Jaramillo, A., Olsen, L., &

Peyton, J. K. (in press). Diverse teaching
strategies for diverse learners: Immigrant
children. In H. Hodges (Ed.), Educating
everybodys children: More teaching strategies for diverse learners. Alexandria, VA:
Association for Supervision and Curriculum
Lucas, T. (1997). Into, through, and
beyond secondary school: Critical transitions for immigrant youths. Washington, DC:
Center for Applied Linguistics/Delta
Migration Dialogue (1998). [On-line].
Available: http://migration.ucdavis.edu/Datal
United Nations Population Division
(1994). [International migration estimates
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1995).
Current Population Survey, October 1995.
U.S. Bureau of the Census. (1997). The
foreign-born population: 1996 [On-line].

Creating and Sustaining

Change for Immigrant
Learners in Secondary
Margaret A. Dwyer

reating and maintaining structures

that support the success of immigrant students in secondary
schools have as much to do with
the process of change as do any
specific initiatives. This article
examines a staff development program
designed to improve the achievement of language minority studentsimmigrants and
refugees, limited English proficient (LEP)
and English proficient studentsin two secondary schools. It also addresses the wider
purpose of identifying more general factors
that lead to positive and lasting change to
meet the needs and realities of language
minority learners.
The context is a small city school district
in New York state that serves 6,210 pupils,
approximately 6% of whom are LEP. A second group of language minority students, considered proficient in English, accounts for
approximately the same proportion of the student body. These two groups of learners are
very diverse in terms of L1, socioeconomic
status, and prior educational background.
In 1992, when we began to conceptualize
a districtwide effort to improve the academic
achievement of language minority learners,
the district resembled many others in the
United States in that students in the middle
and high school were served in ESL programs

6 TESOL Journal

but underrepresented in higher levels of content area instruction (e.g., Braddock, 1990;
Medina, 1988; Oakes, Ormseth, Bell, &
Camp, 1990). This meant that few of these
students were enrolled in such courses as
accelerated math and science at the middle
school level, or honors chemistry or advanced
placement (AP) U.S. history at the high
school level. Most language minority students

instruction. They also had higher high school

dropout rates than other student groups in the
The concentration of students into lowtrack language classes had several negative
consequences. As Harklau (1994) has noted,
low-track classes are characterized by low
expectations and socialization into less valued

Change efforts should target areas of strong need.

were concentrated in mainstream content

classes in instructional ability groups that
their ESL teachers and their parents believed
were below their ability levels. As a group,
the language minority students also scored
considerably lower than other students on all
standardized achievement tests.
This disparity in achievement was not
diminished appreciably by increased English
language proficiency. In fact, once they had
finished ESL course work, immigrant and
refugee students, many of whom had interrupted educational backgrounds in their L1,
tended to be clustered in the lowest levels of

and less challenging literate behaviors.

Although they are thought to be simpler and
therefore more accessible to language minority students, these classes actually offer an
environment that is much less supportive of
L2 acquisition because texts are often
abridged, few opportunities for extended writing exist, and tasks are often mechanical and
low level. At the secondary school level, lowtrack placement results in curriculum differentiation because those in low-track classes
may never study many of the same topics that
those in high-track classes do, particularly in
science and math.

Although the district had a fairly constant

population of language minority students for
many years, there had been no systematic
effort to enhance the skills of mainstream
teachers in supporting the success of these
learners in their content area studies. This
widespread situation (see Galbraith &
Anstrom, 1995) bespoke a belief that the
education of immigrant learners was largely
the domain and responsibility of ESL staff.
To respond to these realities, the district
submitted a proposal for a Title VII grant to
improve language minority students access
to high-quality instruction and to improve the
academic achievement of language minority
students, particularly in science and math.
Although this article examines only the staff
development component, the grant also
addressed family involvement and the integration of technology as further means to
boost achievement among all language
minority students.
The most profound lesson we learned
from this undertaking related to the process
of change, as opposed to the educational
innovations designed to address the problem
of low student achievement. We were able to
propose a solutionimproving the quality of
instruction these students receivedthat was
reasonable and achievable. However, we
found that it was not enough to plan a technically sound innovation. For the innovation to
become embedded within the institution,
careful attention to the management of the
change process was needed; otherwise, fragmentation and erosion would result. Using
the framework of Fullan and Steigelbauers
(1991) theoretical model, I examine our innovation through the three major phases of the
change processinitiation, implementation,
and institutionalizationidentifying the factors that come into play at each phase and the
ways that our efforts did or did not respond
to these factors.

What We Did
In the initiation phase, we documented
our need and designed our response to it.
With some exceptions, language minority
students were concentrated in low-track sections, especially in science, and they generally did not reach the more advanced science
or math courses required for admission to
selective colleges. As we began to document
the need to improve the students achievement in these subjects, we were aware that
we could have documented the same need for
improvement in other areas, particularly in
social studies, but we did not include these
areas in our proposal because they were not
likely to receive federal funding.

We believed that the achievement of these

students could be improved if the quality of
their instruction could be enhanced through
a professional development project for science and math teachers. In designing our
plan to improve instruction through professional development, we became aware of the
long-documented fact that most staff development efforts do not change teacher behavior or student achievement, usually because
of flaws in design, implementation, or both
(Fullan, 1979). Mindful of the research on
successful staff development (e.g., Griffin &
Barnes, 1986; Pink & Hyde, 1992), we

teaching to plan workshops and work as a

coach with the participants.
While we were developing our project, we
attempted to ascertain interest and support
among potential participants, coaches, and
presenters. Once the grant had been awarded,
we met systematically with principals and
school staff to explain the problem and the
plan for addressing it and to ask for their support and participation.

What We Learned
In hindsight, two lessons in initiating
change become clear. First, change efforts

If instead of a program proposed by a handful of ESL

professionals, we had had a program proposed and
supported by ESL professionals, central office
administrators, building principals, department heads,
parents, students, and local board of education members,
this building of constituencies probably would have
altered our proposal to some degree because true
partnership implies a redistribution of power.

sought to create a model that was context

sensitive, knowledge-based, purposeful,
well-articulated, ongoing and continuous,
and reflective (Griffin, 1994, p. 29). Our
preliminary model of staff development
offered the following features that we
believed would increase the likelihood of
Participation would be voluntary and open
to all math or science teachers interested
in serving their immigrant and refugee
students more effectively, having more
such learners in their classes, and broadening their repertoires of teaching strategies to support the success of these
Participants would agree to have immigrant and refugee learners clustered in
their classes, attend a series of workshops,
and work with a coach on implementing
the strategies discussed and modeled in
the workshop sessions.
Our design for the workshops would
include some basic knowledge and skillbuilding sessions followed by other topics
chosen by participants. We used a technical coaching model (Garmston, 1987), in
which a teacher skilled in supporting
immigrant and refugee students academically would be released part-time from

should target areas of strong need. We did

not attempt to extend the projects efforts
beyond the math and science focus that Title
VII was supporting at the time, despite the
fact that the need was just as apparentand
perhaps even more compellingin social
studies. In his analysis of Berman and
McLaughlins (1978) classic assessment of
the effectiveness of federal programs in
accomplishing change in schools, Sarason
(1996) examines the relationship between the
local response and the federal program: It is
unduly cynical to say that the local funding
request is only an attempt to say what the
feds want to hear, but it is not cynical to say
that the local grant writers are mightily influenced by the implicit and explicit strategies
suggested by federal announcements (p. 81).
The emphasis in federal grant awards at the
time was clearly on science and math
achievement, and we were strongly influenced by this reality.
The second lesson concerned the importance of building constituencies early in the
project (Sarason, 1996). If we had realized
this critical component of managing change,
we could have changed our course dramatically. For example, if instead of a program
proposed by a handful of ESL professionals,
we had had a program proposed and sup-

Autumn 1998

ported by ESL professionals, central office

ducted primarily by local teachers and
group sessions were held six times a year,
administrators, building principals, departaddressing topics identified by the particireplacing two of the large-group workshops.
ment heads, parents, students, and local
pants. The workshop format included modelThey tended to focus on problem solving and
board of education members, this building of
ing of teaching strategies and guided practice
were led by the participants. For example,
constituencies probably would have altered
with feedback.
science teachers spent a session sharing
our proposal to some
strategies for
degree because true
structuring lab
partnership implies a
assignments so
that language
For example, science teachers spent a session sharing
power. It also would
minority students
strategies for structuring lab assignments so that language
have given us a broad
could participate
enough base to negofully and not be
minority students could participate fully and not be
tiate a different reladominated by
dominated by native-English-speaking lab partners. Math
tionship with local
native-Englishbudget planners so that
teachers spent a session planning ways to support
local funds could have
partners. Math
language minority students in units on probability with a
been used to suppleteachers spent a
ment the federal dollars
session planning
heavy vocabulary load.
and reach teachers in
ways to support
all of the curricular
language minorareas essential to the
ity students in
complete education of
units on probaimmigrant learners.
After the first session, the participants
reflected on their own teaching practice and set
Our basic lesson in initiating change,
Participants began to share materials they
individual goals for growth. Each of the partictherefore, was that building a broad base of
had developed and model other strategies
ipants worked with the peer coach toward
support and advocacy is as important as
they were implementing, sometimes through
meeting these goals through a minimum of six
designing an action plan.
showing videotapes of their teaching. They
coaching sessions each year. In program evaluwere assuming collegial support roles that
consishad not previously been evident but that are
tently identified the coaching as the most
essential to effecting deep change (Showers
What We Did
important factor supporting their efforts to
& Joyce, 1995).
implement the new teaching strategies.
In the implementation phase, we mobiThe results of our work were gratifying.
lized a cadre of approximately 30 teachers
As the participants developed the skills
At the high school level, we saw a drop in
who volunteered for the project and were
they had selected, two significant changes
enrollment of LEP students in low-track sciexcited about improving instruction for
occurred in the staff development sessions.
ence classes to the lowest levels ever: Only
immigrant students. We designed and offered
Participants soon decided that they would
two LEP students were enrolled in these
a series of workshops about theories of secprefer to meet in small study groups by
classes during the 3-year implementation
ond language acquisition and teacher behavschool level or discipline rather than largeperiod. As cadre members accommodated
iors that can support academic success for
group sessions. This change represented an
more language minority learners in average
language minority students in mainstream
improvement in project design because freand honors tracks, we also saw an increase of
classes. The series began with a full-day
quent, focused project meetings are associlanguage minority students enrolled in
overview of second language acquisition, folated with successful implementation of
enriched and honors sections at middle and
lowed by a demonstration of teaching techeducational and instructional innovations
high school levels, and the first refugee students taking AP physics.
Equally important for ongoing change,
however, were alterations in teacher attitude
and behavior. Most of the teachers in the
cadre demonstrated and expressed increased
Their experience with supporting the success of
feelings of efficacy in accommodating immiimmigrant and refugee learners had contributed to their
grant and refugee learners and an increased
sense of responsibility for educating these
belief that many more students could be successful in
learners effectively. Some of the teachers
rigorous science classes if favorable conditions
took on leadership roles beyond the cadre;
for example, at department meetings, they
could be created.
shared suggestions on instructional strategies
or showed videotapes of their teaching.
Several of the cadre members were among
the leaders in a moderately successful
detracking effort in the high school science
niques designed to enhance participation and
(e.g., McLaughlin, 1991). At the secondary
department. Their experience with supporting
achievement of language minority students.
level, two study groups were formed in the
the success of immigrant and refugee learnOver the course of the year, four additional
second year of the projectone for science
ers had contributed to their belief that many
half-day workshops were scheduled, conand one for math teachersand these study
more students could be successful in rigorous

8 TESOL Journal

science classes if favorable conditions could

be created.
One of our most significant successes was
with the high school honors biology curriculum, for which a dedicated cadre member
and the high school ESL teacher created a
team-taught section with approximately 50%
LEP students. This course had traditionally
been a gatekeeper course that kept many LEP
students out of higher levels of science study.
In the new team-taught model, the LEP students not only participated at this higher
level, they also passed rigorous statewide
exams and went on to higher levels of science study. Of the 24 students who took this
class during 2 years, all but one of those who
remained at the high school enrolled in honors chemistry for the next year, more than
doubling the numbers of language minority
students usually enrolled in that course.

teacher leaders develop the capacity to

cope with the likely complexities of
developing new and more collaborative
school structures (Anderson, Rolheiser, &
Bennet, 1995).
3. We failed to develop a plan to handle personnel turnover and the ongoing staff
development needs that this inevitably
creates. For example, the loss of the earth
science cadre member near the end of the
implementation phase undid much of our
progress in this curricular area.
4. We did not do enough to support the
development of a strong parent and community base that would have given voice
to the needs of language minority learners
with the administration and the local
board of education.
The basic lessons we learned in imple-

was not familiar with the project and whose

support we were unable to enlist on short
The team-taught honors biology class
continued, as did efforts to cluster students
with cadre members, primarily because the
cadre members voluntarily worked with the
guidance office to create the schedule. In the
projects fifth year, another high school principal was hired, and there was ongoing
turnover among cadre members. Individual
cadre members continued to work with many
language minority students with very positive
results, and these students continued to have
much higher rates of success in science than
they did before the grant project, as evidenced by an almost total absence of language minority students in low-track science
classes. However, the team-taught honors
biology class is no longer offered, and immi-

What We Learned
Our work during the 3-year implementation period confirmed that change in teacher
behavior can be achieved through a staff
development program with ongoing coaching
and opportunities for collegial collaboration,
resulting in access to higher levels of instruction for language minority students. Students
expressed excitement to teachers, parents,
and guidance counselors about being
included. Once teachers had begun to change
their instruction and ways of relating to one
another, many of them turned their attention
to addressing structural issues such as tracking, which had also inhibited success for
many learners. Despite this progress, we saw
very little change in the scores of students on
standardized achievement tests as a result of
the staff development work, perhaps because
of the very loose relation between those tests
and the curricula that the students studied
with cadre members. We learned to look at
other measures for student achievement,
especially enrollment in and successful completion of challenging courses.
During the implementation phase, we
missed several opportunities to be strategic in
managing the change process.
1. By not including in our staff development
program central office and building
administrators, guidance counselors, and
other key players, we failed to broaden the
base of those who knew how to promote
success for language minority students. If
these key people had been with us, they
could have assumed roles in continuing
our innovations beyond the funding
2. Our staff development design did not
include an explicit focus on the management of change. We now know that
including such information can help

We learned that it is not enough to devise and

implement a technically sound innovation. If the change is
not embedded in the school and the district structures as
widely and early as possible, the innovation will erode.

menting change were that it is important to

spread the ownership base beyond immediate
participantsin our case, teachersto
include administrators and community members, and to build structures, such as provision for turnover, that promote

Continuation or
What We Did
In the final year of the 3-year implementation phase, we secured local funding for a
part-time staff development coach for the
high school level to continue the project
beyond the 3-year federal funding phase. We
also broadened the base for participation to
include social studies teachers, and we
worked with the guidance staff to continue to
cluster immigrant learners in the classes of
cadre members. However, 2 days before the
start of school in the fall of what would have
been the fourth year, the coach position was
cut, and all staff development efforts
stopped. There was no administrative protest
at the high school over the loss of the position because the cut occurred shortly after the
appointment of a new, interim principal who

grant students are not always clustered with

cadre members.
At the middle school, which had a history
of being more responsive to the needs of language minority students and where the ESL
teacher had broad influence, the clustering of
learners continued, and the cadre members
continued to work with ESL teachers and
teaching assistants to foster the success of
these students.

What We Learned
Although this project was demonstrably
effective in helping teachers broaden their
repertoires of teaching strategies to support
the success of language minority students, we
encountered difficulties in institutionalizing
some aspects of the innovation, due in part to
the nature of external funding. Although outside funding is sought and often perceived
necessary for trying out new programs, it has
been shown that programs that have received
generous external support are highly unlikely
to be continued after the withdrawal of funds
because it is difficult to replace the external
funds with local ones (Yin, Herald, & Vogel,
1977). Had we been more experienced with
managing the change process, we might have
planned for institutionalizing the project from

Autumn 1998

the beginning. For example, we might have

lobbied for local funds for broadening our
implementation to include social studies and
continuing staff development for teachers
especially those new to the projectafter the
initial funding period.
A second lesson was particularly important in light of frequent administrative
turnover in our district. We did not institutionalize crucial changes at every level in the
school, especially in guidance, scheduling,
and departmental procedures. If we had, perhaps the guidance department head would
have understood the need to cluster language
minority students in the classes of cadre
members consistently.
In her work on staff development efforts in
the Chicago schools, Ogle (1992) points to
the importance of top-down and bottom-up
pressure working in tandem as a prerequisite
for sustained instructional change. Based on
our experience, I would suggest that horizontal pressure is equally important. In our case,
effective pressure from an ESL coordinator
on an assistant principal might have allowed
for the continuation of the coach position on
even a part-time basis to help repair erosion
caused by turnover among staff development
participants. Likewise, department heads
whose teachers had benefitted from the project might have influenced the guidance
department head to ensure ongoing clustering
of language minority learners with cadre
We learned that it is not enough to devise
and implement a technically sound innovation. If the change is not embedded in the
school and the district structures as widely
and early as possible, the innovation will

As agents for change, it is essential that we
constantly reflect on our work, paying specific attention to the ways in which we are or
are not effectively managing the change process. As I look back on my work in trying to
effect change for the benefit of immigrant and
refugee learners, some principles stand out.
Reading about the change process and
strategies that others have used in managing change can help to avoid serious errors
of commission and omission. Three very
helpful general sources are Fullan and
Steigelbauer (1991), Fullan and
Hargreaves (1996), and Showers and
Joyce (1995). Two descriptions of specific
staff development designs that focus on
helping teachers implement an instructional innovation are Aderson, Rolheiser,
and Bennet (1995) and Munger (1991).
Including a broad base of participants in

10 TESOL Journal

the change effort consumes time and

energy that might seem better spent on
tasks more immediately related to the
innovationbut it is well worth the effort.
Having many people in the school feel
ownership for the innovation helps prevent
the erosion caused by turnover.
Building structures that embed the innovation in the daily administration of schools
can make it more permanent.
The stakes are very high for language
minority learners in our schools. Without
planned, systemic change, it is likely that they
will continue to be served poorly in mainstream classes, often tracked into low levels
of instruction that do not provide the kinds of
instruction they need and deserve, and denied
access to the full involvement in adult life
that is associated with high academic achievement. It is in the best interests of our students
that we learn to be as strategic and savvy as
possible in our efforts to create and maintain
change for their benefit.

Anderson, A., Rolheiser, C., & Bennet, B.
(1995). Confronting the challenge of implementing cooperative learning. Journal of Staff
Development, 16 (1), 32-38.
Berman, P., & McLaughlin, M. (1978).
Federal programs supporting educational
change: Vol. 8. Implementing and sustaining
innovations. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Braddock, J. H. (1990). Tracking:
Implications for student race-ethnic subgroups (Report No. 1). Baltimore, MD: Johns
Hopkins University Center for Research on
Effective Schooling for Disadvantaged
Fullan, M. (1979). School-focused in-service education in Canada. Report for the
Centre for Research and Innovation (OECD),
Fullan, M., & Hargreaves, A. (1996).
Whats worth fighting for in your school?
New York: Teachers College Press.
Fullan, M., & Steigelbauer, S. (1991). The
new meaning of educational change. New
York: Teachers College Press.
Galbraith, P., & Anstrom, K. (1995). Peer
coaching: An effective staff development
model for educators of linguistically and culturally diverse students. Directions in
Language and Education, 1 (3), 1-8.
Garmston, R. (1987). How administrators
support peer coaching. Educational
Leadership, 44 (5), 18-26.
Griffin, G. A. (1994). Teachers, students,
and language: Multiple language settings. An
Occasional Paper. Los Alamitos, CA:
Southwest Regional Laboratory.

Griffin, G. A., & Barnes, S. (1986). Using

research findings to change school and classroom practices: Results of an experimental
study. American Educational Research
Journal, 23, 572-586.
Harklau, L. (1994). Tracking and linguistic minority students: Consequences of ability
grouping for second language learners.
Linguistics and Education, 6, 217-244.
McLaughlin, M. W. (1991). Enabling professional development: What have we
learned? In A. Lieberman & L. Miller (Eds.),
Staff development for education in the 90s:
New demands, new realities, new perspectives
(pp. 61-82). New York: Teachers College
Medina, M. (1988). Hispanic apartheid in
American public education. Educational
Administration Quarterly, 24, 336-349.
Munger, L. (1991). Support structures for
cooperative learning. Journal of Staff
Development, 12 (2), 28-32.
Oakes, J., Ormseth, T., Bell, R., & Camp,
P. (1990). Multiplying inequalities: The
effects of race, social class, and tracking on
opportunities to learn mathematics and science. Santa Monica, CA: Rand.
Ogle, D. (1992). Fostering inner-city childrens thinking: A team effort. In W. Pink &
A. Hyde (Eds.), Effective staff development
for school change (pp. 191-208). Norwood,
NJ: Ablex.
Pink, W., & Hyde, A. (1992). Doing effective staff development. In W. Pink & A. Hyde
(Eds.), Effective staff development for school
change (pp. 259-292). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Sarason, S. (1996). Revisiting the culture
of the school and the problem of change. New
York: Teachers College Press.
Showers, B., & Joyce, B. (1995). Student
achievement through staff development:
Fundamentals of school renewal (2nd ed.).
White Plains, NY: Longman.
Yin, R., Herald, K., & Vogel, M. (1977).
Tinkering with the system. Lexington, MA:
D.C. Heath.

Margaret Dwyer has been involved for
many years in improving schools for all
learners. She has been a classroom teacher,
curriculum coordinator, staff development
specialist, and citywide program coordinator.
She is currently a teacher educator and doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia
University, in the United States.

Professional Development
From the Inside Out
Ann Jaramillo

his is the story of a teachertheir school to better meet the needs of immiThese changes are occurring as ESL and condriven, teacher-defined profesgrant students. As the site coordinator of the
tent-area teachers collaborate to improve
sional development effort that grew
project, I worked with a core group of teachtheir students literacy, a task usually underfrom a project to create immigranters in the last 2 years of the project: Angelica
taken only by ESL teachers.
responsive schools. Picture the folSimons (Spanish for native speakers), Paul
The story begins with California
lowing scene: Three groups of four teachers
Quiggle (physics), Tony Saucedo (ESL,
Tomorrow, a nonprofit organization that
cluster around examples of student work
Spanish basic skills), Manuel Lopez (social
received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon
pinned on a bulletin board. The walls of the
studies), Venetia Rivera (ESL), Lina Cabrera
Foundation to demonstrate how secondary
room are covered with storyboards, I Am
(social studies), Steve Rovell (science), Chas
schools can become responsive to the needs
poems, dialectical journals, collaborative
Frode (ESL), Claudio Montero (math and
of immigrant students. Alisal High School, a
posters, and essays. Lively conversations
science), and Rico Cabrera (social studies).
typical comprehensive high school with
ensue as the teachers talk about student work,
1,800 students94% Latinoand more than
discussing which category of scaffolding it
1,000 students classified as limited English
best exemplifies. A social studies
proficient (LEP) was one of the
teacher says, I think that
national demonstration sites.
poem is really an examA social studies teacher says, I think
But the California
ple of text represenTomorrow project
tation. After all,
that poem is really an example of text representation.
did not impose a
its the students
static model of
idea of what
After all, its the students idea of what happened in the
change from
happened in
the outside.
the text. No
text. No way! counters a science teacher. To me its more
way! counbrought a set
ters a science
an example of schema-buildinglook at the big ideas in
of process printeacher. To me
ciples (Olsen,
its more an examthereits everything thats in the course, and
ple of schema-buildMcCall-Perez,
inglook at the big ideas
put together in a valid way.
press) to guide and support
in thereits everything thats
our change efforts, enabling us
in the course, and put together in a
to develop from the inside. These provalid way. Two other teachers add their
cess principles lie at the heart of creating
opinions, and the group moves on to examine
Unlike most professional development,
immigrant-responsive high schools:
another students work. The conversation
where a presenter from the outside tells
Change takes time. How time is used in
picks up again with the question, What do
teachers what they ought to be doing, the
schools must be rethought and restrucyou think this is?
teachers and I embarked on an ongoing
tured to allow educators to develop the
inquiry and collaboration to improve the
These are the kinds of rich discussions
appropriate skills and understanding to
school from the inside out. The teachers have
that teachers at Alisal High School in
respond to immigrant students needs. The
moved to a place where the kinds of converSalinas, California, have been having since
school day and year need to be restrucsations described above can occur and where
they began working together and with
tured around the needs of students (Olsen
real instructional changes have happened.
California Tomorrow on a project to change
& Jaramillo, in press).

12 TESOL Journal

Responsiveness requires capacity.

Coordinating and guiding the efforts of
Looking Inward
Investment in sustained professional
the inquiry group became my major responsiThe retreat was followed by a series of
development in collaborative and individbility as site coordinator of the project. We
after-school meetings to reflect on quesual formats is at the center of responsive
decided to spend a significant amount of time
such as these:
togethera combination of 2- to 3-hour
What is it like for you being a teacher at
after-school meetings and several day-long
Teaching and learning are based in
Alisal, given your language, culture, and
inquiry and reflection. The challenges of
1995-1996 to launch our investigation.
teaching and schooling in this era of com
What do you see as your role in showing
Language and language development issues
plex cultural and linguistic relations
students you value their home language
require immersion in inquiry and reflecyet being sure they gain the English flupressing,
tion, as educators seek to work with stuency and literacy they need?
first. For the following 2 years, our profesdents across cultural, language, and
sional development involved looking out If you are bilingual, how do you think
national experiences.
ward at research and other school models,
about yourself and your role as a teacher
Data analysis supports inquiry. Schools
examining data on student achievement and
in terms of supporting your students
need processes of analyzing data about
creSpanish development?
student achievement, participation, and

What is the actual language use in your

progress through school and data systems
observing and coaching each other, and sharclasses?
that support their inquiries. Accountability
ing our findings with the entire faculty. At
for inclusion and access of immigrant stuTeachers began to make honest yet
dents, and deepened understandpainful assessments. One young
ings of the needs of
Latina teacher, a graduate
immigrant popuherself of Alisal and
This initial exposure to the schools
lations drive
a member of the
the analysis
east Salinas
in New York City opened everyones eyes to other ways of
and inquiry.
where the school
structuring the inner workings of classrooms.
is located, said:
about effective schooling
I am a role model for
for language minority and immimy students. I understand them
grant students, and schools throughout the
and where they come from, and I am
times, subgroups of the working group would
nation are engaged in cutting-edge develophere to help them get somewhere.
pursue different activities and then bring
ment of new models (August & Hakuta,
There is a constant tension, for me,
their experiences and knowledge back to the
1997; Berman, McLaughlin, McLeod,
around language use in my sheltered
whole group.
Minicucci, Nelson, & Woodsworth, 1995;
classeswhen and how much should I
Carter & Chatfield, 1986; Garcia, 1988;
clarify in Spanish? When and how do I
Lucas, Henze, & Donato, 1990; Olsen &
insist on English? What is the right
Mullen, 1990). Educators in responsive
balance? (Lina Cabrera, personal comschools read and assess the research and
The inquiry group began its investigation
munication, October 1995)
examine for potential replication models of
into language with a day-long retreat where
In conjunction with the after-school meetwhat others are doing.
two teachers from International High School
ings and retreats, I began teacher observa(IHS) in New York City shared elements of
tions spanning a wide range of classes, from
The Inquiry Begins
their model for educating immigrant stuESL to Spanish content to sheltered English
dents. This gave all of us a chance to delve
The professional development work
content to mainstream. After each observadeeply into a structural, curricular, and pedadescribed here began in 1995, 1 year into the
tion, I gave the teachers private, written feedgogical model that operated in a different
project, after Alisal had implemented a new
back that incorporated extensive questioning
context from Alisals (Darling-Hammond,
block schedule in the first year in response to
in areas of mutual concern. The written feedAncess, & Falk, 1995). IHS uses an interdisstudent needs. With the restructuring of the
back was followed by a time when the
ciplinary, project-based curriculum for all
school day in place, the project shifted from a
teacher and I sat down together and talked
students; teams of teachers are responsible
whole-school effort to an inquiry-based
about the questions. The types of questions
for a group of students for an extended
approach. The teachers and I felt that the new
included the following:
period of time, and discussions of effective
block schedule allowed for a different kind of
What do you hold to be the primary role
teaching and learning processes occur reguteaching, but we wanted to explore what
of Spanish content coursesthe developlarly among teachers as well as students. We
might work best for our immigrant students
ment of content ideas or primary lanalso read portions of The Power of Their
before we restructured the insides of classguage, or both?
Ideas by Deborah Meier (1995), a moving
rooms. Twenty teachers, representing a broad

Could the same strategies that you learned

chronicle of the struggle to establish Central
range of the school from all content areas and
for sheltered content courses be applied to
Park East Secondary School in East Harlem.
across primary language, sheltered, ESL, and
primary language instruction, especially
This initial exposure to the schools in New
mainstream classrooms, were drawn to the
when you take our underschooled students
York City opened everyones eyes to other
idea of working from the inside out and
into consideration? (Underschooled stuways of structuring the inner workings of
became the Working Group on Race,
dents at Alisal are newly arrived immiclassrooms.
Language, and Culture.
grant students who read below the Grade
4 level in their primary language and have

Autumn 1998


significant gaps in schooling in their home

What do you think the relationship should
be between your class and other classes
your students have, in terms of literacy

ation by portfolio. IHS showed us how students with varying levels of English proficiency can thrive in a program that uses a
thematic, interdisciplinary approach. El
Puentes curriculum is firmly grounded in
developing students commitment and ability
to advocate for human rights and justice.
On our return, the teachers shared their
experiences with the larger group. In many
ways, this trip crystallized the working
groups ideas. As physics teacher Paul
Quiggle stated:

application of strategies that could accelerate

literacy. The core group teachers represented
all main content areasscience, social studies, math, ESL, Spanish for native speakersand taught a range of classes in
different modes, from Spanish content to
sheltered content to mainstream. We would
be working togetheracross the curriculum,
Examining Data
content areas, and all levels of language proOne California Tomorrow principle
ficiency in Spanish and Englishto accelerfocuses on the need for teachers and adminisate the literacy of our own students.
trators to examine student data. Thus, a subMany Alisal teachers have strong knowlgroup of the working group met for a full day
of L2 learning and have had intensive
New York City was a turning point for
later in the year to look more closely at the
in Specially Designed Academic
all of us who went. It gave us a clear
newly arrived immigrant students placed in
in English (SDAIE) strategies. To
picture of the possibilities. We saw
our bilingual program. In preparation for the
ground this in practice, I crestudents,
meeting, I had asked the bilingual clerk at the
rubric of implementaschool to assemble key data on all the stution
(see p. 15). Based
dents in at least one of the classes
for each teacher. For exam(Walqui,
ple, one social studies
teacher received
selfdata on all the
inquiry process, increasing students literacy would sit squarely
students currently
that most
placed in his shelat
had not
tered world history class.
Gathering the data required
implesome painstaking research and a lot of time;
mented strategies, or had completely forgotengaged in learning at a level that was
at that point, none of it had been entered into
ten them.
awe inspiring. It really turned my
the new computer system, and it existed on
Over the course of the 8 days, the teachers
thinking around about what I could do
paper only.
I read research (e.g., Chamot &
in my classroom, not to mention what
The teachers examined data, including
1994, on learning strategies;
Language Assessment Scales (LAS) oral and
& Brown, 1992, on reciproschool.
commureading/writing scores, current California
1993, on free volunnication,
Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) scores, and
how to apply the
The teachers and I also saw elements of
Spanish Assessment of Basic Education
We developed a
the New York City models that they could
(SABE) primary language reading and math
implement. Central among these was the
scores. It was the first opportunity that most
of the content teachers had ever had to see in
within the teachers own classrooms.
black and white the range of proficiencies
present in their classes. Our analysis of the
best fit. Where would we put reciprocal
data led to some generalized statements
Creating an Accelerated
teachingunder the category of developing
about the students L1 and L2 proficiencies,
Or could it also go under
such as, Even our students at the more
helped students get the big
lanadvanced levels of ESL are scoring below
This negotiation of the
what we expected in reading and writing. A
or tasks in categories
consensus developed: Accelerating the literforced
of strategroup of Grade 9 ESL students, whom the
acy development of our students was a necesgies
sity. We all agreed that whatever else
happened in the inquiry process, increasing
toire of strategies required to teach L2 learnscheduling the students so that a core group
students literacy would sit squarely at the
ers successfully. The teachers left with a
of teachers could share them. As it turned
center of our efforts.
comprehensive set of strategies that they
out, due to problems in master scheduling,
believed could help their students with literthe
Looking Outward Again
acy and agreed to implement them the folstudents. Nevertheless, the 10 teachers in the
In the spring of the year, 10 of the worklowing year.
core group decided to fully implement their
ing group teachers and I visited three small
plan in all of their classes, whether or not
public high schools in New York City:
Creating an Observation
they had pilot students.
Central Park East Secondary (Meier, 1995),
As the school year came to a close, the
IHS (Darling-Hammond, Ancess, & Falk,
teachers and I sat down together for 8 days to
When school opened for the third year of
1995), and El Puente Academy for Peace and
define the teaching framework from which
the project (1996-1997), the teachers were
Justice (Ramirez & Dewar, 1994). At Central
the group would agree to operate in the comeager to try out the new accelerated literacy
Park East, we saw the power of a curriculum
ing year. The 8 days were designed so we
approach. I saw evidence of the summer
designed around central questions and graducould jointly construct knowledge about and

14 TESOL Journal

Self-Assessment Rubric
Instructions: Take a few minutes to reflect on your current level of competence as a SDAIE instructor. For each scaffolding category or strategy, place yourself on the scale as accurately as possible. Use the following descriptors of each number to rate yourself.
0 = I have no understanding of this scaffolding strategy.
1 = I have only a vague understanding of this scaffold. I have heard of it.
2 = I can name the scaffold, say how it supports students building of understanding, and give several examples of it.
3 = I can name the scaffold, say how it supports students building of understanding, and I use it occasionally in class.
4 = I have incorporated this scaffold in my repertoire, use it almost daily, and there is evidence of it on my classroom walls, in portfolios, or in observations of my teaching.
5 = I know this scaffolding category well enough to teach other teachers about it and assist them with implementation.

No understanding


Able to name, say how

it supports students
building of understanding, give examples

Modeling and Contextualization

Able to name, say how it

supports students building of understanding, use
occasionally in class

Use often in my daily

repertoire; evidence
of use on walls, in portfolios, in teaching

Able to teach
other teachers,
assist with

If you rate yourself a 2 or above, write here how this scaffolding supports students and give two to three examples of strategies for classroom use:

Bridging: Assessing and Activating Prior

No understanding


Able to name, say how

it supports students
building of understanding, give examples


Able to name, say how it

supports students building of understanding, use
occasionally in class

Use often in my daily

repertoire; evidence
of use on walls, in portfolios, in teaching

Able to teach
other teachers,
assist with

If you rate yourself a 2 or above, write here how this scaffolding supports students and give two to three examples of strategies for classroom use:

No understanding


Able to name, say how

it supports students
building of understanding, give examples

Schema Building and Rebuilding

Able to name, say how it

supports students building of understanding, use
occasionally in class

Use often in my daily

repertoire; evidence
of use on walls, in portfolios, in teaching

Able to teach
other teachers,
assist with

If you rate yourself a 2 or above, write here how this scaffolding supports students and give two to three examples of strategies for classroom use:

Metacognative Development and

Reading Process
No understanding


Able to name, say how

it supports students
building of understanding, give examples

Able to name, say how it

supports students building of understanding, use
occasionally in class

Use often in my daily

repertoire; evidence
of use on walls, in portfolios, in teaching

Able to teach
other teachers,
assist with

If you rate yourself a 2 or above, write here how this scaffolding supports students and give two to three examples of strategies for classroom use:

No understanding


Able to name, say how

it supports students
building of understanding, give examples

Text Representation

Able to name, say how it

supports students building of understanding, use
occasionally in class

Use often in my daily

repertoire; evidence
of use on walls, in portfolios, in teaching

Able to teach
other teachers,
assist with

If you rate yourself a 2 or above, write here how this scaffolding supports students and give two to three examples of strategies for classroom use:

No understanding


Able to name, say how

it supports students
building of understanding, give examples

Authentic Assessment

Able to name, say how it

supports students building of understanding, use
occasionally in class

Use often in my daily

repertoire; evidence
of use on walls, in portfolios, in teaching

Able to teach
other teachers,
assist with

If you rate yourself a 2 or above, write here how this scaffolding supports students and give two to three examples of strategies for classroom use:
A. Jaramillo, 1996 (from A. Walqui, 1991). Used with permission.

Observation Log
Name __________________Date _________Block __________Teacher observed_____________________Class name _____________

Accelerated Literacy/Scaffolding Criteria

Evidence Observed

Modeling/Contextualization/Other Teacher Behaviors: Evidence that the teacher shows

students step by step how to accomplish a task, providing concrete examples of finished product. Evidence that the teacher models how to think about and complete processes such as reciprocal teaching. Evidence that the teacher actively engages students during teacher instruction
time. Might include:
teacher models a process (how to ask
use of comprehension checks, active
good questions)
use of wait time (5-7 seconds)
in ESL, SDAIE use of paraphrasing,
rephrasing, repetition
equitable distribution of questions

(e.g., in teacher instruction, on classroom

walls, in student interactions, in portfolios)

use of higher order questions

Bridging: Assessing and Activating Prior Knowledge and Relating the Content to the
Personal Lives and Experience of Students: Evidence of students engaging in tasks that
provide a personal connection between them and the content to be learned; evidence of students engaging in tasks that tap into their prior knowledge. Might include:

journal writing
brainstorming, clustering
novel ideas only
values ranking
anticipatory guides

three-step interview
KWL guides (KnowWant to
tea party
voting with your feet

Schema Building (Related to literacy): Evidence of students engaging in tasks that help
them establish the connections that exist among concepts, to see where ideas fit in a larger
scheme. Might include:
advance/graphic organizers
fishbone or leaf notes
concept maps
graphic outlines of text
double/triple Venn diagrams
cause effect chart
compare/contrast matrix
problem/solution outline
story maps, character logs
jigsaw projects
Metacognitive Development and Reading Process: Evidence of students engaging in
tasks that help them internalize what good readers do and tasks that foster student autonomy;
evidence of students interacting with text both self-selected and teacher-selected and developing understanding through multiple interactions. Might include:
reciprocal teaching (summarizing,
lecture/response logs
predicting, questioning, clarifying)
think alouds
double-entry journals
reading logs
learning logs
character logs
graphic logs
semantic feature analysis
character report cards
journey map
budget tour
colorful conversations
key questions
classroom libraries
open minds
Text Representation: Evidence of students extending their understanding of text and
applying it to novel formats. Might include:
open minds
bio-poems, I Am poems
hot seat
collaborative posters
Authentic Assessment: Evidence of student portfolios that include teacher and studentselected artifacts that show progress over time; evidence of teacher-constructed and studentconstructed rubrics to measure levels of performance. Might include:
class sets of working portfolios
class sets of show portfolios
student self-evaluation/learning logs

performance assessment tasks with rubrics

collaborative projects with rubrics

A. Jaramillo, 1996 (from A. Walqui, 1991). Used with permission.

16 TESOL Journal

institute workbright yellow reciprocal

the challenges that students face in coping
fine their work around literacy. In an effort to
teaching posters and revolving bookcases full
with a generally passive schooling experiassess authentically the impact of their
of paperbacks for free voluntary reading in
ence. They also began to get a picture not
instruction, they have devised a formative litall classrooms. It was not long, however,
only of each others implementation, but also
eracy assessment to be used across the curbefore I realized that we needed an observaof their own. As Angelica Simons, teacher of
riculum. The work to eventually engage the
tion tool to chart the implementation of literSpanish for native speakers, said:
entire staff in using the accelerated literacy
acy strategies on an individual and
approach grows and continues. Another sumWhen Im being observed, I find
programmatic level. The past spring, the
mer institute is planned, as are peer observamyself focusing on the various literacy
teachers and I had visited language arts classtions for the entire staff.
strategies Im using and thinking at the
rooms at Alisals feeder middle schools. The
The typical secondary school with a large
same time about why I am using them.
tool we used to observe implementation in
population of immigrant students faces huge
I also see my weaknesses: My senses
those classrooms was an evidence check
challenges, not the least of which is how to
are sharpened, and that allows me to
developed by Kelly Smith and Cindy
instruct those students, day to day, in ways
analyze my errors after the visitor has
Lenners in 1995, resource teachers in the
that are consistent, coherent, and meaningful
gone. The observations really serve as
Salinas Union High School District. In this
to teachers and students. The experience of
model, the visitor looks for evidence of
California Tomorrow at Alisal High
exemplary language arts pracSchool underscores the value
of professional developThe observations really serve as tools to motivate
Based on the midment from the inside
dle school model, we
out, when the work is
self-analysis and critical awareness.
constructed an obsergrounded in and
vation log that could be
guided by a set of
used in different ways, by difthoughtful process principles.
ferent people, for various purposes (see p.
Focused, collaborative, cross-curricular
16). Making the log useful and alive revived
development can indeed lead to
tools to motivate self-analysis and critthe idea that the teachers needed to see for
real changes in our classrooms and schools.
ical awareness. (A. Simons, personal
themselves what was going on in each
communication, January 1997)
others classrooms, and gave them answers to
such questions as:
The End of the Year and
This project, funded by the Andrew W.
How can we be encouraged to try what we
Foundation and coordinated by
Into the Future
said we wanted to try?
California Tomorrow, worked with Alisal
The final year of the project ended with a
How can we get a picture of what is hapHigh School in Salinas, California, from
literacy institute for 30 teachers at
pening across the program?
1994 through 1997.
Alisal. Planned and presented by the core
What would constitute evidence of an
group of 10 teachers, the institute included
accelerated literacy approach in individual
the theory and practical aspects of the scafclassrooms? How can we be assured that
August, D., & Hakuta, K. (1997).
folding categories used all year in their
the strategies are being used across the
Improving schooling for language minority
classes, including schema building, metacogcurriculum?
children: A research agenda. Washington,
nitive development, bridging, and text repreDC: National Academy Press.
sentation. What had begun as an inquiry into
Using the Observation Log:
Berman, P., McLaughlin, B., McLeod, B.,
language and culture 2 years earlier culmiMinicucci, C., Nelson, B., & Woodsworth,
nated in significant changes in the classPeer Observations
K. (1995). School reform and student diverrooms at Alisal. Now almost half the staff
With the observation log in hand, the
sity: Case studies of exemplary practices for
had the tools to increase the literacy developteachers began to observe each others
LEP students (Draft report). Berkeley, CA:
classes, believing that these observations
National Center for Research on Cultural
would solidify and extend their shared underDiversity
immistandings. They sat in various classrooms
Learning/BW Associates.
grant students, whether they are studying in
and, using the log, collected evidence of
Carter, T. P., & Chatfield, M. L. (1986).
English or in their primary language. With
strategy use. The observations at Alisal
Effective bilingual schools: Implications for
the focus on accelerating the literacy of their
adhered to the redefined model of peer
policy and practice. American Journal of
students, the teachers plan how they can
coaching proposed by Joyce and Showers
Education, 95 (1), 200-232.
engage their students in text from the
(1996), in which the teacher who is teaching
moment they walk in the door until the
Chamot, A., U., & OMalley, J. M.
is the coach and the teacher who is observing
moment they leave. Students work on
(1994). The CALLA handbook: Implementing
is the coached. Observing meant learning
metacognitive tasks: They learn how efficient
the cognitive academic language learning
from each other and getting a sense for what
readers read, how efficient scientists think,
approach. New York: Addison-Wesley.
was happening throughout all the classrooms
and how efficient problem solvers reach
of the core teachers. The teachers observed
Darling-Hammond, L., Ancess, J., & Falk,
solutions. The teachers systematically assess
for an entire day, sitting in three of their colB. (1995). Authentic assessment in action:
and activate students prior knowledge and
leagues classrooms for the full 98-minute
Studies of schools and students at work. New
build their conceptual frameworks, or
blocks so they could get a sense of the stuYork: Teachers College Press.
dents experience in a whole day of school.
Garcia, E. (1988). The education of linIn the months since the project ended, the
The observations were revealing on sevguistically and culturally diverse students:
teachers have continued to shape and redeeral levels. The teachers began to appreciate
Effective instructional practices. Santa Cruz,
Autumn 1998


CA: National Center for Research on

Cultural Diversity and Second Language
Learning/Center for Applied Linguistics.
Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (1996). The
evolution of peer coaching. Educational
Leadership, 53 (6), 12-16.
Krashen, S. D. (1993). The power of reading. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited.
Lucas, T., Henze, R., & Donato, R.
(1990). Promoting the success of Latino language minority students: An exploratory
study of six high schools. H a r v a r d
Educational Review, 60, 315-340.
Meier, D. (1995). The power of their
ideas: Lessons for America from a small
school in Harlem. Boston: Beacon Press.
Olsen, L., & Jaramillo, A. (in press).
When time is on our side: Redesigning
schools to meet the needs of immigrant students. In P. Gndara (Ed.), The dimension of
time and the challenge of school reform.
New York: SUNY Press.
Olsen, L., Jaramillo, A., & McCall-Perez,
Z. (in press). Creating access: A guide to
immigrant-responsive schools. San
Francisco: California Tomorrow.
Olsen, L., & Mullen, N. (1990).
Embracing diversity: Teachers voices from
California schools. San Francisco: California

Palinscar, A. S., David, Y., & Brown, A.

L. (1992). Using reciprocal teaching in the
classroom. Berkeley, CA: Brown/Campione
Research Group.
Ramirez, S., & Dewar, T. (1994). El
Puente Academy for Peace and Justice: A
case study for building social capital.
Minneapolis, MN: Rainbow Research/The
Kettering Foundation.
Walqui, A. (1991). Sheltered instruction:
Doing it right. Unpublished manuscript.

Teaching in Action
Case Studies From Second Language
Jack C. Richards, Editor

Ann Jaramillo is a project associate with
California Tomorrow. She has worked as an
ESL teacher and teacher trainer for more
than 25 years. Her work has centered around
strategies to use, inside and outside of the
classroom, to increase access and achievement for immigrant and language minority

Literature-Based ESL for

Secondary School Students
Brenda Custodio and Marilyn Jean Sutton

nglish language learners at the secondary school level share many

needs and barriers, including the
need to acquire English skills as
quickly as possible to achieve success in mainstream classrooms and the need
for specific knowledge and academic skills to
handle cognitively demanding mainstream
course work. What can ESL teachers do to
help meet these needs? This article looks at
the way that two teachers use literature-based
instruction to develop literacy skills and to
prepare L2 learners for the mainstream classroom.

What Is Literature-Based
Literature-based instruction is not a new
concept, especially at the elementary school
level. Huck advocated the use of childrens
literature as the primary means of instruction
for children as early as 1977, but the use of
literature in L2 instruction is still relatively
new. In its simplest terms, literature-based
implies a movementparticularly in literacy
instructionaway from the exclusive use of
the basal reader and toward teaching and
learning through childrens literature, both
fictional and factual (Sloan, 1995, pp. 2-10).
The movement toward literature-based
instruction is grounded in the theoretical
frameworks of Dewey (1929), Piaget (1955),
and Vygotsky (1962), who argued that children should be active participants in their
education. It also has roots in the work of
psycholinguists such as Goodman (1986) and
Smith (1971), who studied how people learn
to read and saw literacy and language development as a holistic process. They deter-

Language is not
learned from the
part to the
whole, but from
the whole to the
part, and ... all
mined that language is not learned from the
part to the whole, but from the whole to the
part, and that all language functionsincluding readinginterrelate.
Based on this holistic stance, they advocated a whole language approach in which
language is not fragmented into its component parts but is learned and used as a whole
system of communication (Goodman, 1986).
This recommendation for holistic instruction
applies to L2 learners as strongly as it does to
native English speakers. In fact, research in
L2, such as that by Elley and Mangubhai
(1983) supports the contention that activities
that tend to combine the four modes (i.e.,
speaking, listening, reading, and writing) are
more likely to enhance both literacy and oral
development positively.
Despite a rich literature describing the
rationale for and uses of literature-based
instruction in elementary schools, studies
involving secondary schools or L2 classrooms

are relatively recent (Atwell, 1987; Rigg &

Allen, 1989). In a literature-based classroom,
activities center around the authentic texts
that students read. A typical day might
include a picture book read aloud by the
teacher, independent reading by the students,
class discussion, and journal writing.

Advantages to a LiteratureBased Approach

Promotes Literacy
Students learn English when they are
immersed in reading and writing. Krashen
(1982) suggests that an L2 is best acquired
when the conditions are similar to those present in L1 acquisition: The focus of instruction is on meaning rather than form, and
there is sufficient opportunity to engage in
meaningful use of the language in a relatively
anxiety-free environment. These two conditions are found in literature-based classrooms, as is Krashens emphasis on the
importance of using authentic texts for
authentic purposes. Krashen (1985) also
advocates using one extended text, such as a
novel, or several similar textsby the same
author, on the same subject, or of the same
genrewith L2 readers to give them comprehensible input that builds schema and
background knowledge. This idea of narrow
reading (i.e., time and practice with one
genre or author) helps students develop
familiarity with a particular literacy style or
format and allows them to concentrate on the
meaning of the text.
Writing about the use of literature with
culturally diverse students, Langer (1997)

Autumn 1998


states, Because it taps what they know and

who they are, literature is a particularly inviting context for learning both a second language and literacy (p. 607). According to
Langer, literature allows students to reflect
on their lives, learning, and language.
Literature can open horizons of possibility,
allowing students to question, interpret, connect, and explore. She calls this the heart of
literate thinking (p. 607).

Provides Language Models

The major goal of any ESL classroom is
to provide students with the language skills
they need to be successful in grade-level
classrooms in as short a period of time as
possible. Most researchers in L2 acquisition
now agree that language needs to be taught in
context and in a holistic manner, not as a set
of discrete skills. As Fitzgerald (1993) states:
Through interactions with others in a
literate environment, students acquire a
broad base of knowledge about the
conventions and purposes of print ....
ESL students who are beginning to
learn to read and write in English, as
well as those who are more advanced,
benefit from classrooms and curricula
structured to focus on and revolve
around the functions and purposes of
reading and writing in everyday and
academic situations. (p. 643)
Literature can be the vehicle to introduce
and practice new language skills. It can
expose students to a wide variety of styles
and genres. When literature is read aloud,
students can experience the color and flow of
oral language. It is in literature that the
resources of the language are most fully and
skillfully used (Sage, 1987, p. 6). Indeed,
teachers can use the best literature available
as a model of masterful language usage.

Integrates Language Skills

Many leaders in L2 instruction believe
that language and literacy development alone
are not enough. English language learners,
especially at the secondary school level, cannot afford the time required to reach English
proficiency before concentrating on the subject-area curricula in their mainstream
classes. As Short (1994) writes:
traditional ESL programs that focus on
language development with little attention to subject-area curricula have not
been able to serve the current influx of
language minority students very well,
especially at the secondary level ....
Secondary students, in particular, need
instruction in content concepts and
academic tasks early in their educational experience. (p. 582)

20 TESOL Journal

Students read
novels spanning
events from the
voyages of
Columbus to
the recent wave
of immigration
to the United

Short and others believe that the best way to

do this is through content-based instruction
(Brinton, Snow, & Wesche, 1989; Chamot &
OMalley, 1994; Crandall, 1987).
Content-based instruction (CBI) is the
integration of a particular content [e.g., math,
science, social studies] with second language
aims .... It refers to the concurrent teaching of
academic subject matter and second language
skills (Brinton, Snow, & Wesche, 1989, p.
2). Adolescent literature fits this definition.
In many mainstream language arts classrooms, instruction is now centering around
the reading and discussion of fiction and nonfiction trade books. Second language teachers can use the same techniques with English
language learners. Brinton, Snow, and
Wesche (1989) list several benefits of content-based language and literature study.
Students gain knowledge of elements of the
linguistic code: vocabulary, grammar, sentence, and paragraph structure; discourse
conventions and organizational patterns of
various genres; interactive communication
skills; and types and styles of writing.

Why Is CBI Effective?

CBI, within which a literature-based
approach fits well, is effective for a number
of reasons.
1. CBI employs English at a comprehensible
(Krashen, 1982) level to increase understanding of subject matter and build language skills simultaneously.
2. CBI often uses a valuable language tool
authentic tasks centered around authentic
material. In a literature-based classroom,
adolescent literature is that tool. Research
has shown that the use of content-area
material to help language minority students learn English increases student
motivation, provides more opportunities
for students to acknowledge and explore
prior knowledge, and provides meaning-

ful, contextualized language learning situations (e.g., Crandall, 1995). Students are
expected to perform the same tasks as
their native speaker counterparts but get
more extensive modeling and move at a
slower pace, similar to sheltered English
content programs in other subject areas.
3. Focusing on a content-area subject acts as
a bridge to mainstream classes. Students
are learning the same information as their
classmates, often with the same texts, and
the isolation of the L2 classroom is lessened. Multilevel groups can work together
on a common topic, and the differences of
culture and linguistic ability are
decreased. Students can practice mainstream discourse types in a nonthreatening
atmosphere by presenting oral reports and
engaging in oral discussions, academic
reading and writing, and outlining.

Ways of Using LiteratureBased Instruction

We have combined a literature-based
approach with CBI in our secondary school
ESL classrooms for 8 years. Custodio teaches
at the middle school level, with a curriculum
based on a sheltered content model, and
Sutton teaches in a high school that uses
theme-based units. Both programs are
located in a large, urban school district. The
remainder of this article presents an overview
of how these two programs operate.

Using Historical Fiction in

Middle School
The curriculum at the middle school level
emphasizes language development in conjunction with an introduction to U.S. history
and culture, using historical fiction as a vehicle to explore the required content. Students
read novels spanning events from the voyages of Christopher Columbus to the recent
wave of immigration to the United States.
Each year, one third of U.S. history is covered through five novels. Supplementary
materials such as biographies, nonfiction
trade and textbooks, drama, poetry, and multimedia presentations give students experience in using a variety of text formats. All
classroom activities stem from the literature.
The theoretical basis for and advantages of
using historical fiction in an ESL classroom
are illustrated in the diagram on page 21.
The use of historical fiction has many
advantages for middle school students.
Students learn social studies content in a language-rich environment. They are introduced
to award-winning literature, such as Sign of
the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
(1983) and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by
Mildred Taylor (1976), and develop oral and

Advantages of Historical Fiction in ESL Classrooms

Helps children experience past
Builds self-esteem
Develops higher level skills
Integrates language skills

Introduces quality literature

Is literature-based

Builds scaffolds and schema

Message vs. form

Low affective filter

Uses a content-based
instruction syllabus

Meaningful communication

Comprehensible input

Develops historical

Historical Fiction


Develops cultural knowledge

English Language Arts



Is interdisciplinary


Builds backgrond

Offers a bridge to
mainstream academic


Language Arts

written language skills in an integrated way.

Historical fiction helps students experience
the past vicariously, encouraging them to
imagine what life was like in another place
and time. It develops a sense of the role that
various cultures have played in U.S. history,
incorporates many disciplines in an interesting and informative format, and serves as a
bridge to mainstream language arts and
social studies classes.
These novels are well suited to interdisciplinary activities. Map studies, timelines, art
projects, music, displays, and outside reading
can augment the usual language arts curriculum. Historical novels can be used in collaboration with social studies classes to study a
particular time period in depth. Many students fail to see the relevance of and the correlation between academic subject areas and
tend to view the world in chunks. Novels can
help correct this problem.
One novel that we studied was Children of
the River by Linda Crew (1989), the story of a
Cambodian teenager forced to flee her homeland after the takeover by the Khmer Rouge.
The difficulties she faced adjusting to the U.S.


school system and to U.S. society, compounded by the usual problems of adolescence, created numerous opportunities for
discussion. The novel also presented opportunities to review Cambodias history, geography, and current events. Because a large
number of the schools population of ESL students are from Cambodia, they related to the

These novels are

well suited to
activities. Map
studies, timelines,
art projects,
music, displays,
and outside
reading can
augment the usual
language arts

characters in the novel and hotly debated their

actions and decisions. We also viewed and
discussed the video The Killing Fields
(Puttnam & Joffe, 1986), a movie about the
Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. We wrote poems,
read folk tales, and listened to outside speakers. The unit culminated with a schoolwide
program by the ESL students demonstrating
Cambodian fashion, customs, and music.
Most of the students in the program are
intermediate- to advanced-level English
learners and are scheduled in ESL classes for
their language arts and reading block.
However, each year there are a few beginning-level students in each ESL class. An
experienced bilingual teachers aide works
with these students for the first few months
on basic language and social skills, and they
read picture books and easy chapter books
that correspond to the theme that the rest of
the class is covering. Some activities such as
art, drama, and the viewing of videos involve
the entire class. Within a semester, these students are integrated into the regular ESL
class and are able to participate in all class

Autumn 1998


Stories About Historical Periods

Pedros Journal
A Lion To Guard Us
Sign of the Beaver
War Comes to Willy Freeman
Runaway to Freedom
Turn Homeward, Hannalee
Bull Run
Sarah, Plain and Tall
Dragons Gate
New Kids in Town
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Number the Stars
Year of Impossible Goodbyes
The Land I Lost
Children of the River


Texts used in this program are listed in the

chart above.

Using Theme-Based Units in

High School
At the high school level, students receive
English graduation credit for ESL course
work. Classes are scheduled by language proficiency level, with theme-based instruction
built around young adult literature. Novel
selection involves consideration of the cultures, reading levels, and interests of the students and the ways in which the titles can act
as a bridge to mainstream language arts
classes. Each novel or group of novels serves
as the focus of a unit on a related topic.
For example, a unit on immigration for
intermediate-level readers included the titles
New Kids in Town, by Janet Bode (1989) and
Letters From Rifka, by Karen Hesse (1992).
New Kids in Town gives autobiographical
accounts of 11 teenagers who immigrated to
the United States. Letters From Rifka is the
story of a Russian Jew who was separated
from her parents and then trapped on Ellis
Island at the turn of the century. The book
was read in class, and literary terms were
introduced; students discussed its themes and
wrote about them. Throughout the unit, students shared immigration experiences and
compared them. They also practiced the
skills required in mainstream English classes,
such as journal writing, dictionary use, and
class discussions.
Multicultural novels such as these have

22 TESOL Journal

Instructional Level

several benefits. The cultures of the students

in the class are presented realistically and
valued. Religious and cultural differences
can be discussed freely. The problems that
immigrant students face in adjusting to U.S.
society are portrayed in these novels, and students discuss possible solutions. When students are able to read about adolescents
facing situations similar to their own, they
can often apply to their own lives some of the
solutions the characters use to solve problems. Some of the novels we have used with
students are listed in the chart on page 23.

A literature-based program for secondary
school ESL students can serve a number of
important functions.
Weak readers have the security of a familiar style and format that a long-term study
of an interesting text can provide.
Students turned on to reading can become
lifelong learners.
Discussion of the issues presented in the
novels promotes higher level thinking
skills and an opportunity to use language
The cultures of the students are often
reflected in the novels, presented realistically, and given value.
Reading, writing, and speaking activities
are integrated into the lesson from the
context of the story, providing the basis
for authentic work.

Historical Time Period

First voyage of Columbus
Colonists and Native Americans
Revolutionary War
Slavery and pre-Civil War
Civil War
Vignettes of the Civil War
Pioneer Days
Chinese railroad workers
Teenage immigrant narratives
Racial prejudice/depression
Holocaust/World War II
World War II in Korea
Life in Vietnam before the war
Cambodian refugees

Literature provides a window into U.S.

culture, helping students understand how
Americans live and think.
At the same time, teachers embarking on a
literature-based program have several issues
to consider. One of the major challenges with
beginning an intensive literature program is
getting the literature. For both of us, this has
been a major obstacle. Class sets of books are
expensive. Some of our books were purchased by the students themselves, some
were available through the school system,
some we purchased with our own money,
and some were purchased with funding from
grants. It has taken several years to collect
our books, and they need to be replaced regularly.
A second consideration is training.
Because we were originally secondary school
English teachers, we had experience using
adolescent literature; learning about childrens literature was an easy addition. We
took extensive course work in reading and
adolescent literature, and attended workshops
and seminars designed for mainstream and
L2 teachers. We also scoured bookstores and
read extensively.
After introducing our classes to adolescent novels and seeing the benefits, we were
convinced of the value of this activity and
determined to make it work.

Atwell, N. (1987). In the middle: Writing,
reading, and learning with adolescents.

Novels About Multicultural Issues



Subject of Novel

Beginning Level (Instructional

Level 2-3)

Beginning Level
(Instructional Level 2-3)

Beginning Level (Instructional

Level 2-3)

Onion Tears
Long Way to a New Land


Sarah, Plain and Tall


Vietnamese orphan misses her family

Swedish family immigrates to the United
Mail order bride moves to Kansas

Intermediate Level (Instructional

Level 4-6)

Beginning Level
(Instructional Level 2-3)

Beginning Level (Instructional

Level 2-3)

Letters From Rifka
New Kids in Town


Chinese immigrants in San Francisco

Russian Jews/immigrants in 1890
Modern teenage immigrants

Advanced Level (Instructional

Level 6-9)

Beginning Level
(Instructional Level 2-3)

Beginning Level (Instructional

Level 2-3)

The Moved-Outers
Of Mice and Men
Diary of Anne Frank
Children of the River


Japanese internment camps

Depression-era story of two friends
Jewish girls diary during the Holocaust
Cambodian girl adjusts to life in the United

Bode, J. (1989). New kids in town: Oral
histories of immigrant teens. New York:
Brinton, D., Snow, M., & Wesche, M.
(1989). Content-based second language
instruction. New York: Newbury House.
Chamot, A., & OMalley, J. (1994).
Instructional approaches and teaching procedures. In K. Spangenberg-Urbschat & R.
Pritchard (Eds.), Kids come in all languages:
Reading instruction for ESL students (pp. 82107). Newark, DE: International Reading
Crandall, J. (Ed). (1995). ESL through
content-area instruction. Washington,
DC/McHenry, IL: Center for Applied
Linguistics/Delta Systems.
Crew, L. (1989). Children of the river.
New York: Bantam.
Dewey, J. (1929). My pedagogic creed.
Washington, DC: The Progressive Education
Elley, W., & Mangubhai, F. (1983). The
impact of reading on second language learning. Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 53-67.
Fitzgerald, J. (1993). Literacy and students
who are learning English as a second language. The Reading Teacher, 46 (8), 638-647.

Goodman, K. (1986). Whats whole in

whole language? Portsmouth, NH:
Hesse, K. (1992). Letters from Rifka. New
York: Penguin.
Huck, C. (1977). Literature as the content
of reading. Theory Into Practice, 16, 363-371.
Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and
practices of second language acquisition.
Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Krashen, S. D. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. New York:
Langer, J. (1997). Literacy acquisition
through literature. Journal of Adolescent and
Adult Literacy, 40, 602-614.
Piaget, J. (1955). The language and
thought of a child. New York: Meridian
Puttnam, D. (Producer), & Joffe, R.
(Director). (1986). The killing fields. [Film].
(Available from Warner Home Videos).
Rigg, P., & Allen, V. (1989). When they
dont all speak English: Integrating the ESL
student into the regular classroom. Urbana,
IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Sage, H. (1987). Incorporating literature
into ESL instruction. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:

Short, D. (1994). Expanding middle

school horizons: Integrating language, culture, and social studies. TESOL Quarterly,
28, 581-608.
Sloan, G. (1995). Questions of definition.
In M. Sorenson & B. Lehman (Eds.),
Teaching with childrens books: Paths to literature-based instruction. Urbana, IL:
National Council of Teacher of English.
Smith, F. (1971). Understanding reading:
A psycholinguistic analysis of reading and
learning to read. New York: Holt, Rinehart,
& Winston.
Speare, E. G. (1983). Sign of the beaver.
New York: Dell.
Taylor, M. (1976). Roll of thunder, hear
my cry. New York: Bantam.
Vygotsky, L. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Brenda Custodio teaches ESL at Hilltonia
Middle School in Columbus, Ohio, in the
United States. She is currently pursuing her
PhD at The Ohio State University, with a
focus on childrens literature and TESOL.
Marilyn Jean Sutton is an ESL teacher at
Centennial High School in Columbus, Ohio.
She received her MA from Otterbein College,
and her main interests are L2 reading and
writing development at the secondary level.

Autumn 1998


How Content Teachers

Interact With English
Language Learners
Lorrie Stoops Verplaetse

ecently seven high school ESL students visited our graduate-level

TESOL classroom to discuss how
they are coping in the U.S.
school system. When asked,
What do you do when you dont understand
whats going on in the [content] classroom?
the young woman from Mexico answered, I
raise my hand, but the teacher does not look
at me. One of the young Korean men said,
I dont ask questions in class; I solve it on
my own. And an outgoing young woman
from Puerto Rico offered, I tell them that I
dont understand and I ask them questions,
but the teacher says she doesnt have time to
go back.

Ideally, mainstreaming into content classrooms marks the final phase of language
development, during which the English language learner practices and perfects academic English competence. But the ideal is
far from the reality. English learners are
often marginalized, and their opportunities to
interact minimalizedeven in classrooms of
teachers with the best intentions.
This article reports on a study that investigated how middle and high school content
teachers shape the interaction opportunities
of their mainstreamed ESL students. It presents an analysis of the talk of 3 content
teachers who were recommended for the
study as highly interactive and sensitive to

English learners are often

marginalized, and their
opportunities to interact
minimalizedeven in
classrooms of teachers with
the best intentions.
24 TESOL Journal

the needs of ESL students. The findings,

however, indicate that all 3 teachers unwittingly limited the ESL students opportunities
to interact verbally. These findings suggest a
clear agenda for research, reflection, and professional development.
We had two research questions for this
1. Do native-English-speaking (NS) content
teachers interact with their English proficient (EP) and ESL students differently?
Specifically, do teachers modify their discourse strategies in interactions with ESL
students in ways that facilitate or inhibit
their opportunities to interact?
2. If teachers discourse strategies differ for
EP and ESL students, why are such modifications occurring?

The Importance of
Opportunities to interact are critical for
learning, particularly for ESL students,
because interaction plays an important role in
language and overall student development.
Interaction gives L2 learners an opportunity
to create language output, forcing them to
manipulate components of the new language
(Swain, 1985) and allows them to practice
these components, increasing the likelihood
of automaticity (McLaughlin, 1987). At the
discourse level, interaction creates the opportunity to negotiate, providing learners with
increased chances for comprehension of the

target language (Pica, 1994), and to acquire

target discourse conventions and practice
higher level academic communicative skills
(Hall, 1993).
Students learn the social and communicative strategies needed to gain access to academic content as they learn the content
(Green & Harker, 1982). Interaction allows
students to share in the construction of classroom knowledge (Wertsch & Toma, 1990)
and to develop membership within groups
(Zuengler, 1993). Following the teachings of
sociocultural theory and Vygotsky
(1962/1988, 1978), all complex learning,
including language, develops from social
interactions between learners and more
knowledgeable others (Peyton & Adger,
Although interaction is so important for
learning, many ESL students have limited
opportunities to interact with NS teachers.
Classroom research (Green, 1992; SchinkeLlano, 1983) and anecdotal evidence support
the claim that ESL students interact significantly less in integrated content classrooms
than do their EP counterparts. The studies
found teachers using fewer questions with
ESL students and talking more often with
them about class management than content.
The purpose of this study is to describe
specifically where in teacher-student transactions such prohibitive teacher modifications
1. Do teachers modify their discourse at the
beginning of a transaction or in their questions?
2. Are certain teacher interaction patterns
less interactive than others?
3. Finally, why are such teacher modifications occurring?
This article addresses these questions.

Research Methodology
This study analyzes the talk of 3 NS science teachers (Grades 6-12). These teachers
were recommended for the study because of
their caring, interactive approaches with ESL
students. Tom Brown1 teaches science to
Grade 7 and 8 students in a suburb of a major
New England city. All of his ESL students
are Russian-speaking immigrants. In his
Grade 8 physical science class of 24 students,
Brown has 2 female Russian students who
have been in the United States for 2 weeks
and 2 who have been in the United States for
a little more than a year. The latter 2 students
have good science grades. In Browns Grade
7 life science class of 22 students, all four of
his Russian-speaking students have been in
the country for 1-2 years. One student is
extremely outgoing, and two had been
defined by Brown as shy. This teachers style

is highly dialogic, with much student interaction at high cognitive levels.

Susan Lee teaches high school non-college preparatory earth science for juniors and
seniors in a small, industrial New England
city. Lee has worked hard to maintain discipline in an indifferent class and has a good
reputation for being able to control and teach
this challenging group of students. Of the 17
students in the class, 3 are ESL students, all
from Southeast Asia. The female student,
whose country of origin is unknown, is
believed to have a learning disability and had
been having much difficulty in class. The
Vietnamese male had been reported a good
student with good test scores and had been in
bilingual programs for the past 2 1/2 years.
The Cambodian male had been in the country
for 6 years and elected to be in English-only
classes since he had arrived. Hoping to attend
college, he did not value classroom interaction because he believed the other students
were rowdy and playful, not serious.
Lorraine Kelly teaches a mixed Grade 7
and 8 science class of 21 students in a second
suburb of the major New England city mentioned earlier. Kellys school is culturally and
linguistically diverse, with a large Haitian
population and a well-developed bilingual
program. The 3 ESL students in Kellys class
had been mainstreamed into an Englishmedium content class for the first time, having come from the bilingual science course
where Kelly served as an English-speaking
science specialist. All 3 ESL students are
Haitian; 2 are female, and 1 is male. Kellys
style is highly polyphasic; she talks aloud
with many students at once at all times.
The data collected for this study comes
from my classroom observations, 13 hours of
transcribed videotapes of the three classes,
and my interviews with the three teachers
and selected ESL students. In coding the talk
for the discourse analysis, I paid particular

attention to those teacher elicitations that

required students to respond verbally (e.g.,
Which is the dominant trait?) and to directives that required students to act, but not
necessarily to respond verbally (e.g., You
need to measure the mass of the clay).
The elicitationsmost often questions
were further coded to determine if the question initiated a new exchange or expanded on
an existing one (scaffolding). If it was an
expansion, I wanted to know if the scaffolding was done to redirect a students incorrect
response or to further challenge the student
after a correct response. I also sought
whether the elicitations were open ended
(e.g., Why cant you put this on the scale to
find its mass?) or closed (e.g., Did you measure its mass?), and whether they required
high-level cognitive skills, such as synthesis
or prediction (e.g., What would happen if you
put 10 of those on the scale?), or low-level
cognitive skills, such as recall (e.g., How do
you calculate mass? Do you remember?).

Although the findings suggest considerable variation among the 3 teachers, they also
reflect observable patterns that resulted in
prohibited interaction opportunities for the
ESL students. For example, teachers issued
more directives to and asked proportionately
fewer questions of their ESL students than of
their EP students. They also asked their ESL
students fewer high-level cognitive and openended questions. The 3 teachers often issued
directives and told the ESL students what to
do, rather than asking them questions, as they
did with their EP students. Consequently, the
ESL students had fewer opportunities for
verbal interaction. The cognitive level of the
questions issued to ESL students was frequently lower than that of those issued to EP
students. This was true in Browns scaffold-

With training, teachers can adjust

their internal clocks to allow
for a longer wait time and
consequently give ESL
students more opportunities
to respond.
Autumn 1998


Transcript 1


(walks over to Jimmy and Allen, who are working together)


We got the weight of one of the Styrofoam.



You got the weight of o[ne]

how did you do that?


(giggling) we looked very closely


So, are you questioning how accurate that is?




Cause it was right on like, we had it directly as 0.

Then when we put it on it moved like the tiniest
thing. Then we got it to 0 again.


What do you think would happen if you put

maybe 10 of those on?



It would be way more, like maybe 30.



Could you find the mass of 1 if you put on 10?

(Allen walks off to get more Styrofoam peanut



Theyre not all the same.



Theyre not all the same.

Lets see if that changes your number.
Thats a good point, Jimmy;
I dont know. (Brown goes off to other groups.)

ing and whenever the 3 teachers used questions to initiate transactions. The teachers
also asked EP students more open-ended
questions than they did ESL students.
The two transcripts on pages 26 and 27
demonstrate Browns tendency to use questions with EP students and directives with
ESL students. The texts also illustrate how
Brown used more high-level cognitive questions with his EP students than with his ESL
students. Brown once told me that his major
concern with the ESL students was that he
did not know how to measure what they
understood during discussions. He said that it
was easy, however, to assess the other students understanding. I asked him how he did
this. His answer was, I ask them. In contrast, he did not ask the ESL students;
instead, he used directives.
The transcripts describe Browns interactions as he visited two small groups of students who were busy comparing the density
of a Styrofoam peanut to that of water. The
first group of students were EP, and
Transcript 1 (see above) reflects the fre-

26 TESOL Journal

quency and cognitive levels of Browns

questions to them.
Jimmy initiates the discussion in line 2. In
Line 4, Brown expands the topic with a highlevel cognitive question. Allens response in
Line 5 is insufficient for Brown; in Line 6, he
scaffolds with another high-level cognitive
question. Allens answer in Line 8 is sufficient, yet in Lines 9 and 11, Brown chal-

lenges the students again with two more

high-level speculative questions.
Transcript 2 describes Browns interaction
with a group of ESL students on the same
topic (see p. 27). In this exchange, notice
how Brown used directives with the ESL students at times when he could have asked
them questions.
Brown initiated this interaction by
approaching the ESL students and reading
their journal account of their work. Brown
typically approached the ESL students in this
manner. In contrast, when approaching EP
students, he asked them to tell him what
information they had derived thus far. In
Line 12 Brown suggests to the ESL students
how to next determine the mass of the
Styrofoam by asking, Why dont you just
put the Styrofoam on the triple beam balance? Sarina agrees with his suggested procedure but in Line 19 asks a question of her
own: Dont we have to do this three times?
She exhibits considerable confusion. Brown
does not react to her question; instead, he is
still seeking to fully understand her chart.
The next three lines, 21-23, reveal the typical
way that Brown interacted with the ESL students: He issued directives for the procedures
they needed to do, in direct contrast to the
elicitations he repeatedly issued EP students
to convey the same propositions.
When I pointed this out to Brown, he was
surprised. He recognized his use of directives
rather than questions and began to list questions he could have used with the ESL students, such as, So what are you going to find
next? or If you know the volume of the
Styrofoam, what else do you need to find to
determine its density?
The other major finding from the observation is that some classroom participant structures lead to greater ESL student interaction
than others. In general, small-group lab work
led to greater teacher-ESL student interaction
opportunities than did full-class discussions.
Kellys classroom gives the most striking
example of this. During the small-group lab,

Strategies exist to help ESL

students during this process,
such as pairing them with an
EP student or providing more
written information.

Kelly asked 31 questions of her 3 ESL students, compared to only 53 questions of the
18 EP students. In contrast, during full-class
discussions, she issued 42 questions to the
EP students but only 4 to ESL students.
However, this finding is somewhat deceptive,
because the interactions between the teachers
and ESL students during the lab classes were
most often about procedures (i.e., how to
conduct the lab experiment) rather than science content or the lab discoveries. This was
true for all 3 teachers. Consequently, the cognitive level of the procedural lab questions
was usually low. For example, consider these
questions issued by Kelly in the small-group
lab: Are you going to glue that here? Do you
understand what Im talking about up there?
In contrast, questions issued to (primarily
EP) students in Kellys full-class discussions
were more often of a higher cognitive level,
such as, [Can you] give an example in science when a hybrid was created? and What is
this evidence of? The ESL students participated in the lab questions, and the EP students participated more often in the full-class
discussion questions. Consequently, although
the lab sessions appear on the surface to provide an interactive, productive participant
structure for ESL students, the academic and
linguistic value of the content of these
teacher-student interactions was limited. (It
should be noted that although interaction was
occurring between students, particularly on
the lab days, the interaction patterns between
students were not considered for this study,
which focused solely on interactions between
teachers and students.)
For one teacher, Lee, ESL interaction
opportunities were extremely varied within a
participant structure, with full-class discussions varying significantly in their opportunities for ESL interaction. During one full-class
discussion that was highly structured and
routinized, the ESL opportunities were proportionate to the EP opportunities (70 questions to EP students and 17 to ESL students).
This particular discussion, a review for a test,
was a question/answer routine conducted in a
predictable, roundtable fashion, delivered
around the room three times. In contrast, during another of Lees full-class discussions
that was less structured, with Lee asking
questions randomly to the class, ESL students received only one elicitation. For all
three teachers, this random questioning, fullclass discussion format was particularly nonproductive for ESL students.

Explanations for Teacher

Why were these modifications occurring?
Four explanations surface as reasons for
these unwitting teacher modificationsand

Transcript 2
(to ESL students, looking at Sarinas journal; reading
her journal)


mass of the graduated cylinder, mass of ...


the Styrofoam



Styrofoam (pointing to her data chart)

Thats the water?


(nods head yes)


Whats this? (pointing to data chart)




Water and Styrofoam (checking with her)





So the volume of the Styrofoam is 5 milliliters,

so now you have to find out
why dont you just put the Styrofoam on the graduated
cylinder, on the triple beam balance?
Cant you find the mass of this (holding the peanut)
just by going like that? (putting popcorn on balance).






All right,
cause you found the volume of it (pointing to her
So you could just do mass of Styrofoam.



OK. (Sarina rubs her head with confusion or question)

Dont we have to do this three time



Oh, I see, wait, uhm

(looking at chart) you also have to find the mass of
this water.
If you do 80 milliliters of water, find out how much
that, the mass of 80 milliliters of water is.
So you if you find this empty, (referring to the cylinder, pointing to data in her chart) then you can find the
mass of this (referring to the mass of the water).


Am I confusing you?






you know.
But, if youre going to find the mass of this (points to
the popcorn), dry it off with a paper towel. (walks

all four could be addressed through teacher

training programs.
Teachers underestimated the ESL students language competency. During my
interviews with the ESL students, all but two

exhibited the language skills needed to produce extended, high-level cognitive thoughts.
However, these interactions required the
communicative skills of an interviewer
trained in talking with ESL students. The 3

Autumn 1998


teachers had not been trained in L2 development. Consequently, they may have underestimated the ESL students abilities to produce
extended utterances and therefore called on
them less frequently and with fewer openended questions.
Teachers expressed concern with the
amount of time it took ESL students to
respond in teacher-student interactions.
Teachers were concerned with the number of
other students waiting for their attention and
with a predetermined curriculum that they
needed to cover. Another time-related issue
reflected in the observations concerned the
natural pace of talk, which is partly determined by unconscious cultural speech patterns. An example is the 3-second wait time
for an answer to a question that most teachers
observe (Cazden, 1988). With training,
teachers can adjust their internal clocks to
allow for a longer wait time and consequently give ESL students more opportunities to respond.
Teachers wanted to protect the ESL students from any unnecessary embarrassment.
This concern was expressed by the teachers
repeatedly and is understandable. However,
teachers attempts to mitigate embarrassment, by completing students answers or
refraining from asking difficult questions,
ultimately reduce the ESL students opportunities to participate in classroom interaction.
Hatch (1992) has referred to such teacher
modifications as a benevolent conspiracy
(p. 67).
Teachers recognized that the ESL students
did not understand what was going on.
Content teachers who are unfamiliar with
stages of L2 development are unaware of
how long it takes for ESL students to adjust
to the flow of constant, rapid English content.
Strategies exist to help ESL students during
this process, such as pairing them with an EP
student or providing more written information. However, until content teachers are
trained in such strategies, their concern that
their ESL students may be lost, and their consequent avoidance of asking frequent or difficult questions of them, can be expected.

This analysis of content teachers interaction with students demonstrated that ESL students opportunities to talk were limited, due
to teachers increased use of directives and
decreased use of questions, and were less frequent than those of EP students, particularly
in full-class discussions. ESL students
received significantly fewer high-level cognitive and open-ended questions in initiating
and scaffolding moves. In small-group lab
settings, ESL students received increased
opportunities to talk, but the talk was primar-

28 TESOL Journal

ily procedural, not focused on content.

Consequences of these teacher modifications
for ESL students were
restricted opportunities to practice
extended academic talk
limited opportunities to co-construct
ongoing classroom knowledge
marginalized social roles within the classroom
If middle and high school content teachers
are unwittingly reducing ESL students interaction opportunities, expanding current
teacher training agendas to include issues in
L2 development can help teachers learn to
alter their discourse strategies in interaction
with ESL students, thus creating more responsive and productive speech environments.

1 All names are pseudonyms.

Cazden, C. (1988). Classroom discourse:
The language of teaching and learning.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Cole, M., John-Steiner, V., Scribner, S., &
Louberman, E. (Eds. & Trans.). (1978). Mind
in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Green, J., & Harker, J. (1982). Gaining
access to learning: Conversational, social,
and cognitive demands of group participation. In L. Wilkinson (Ed.), Communicating
in the classroom (pp. 183-221). New York:
Academic Press.
Green, M. (1992). The role of teacher language in the education of mainstreamed second language learners of English.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Boston
Hall, J. K. (1993). The role of oral practices in the accomplishment of our everyday
lives: The sociocultural dimension of interaction with implications for the learning of
another language. Applied Linguistics, 14,
Hatch, E. (1992). Discourse and language
University Press.
McLaughlin, B. (1987). Theories of second language learning. Baltimore, MD:
Edward Arnold.
Peyton, J. K., & Adger, C. T. (1998).
Appropriate instruction for English language
learners: Emphasis on oral interaction. In B.
Williams (Ed.), Educating culturally and linguistically diverse students (A professional
inquiry kit). Alexandria, VA: Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Pica, T. (1994). Research on negotiation:

What does it reveal about second language

learning conditions, processes, and outcomes? Language Learning, 44, 493-527.
Schinke-Llano, L. (1983). Foreigner talk
in content classrooms. In H. W. Seliger & M.
H. Long (Eds.), Classroom-oriented research
in second language acquisition (pp. 146168). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible input
and comprehensible output in its development. In S. Gass & C. Madden (Eds.), Input
in second language acquisition (pp. 235257). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Vygotsky, L. (1962/1988). Thought and
language (2nd ed.) (E. Hanfmann & T.
Backer, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wertsch, J. A., & Toma, C. (1990, April).
Discourse and learning in the classroom: A
sociocultural approach. Paper presented at
Visiting Lecturer Series on Constructivism In
Education, University of Georgia, Athens,
Zuengler, J. (1993). Encouraging learners
conversational participation: The effect of
content knowledge. Language Learning, 43,

Lorrie Stoops Verplaetse is assistant professor of English and coordinator of the
MATESOL program at Salisbury State
University, Maryland, in the United States.
Her research interests include analyzing talk
between native and nonnative English speakers and L2 acquisition.

Full Inclusion for Secondary

School ESOL Students: Some
Concerns From Florida
Candace Harper and Elizabeth Platt

he rapid growth in the number of

English language learners in the
public schools is forcing many states
to create policy and implement curriculum and staff development to
address their needs. Influenced by civil rights
and integration issues, ESOL and bilingual
teacher shortages, trends in the field such as
content-based ESOL, and policies at all levels that attempt to provide homogeneous
experiences for an increasingly heterogeneous population, many schools across the
United States are turning to full-time placement of ESOL students in mainstream classrooms. Full inclusion has received the most
attention in the area of special education
(SPED). Although the need to learn English
is, for most students, only a temporary conditionwhereas many disabilities are permanentESOL learners share some of the
instructional needs of SPED learners, such as
the need for contextualized instruction, the
use of multiple modalities, and genuine dialogue with teachers and peers (Cummins,
1984). Thus some instructional arrangements
designed for students with disabilities may be
appropriate for some ESOL students as well.
It remains to be seen, however, whether the
diffusion of ESOL services into the general
education setting will benefit ESOL students.
This article introduces the educational situation in Florida, gives an overview of inclusion as an instructional program model in
SPED and ESOL, and presents our concerns
with the full inclusion of secondary-level

30 TESOL Journal

ESOL students into mainstream programs, as

well as our recommendations for doing this

The Florida Case

In 1990 a group of parents and community leaders representing several minority
groups in Florida brought suit against the
Florida Board of Education for not providing
equal educational opportunity for limited
English proficient (LEP)1 students (LULAC
v. Florida Department of Education, 1990).
The resulting Florida Consent Decree (1990)
mandated several remedies, including staff
development in ESOL instructional strategies
for all personnel teaching LEP students. The
agreement stipulates that teachers must complete 18-300 hours of in-service ESOL training: 300 hours for English language arts
teachers; 60 hours for teachers of math, science, social studies, and computer literacy;
and 18 hours for all other teachers. Following
training, teachers must document the instructional strategies they used with their LEP students, whose progress is monitored at the
school, district, and state levels. Teacher,
school, and district compliance with the consent decree is monitored by the Florida
Department of Education through regular onsite audits.
In order to meet the enormous teacher
training demands of the consent decree, the
Florida Department of Education developed
an extensive ESOL in-service training curriculum (Florida Department of Education,

1992, 1993, 1994) that includes instruction in

linguistics and language acquisition, crosscultural awareness, parent involvement,
assessment, learning styles, and strategies for
adapting materials and instruction. Using a
trainer-of-trainers delivery model, each
school district selects a team of teacher trainers to attend regional workshops to become
familiar with the new ESOL in-service curriculum. These trainers return to their districts and train classroom teachers, usually in
after-school workshops.
Although some attempts have been made
to measure the effectiveness of the required
ESOL training, its long-term effects are still
a matter of speculation. In a statewide survey
of more than 1,000 Florida teachers and
trainers, many teachers reported having
learned a variety of new strategies to bring
back to their classrooms (Harper, 1995).
However, research by Caldern and SpiegelColeman (1984) and Joyce and Showers
(1982) shows very weak carryover effects
from in-service models that have limited
practice, feedback, and follow-up components, as does the Florida model. In addition,
despite an improvement in attitudes toward
and expectations of LEP students, 88% of
trainer and 77% of teacher survey respondents stated that they had concerns about the
ESOL training that they feared could undermine its effectiveness. These concerns
teacher resentment of the mandated training

lack of expertise by district trainers

lack of awareness and support by administrators
Another concern of teachers and trainers
was with the programmatic consequences of
the training, particularly the trend to implement full inclusion for LEP students. For a
variety of reasons, including initiatives in
restructuring and inclusion in SPED at the
school level and advocacy for LEP student
inclusion at the state level, several districts in
Florida have replaced centralized ESOL programs with full inclusion.

Inclusion of Special
Education Students
Although there have been very few studies of LEP students in full inclusion settings,
there has been extensive research on inclusion of another special needs population: students with disabilities. This body of
knowledge is useful in identifying issues that
may arise in the inclusion of LEP students.
Inclusion, or full inclusion, is the practice
of serving special needs students within the
general education setting with all appropriate
services provided in mainstream classrooms
(Ferguson, 1995; Stainback & Stainback,
1984). Results and interpretations of research
on the effectiveness of inclusion with SPED
learners have been mixed (Baker, Wang, &
Walberg, 1994/1995; McLeskey & Waldron,
1995; Zigmond, Jenkins, Fuchs, Deno,
Fuchs, Baker, Jenkins, & Couthino, 1995),
although a number of studies have reported
that teachers do not in fact make many
instructional adaptations to accommodate
SPED learners individual needs in full inclusion settings (Bacon & Schulz, 1991; Baker
& Zigmond, 1990; McIntosh, Vaughn,
Schumm, Haager, & Lee, 1993). This is particularly problematic in secondary schools.
Two studies (Bacon & Schulz, 1991;
Schumm & Vaughn, 1992) have found elementary teachers more willing than secondary teachers to individualize instruction
for mainstreamed students with disabilities,
to believe in the benefits of inclusion, and to
use support staff. One study of 60 K-12
classrooms (McIntosh et al., 1993) revealed
minimal participation by students with learning disabilities, particularly in the middle and
high school grades. These students did not
frequently ask the teacher for help or volunteer to answer questions, and participated less
in teacher-directed activities and interactions
with others.
As a result of the national rush to inclusion in SPED, The American Federation of
Teachers (personal communication, 1993)
called for extreme caution in implementing
inclusion in schools and recommended an

array of services to provide the most appropriate options for individual students.
However, Zigmund and Baker (1996) write
that SPED programs have increasingly
adopted inclusion wholesale rather than using
it in addition to alternative program models.
It is the parallel trend toward replacing a
variety of ESOL support services with inclusion that is of most concern to many ESOL
professionals in Florida.

Concerns With Inclusion for

LEP Students
In Florida, mainstream teachers with the
required ESOL training are considered qualified to teach LEP students in their subject
areas. As a result, school and district administrators are increasingly inclined to integrate
all LEP students with the regular school population rather than offering a continuum of
structured language support. We believe,

direct ESOL instruction may be placed fulltime in mainstream classes with teachers who
have had ESOL training.
In spite of the controversy surrounding
full inclusion of SPED learners, the potential
of inclusive models appeals to many ESOL
educators. Full inclusion of LEP students
promises them, at least superficially, greater
access to the standard curriculum and more
contact with native-English-speaking (NS)
peers and greater opportunities to interact
socially and develop academic language
skills in the content areas. Drawing on past
research on language acquisition and recent
research in Florida secondary schools, we
now examine three assumptions underlying
the decision to follow an inclusion model
with LEP students in Florida. These assumptions are that students will have
comprehensible instruction
opportunities for participation and interaction
an appropriate curriculum

Although comprehensible

Comprehensible Instruction

input and opportunities to use

The first assumption is that mainstream

classrooms allow ESOL learners opportunities for English language input through
instruction in English. Although comprehensible input and opportunities to use language
to negotiate meaning are critical for language
learning, mainstream classrooms may not
provide optimal linguistic and instructional
opportunities for LEP students. Feedback
from training, survey results, and interviews
with ESOL trainers and teachers in Florida
(Harper, 1995) indicate that secondary
school LEP students are often lost among NS
students, and that demands on teachers time
prevent them from adapting instruction to
their LEP students needs. Frequently these
students are intimidated in mainstream classroom settings and are reluctant to draw attention to themselves. Teachers who are
insensitive to their needs or who are unable
to continuously monitor their comprehension
due to large class size and other concerns
may simply overlook them. One middle
school ESOL teacher said that although she
and her colleagues appreciated the value of
inclusion, they felt that it was effective only
for students with at least an intermediate
level of English proficiency (personal communication, July 1995). She believed that
early mainstreaming of LEP students in her
school had caused them to be ignored by
their teachers, and described this phenomenon:

language to negotiate meaning

are critical for language
learning, mainstream
classrooms may not provide
optimal linguistic and
instructional opportunities for
LEP students.

however, that inclusion programs for LEP

students are most appropriate when offered
in conjunction with other program options.
Students with low levels of oral or written
English proficiency need access to L1 or
ESOL instruction and sheltered content
classes. Such direct language support should
be provided until a students English language proficiency and academic achievement
indicate that a transition to mainstream
classes is possible. Students with high levels
of English proficiency and less need for

You can ask the mainstream teachers

about them [LEP students], and you
dont know its the same child from
the description of the mainstream

Autumn 1998


teacher. They dont know the child has

a personality or certain characteristics
... Theyll say Raoul? Well, he sits
there, he doesnt say a word. He hasnt
said a word in my class all year.
Whereas this kid was almost a behavior problem in my class ... They [mainstream teachers] have got 40-minute
time slots, 250 kids ... And a lot of
them will tell us that they are not even
aware if a LEP student is in their class.
(Personal communication, July, 1995)
A Florida high school teacher and trainer

One middle school ESOL

teacher said that although she
and her colleagues
appreciated the value of
inclusion, they felt that it was
effective only for students
with at least an intermediate
level of English proficiency.

make that input comprehensible without doing an injustice to the other kids
that are there. (Harper, 1995, pp. 1920)
Although teachers often adapt their
instruction to a wide range of abilities in a
classroom, many are unprepared or unwilling
to make the changes necessary to provide
comprehensible instruction for the LEP students in their content classes. One secondary
school teacher in Florida, although generally
supportive of his districts implementation of
inclusion, wrote of the challenges of the lecture-oriented, teacher-centered environment
of the high school (Silver, 1997). He
explained that many high school teachers
resist efforts to create interdisciplinary units
and to use more interactive teaching strategies in their content classes:
I have witnessed many ESOL students
sitting at their desks, desperately
attempting to understand the teacher
and take notes at the same time, while
the teacher is sitting on his stool lecturing. Such teachers ordinarily make no
use of visual representations and fail to
monitor word choice and sentence
order, to use media manipulatives or
prereading activities, or to build background knowledge. (p. 6)

Opportunities for
Participation and

reported that sheltered content classes in his

district had been cited in a state audit to be in
violation of students rights to equal access to
the curriculum because the teachers were certified in ESOL but not appropriately certified
in the content areas (Harper, 1995). He worried about the consequences of the full inclusion policy that followed for students with
very low English proficiency, even when
their teachers had received the required
ESOL training. His concerns reflect those of
many teachers who are frustrated by the
inclusion in their classes of students with low
English proficiency or literacy levels:
I understand that you have to have
equal access and civil rights, but no
amount of modification is going to
make the input comprehensible when
that child does not understand Whats
your name? Im sorry. The best
teacher in the world will not be able to

32 TESOL Journal

Another assumption about the benefits of

full inclusion in mainstream classrooms is
that LEP students will have more opportunities for interaction with English-speaking
peers. However, a longitudinal study of LEP
students in a California high school found
that opportunities for production, interaction,
and socialization into the all-English environment went largely unrealized (Harklau,
1994a). The mainstream teachers in
Harklaus study called on the LEP students
less frequently than the other students, allowing them to remain passive and silent in
class. The LEP students opportunities to talk
with and receive feedback from NSs were
also limited, depending on the subject area
and level of the class. Low-level classes, into
which LEP students are frequently placed
because of their low English proficiency,
offered the fewest opportunities for student
interaction and extended spoken or written
discourse because teacher-centered instruction and individual seat work activities dominated class time. Placement in low-track
classes with low-achieving NSs who had
very different interaction styles, attitudes
toward school and teachers, and views of
appropriate behavior did not encourage

socialization between the two groups.

In a case study of a middle school student
with very low English proficiency in a full
inclusion setting in Florida, Copenhaver
(1995) observed that this student, who was
quite outgoing and sociable among his NS
peers outside class, became withdrawn and
uncommunicative in his mainstream English
and social studies classes. Considered a
gifted student in his home country, he was
now effectively excluded from class discussions and never singled out by his teachers to
answer questions. His teachers rarely used
cooperative groups, and he avoided participation in whole-class activities, preferring
instead to work independently on assignments occasionally prepared for him by the
ESL resource teacher. Copenhaver notes that
this student began to show signs of frustration and boredom during class, such as making noises, breaking pencils, and playing
with objects on his desk. Brozo (1990)
describes this behavior as hiding out, a phenomenon in which poor readers avoid eye
contact with the teacher, sit in the back of the
class, and stall or disrupt instruction. Lacking
instruction at their level of English language
and literacy, LEP students often fail to participate meaningfully in mainstream classrooms
and thus resort to such coping strategies.

Appropriate Curriculum
A third assumption about full inclusion
for LEP students is that they will have
greater access to the mainstream academic
curriculum than they would in ESOL classes.
Unfortunately, the traditional emphasis in
ESOL classes on social skills, cultural adjustment, and nonacademic content (e.g., autobiographies and holiday narratives) has led
some students and teachers to view ESOL as
less serious and important than other areas of
the curriculumand to look to inclusion as
the answer to LEP students academic needs.
In many programs serving LEP students,
direct ESOL support is withdrawn in math,
science, and eventually social studies as students English language skills improve
(Crawford, 1989). However, even when students are mainstreamed in other subjects,
ESOL instruction in English language arts
often continues because the reading and writing skills required in a typical secondary
English language arts class are considered to
be among the most demanding for LEP learners. During a year-long case study of four
secondary school LEP students in New
Hampshire, Fu (1995) noted that teachers and
students were frustrated in mainstream
classes for which the LEP students were
unprepared. Fu concluded that the secondary
school English curriculum in this school was
inappropriate for these students because of its

emphasis on mechanics and decontextualized

vocabulary study, excessive use of worksheets focusing on details in assigned readings, and emphasis on formal accuracy in
writing assignments.
Harklau (1994b) also found that English
language arts teachers in particular failed to
provide the type of curriculum and feedback
necessary for LEP students because they did
not understand the processes and stages of L2
development or the ways that LEP learners
needs differ from those of NSs. Teachers
inadequate knowledge of linguistics also left
them unable to effectively address the nonnative grammar problems common to LEP students. A Florida teacher and trainer argued
that high school English teachers are typically unprepared to teach nonliterate learners,
who make up an increasingly large proportion of the secondary school LEP student
population in Florida (Harper, 1995). She
attributed this to the different professional
preparation of ESOL and regular English
teachers at the secondary school level, the
latter having focused more on literature study
and less on language and literacy development.
In her case study of an LEP student in a
Florida middle school, Copenhaver (1995)
found that although the students teachers
had received the required ESOL training,
they rarely adapted their instruction for him.
When teachers did provide alternative assignments, they were unrelated to course content
and were intended to be completed independently. Copenhaver writes:
Although inclusion is the official
ESOL policy in this school, [this student] and his peers have been kept out
of the mainstream, either by being
completely responsible for a nonadapted curriculum such as in his
social studies class, or by being given
alternative vocabulary assignments
exclusively, as happens in his English
class. He has not really been given the
opportunity to participate in either
class. (p. 53)

Conditions for Successful

Having identified some of the ways that
full inclusion may fail to provide optimal language and content learning environments for
secondary school LEP students, we look
again to the SPED literature to suggest conditions for the successful implementation of
inclusion with ESOL students.
The Council for Learning Disabilities
(1993) warned that inclusion of SPED students should not advance the goal of social
integration at the cost of appropriate, com-

prehensible instruction and academic

achievement for learners with special needs.
Bricker (1995) also points to the dangers of a
movement toward full inclusion when the
primary goal is advocacy for a specific program model rather than for individual students. Student advocacy requires choosing

Low-level classes, into which

LEP students are frequently
placed because of their low
English proficiency, offered the
fewest opportunities for
student interaction and
extended spoken or written
discourse because teachercentered instruction and
individual seat work activities
dominated class time.

program models based not merely on students right to be placed in the mainstream
classroom but on their abilities to participate
meaningfully in classroom activities. After
more than 25 years of experience with inclusion of SPED students, Bricker states,
Perhaps the most important lesson we
should have learned is that inclusion should
be seen as a complex construct whose value
lies in its sensible application, not its wholesale advocacy (p. 183). Bricker states that
the following four conditions are essential to
successful full inclusion of children with disabilities:
1. appropriate curricula
2. teacher training
3. adequate resources
4. positive teacher attitudes
These conditions can also serve as guidelines for the successful inclusion of LEP stu-

dents, providing them with comprehensible

instruction, opportunities to participate and
interact, and an appropriate curriculum.

Appropriate Curricula
Many secondary school LEP students
enter schools at lower levels of literacy and
content mastery than their NS peers.
Although they may be unable to bridge this
gap quickly, they should ultimately acquire
the same concepts and skills. Integrated language and content instruction can help LEP
students develop the academic language necessary to understand and express essential
concepts at the appropriate grade (Chamot &
OMalley, 1987; Mohan, 1986; Snow, Met,
& Genesee, 1989). An appropriate curriculum for LEP students should not differ substantively from the regular academic
curriculum but must be flexible and adaptive
to a students English language proficiency,
literacy level, and prior educational experience. Special attention is needed in the area
of English language arts, where LEP students needs can differ from those of NSs
and where curricular options are warranted,
such as basic literacy instruction or the use of
adapted or alternative texts or reading assignments. Anstrom (1997) provides excellent
guidelines for content teachers with LEP students.
Thematic links across subject areas are
generally considered helpful for ESOL learners (Enright & McCloskey, 1988; Garcia,
1988, 1991). However, because the high
school curriculum is specialized and the
structure and schedule of high schools are
rigid (Minicucci & Olsen, 1992), integrating
instruction across content areas is more challenging at secondary than at elementary levels. There are, however, innovative
whole-school projects such as the Learning
Communities program in Pasco County,
Florida, that encourage teacher collaboration
and interdisciplinary instruction and can help
to make the high school curriculum more
comprehensible to LEP learners (Silver,
1997). In addition, a teacher training package
addressing the academic language needs of
secondary school LEP students has recently
been completed and will be useful for teachers in schools that have adopted inclusion
(Florida Department of Education & Center
for Applied Linguistics, 1997). This package
includes a practice component in which
teachers work with colleagues from other
content areas or with ESOL teachers to
develop language-sensitive materials with
thematic links across subject areas.

Teacher Training
Providing comprehensible instruction and
effective language learning conditions for
Autumn 1998


LEP students in inclusion settings requires

highly skilled teachers. They must
use their students linguistic and cultural
differences effectively in the classroom
structure groups and tasks that promote
active learning and focused interaction
monitor their LEP students language
development and academic achievement
know how to modify their own language
use, teaching strategies, and materials in
their content classrooms
Varying question types according to lan-

Student advocacy requires

choosing program models
based not merely on students
right to be placed in the
mainstream classroom but on
their abilities to participate
meaningfully in classroom

guage level, increasing wait time for

answers, developing students background
knowledge, using visuals, peer teaching, and
cooperative learning are techniques that can
help LEP students in large, mixed-level
classes. Content teachers must also recognize
the specific language demands of their subjects and set language and content objectives
for their LEP students.
To meet teachers professional development needs, Milk, Mercado, and Sapiens
(1992) discuss the importance of reflective,
team-based approaches to staff development.
A strong, relevant teacher training program
with an integral practice component must be
accompanied by ongoing follow-up support.
Peer coaching is one method to increase
implementation of new teaching techniques
(Caldern & Spiegel-Coleman, 1984; Joyce
& Showers, 1982; Kwiat, 1989) and to
encourage collegial relationships between

34 TESOL Journal

ESOL and mainstream teachers and across

subject areas (Galbraith & Anstrom, 1995).
Finally, needs-based training goals and
ESOL teacher leadership in planning staff
development are other ways to strengthen
teacher training for inclusion. (See also
Gonzlez & Darling-Hammond, 1997;
Jaramillo, this issue.)

Adequate Resources
Another component of effective inclusion
is the strategic use of the ESOL specialist to
support students and teachers in adapting
curriculum and planning and delivering
instruction. Ideally, support staff should
include teachers and aides who speak the L1s
of the LEP students and are regularly available in the classroom. But there may be problems associated with this arrangement. In
some Florida districts that have abandoned
ESOL pullout programs, ESOL teachers have
been reassigned to noninstructional support
roles for which they may not be well prepared. Harper (1995) reports that several
ESOL resource teachers found that their new
roles were unclear. They were reluctant to
approach their mainstream colleagues, some
of whom already resented the required ESOL
training. Davison (1992) offers suggestions
for support and team teaching, such as starting with a receptive mainstream teacher,
clearly defining each teachers responsibilities, developing reasonable expectations, and
sharing information with other teachers about
successes and failures. If such teacher collaboration is to work, frequent and regularly
scheduled (i.e., weekly) opportunities to confer must also be provided. Platt (1992) discusses the important role of the ESOL
resource teacher as a language development
specialist and not merely assistant to the content teacher. Crandall (1998) and Sakash and
Rodriguez-Brown (1995) describe additional
ways that ESOL/bilingual and mainstream
teachers can cooperate to integrate LEP students successfully into mainstream classes.
Limited class size is another important
condition for successful inclusion. There is
no magic number beyond which classroom
management issues are likely to dominate a
teachers energy and focus; however, many
Florida teachers reported that large classes
significantly reduced their overall instructional effectiveness and ability to focus on
individual students needs (Harper, 1995).
Orientation programs for new LEP students and ongoing support to help them
understand and integrate fully into the academic and social life of the school are important resources for inclusion, as are materials
in the students L1, buddy systems, and peer
support groups (Lucas, 1996). Bilingual
counselors and career advisors should be

available, as well as tutoring and special sessions on study and research skills. ESOL
learners should be actively recruited for
school activities, and special home-community involvement initiatives should be pervasive and long-term (Lucas, Henze, & Donato,

Positive Teacher Attitudes

We believe that teacher attitudes are key
to the success of any instructional program.
In their study of effective schools for secondary school ESOL students, Lucas, Henze,
and Donato (1990) found that the most successful teachers were those who valued their
students languages and cultures, held high
expectations and standards for them, and had
an active commitment to their success.
Commenting on the strong teacher initiatives
in place in his school, one principal said,
You can force compliance, but you cant
force commitment (p. 330).
Our survey results and interviews with
Florida teachers found that many feel frustrated by court mandates and state audits to
monitor compliance with the consent decree
(Harper, 1995). They feel that they have little
say in school decisions to adopt or discard an
instructional program, and often perceive
administrators as uninformed about ESOL or
generally out of touch with the realities of the
classroom. Although school and district
administrators play key roles in determining
program options and placement procedures
for LEP students (Garcia, 1991; Minicucci &
Olsen, 1992), the consent decree does not
require specific ESOL training for administrators, although some administrators have
voluntarily participated in ESOL training.
Uninformed leadership and teachers resentment over status and power issues can undermine even the best efforts to provide
appropriate curriculum, resources, and staff
development for inclusion. Therefore, district
and school administrators must be aware of
LEP students needs.
Teachers must share in important decision
making related to school policy and curriculum issues, resources, and the professional
development needed to implement effective
programs in their schools. Teachers and
schools must be allowed to choose the combination of program options that best serve
their ESOL student populationsfrom bilingual programs to welcome or newcomer centers to pullout ESOL and sheltered content
classes to full inclusion (August & Hakuta,
1997; Lessow-Hurley, 1990; Lucas, 1996).

We have two primary concerns with the
implementation of full inclusion for LEP stu-

dents. First, because a full inclusion model

may not adequately serve all learners, it is
important that full inclusion not preempt
other instructional programs that appear to be
effectively serving their intended purpose.
Full inclusion should be one alternative
among others, appropriate to a schools

There is no magic number

beyond which classroom
management issues are likely
to dominate a teachers
energy and focus; however,
many Florida teachers
reported that large classes
significantly reduced their
overall instructional
effectiveness and ability to
focus on individual students

changing needs. Second, we do not assume

that the regular classroom provides a naturally superior environment for language
learners. Goldenberg (1991), Tharpe and
Gallimore (1988), and others have raised
concerns about the recitation script (pp. 1415) that is prevalent in Americas classrooms. We believe that the critical issue is
not the setting in which the student is placed
but rather the nature of instruction within it.
Full inclusion of LEP students has great
potential in that school resources are shared
more fully among all students, and responsibility for LEP students learning is shared
among all teachers. Full and successful participation in school should be educators goal
for all ESOL learners. The challenge is to
balance support for each students language

development with a rigorous academic program. As schools struggle to serve increasingly diverse populations with decreasing
resources, the temptation is strong to adopt
new programs without providing the conditions necessary for their success. It is therefore imperative that ESOL professionals and
general educators work together as informed,
equal partners toward common goals.

1 Limited English proficient, or LEP, is
the official designation in Florida for English
language learners whose oral or written language skills in English have been assessed as
restricted and in need of further development.

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rationale for the merger of special and regular education. Exceptional Children, 51, 102111.
Tharpe, R., & Gallimore, R. (1988).
R o u s i n g m i n d s t o l i f e . Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
Zigmond, N., & Baker, J. (1996). Full
inclusion for students with learning disabilities: Too much of a good thing? Theory Into
Practice, 35, 26-34.
Zigmond, N., Jenkins, J., Fuchs, L. S.,
Deno, S., Fuchs, D., Baker, J. N., Jenkins, L.,
& Couthino, M. (1995). Special education in
restructured schools: Findings from three
multi-year studies. Phi Delta Kappan, 76,

Candace Harper is currently on leave
from the University of Florida, in the United
States, and is teaching English for academic
study in Australia. She has worked closely
with ESL teachers and teacher educators
throughout Florida and has been involved in
ESL issues for the past 20 years.
Elizabeth Platt is associate professor in
multilingual/multicultural education in the
College of Education at Florida State
University, in the United States, with interests in L2 acquisition and mainstream classroom-based language learning at elementary
and secondary levels.

Submission Procedure

Cultural Differences in
Conceptions of Disability:
Central America and the
Shana R. Grossman

Conceptualizations of special
education (SPED) and disability
may differ across cultures in ways
that affect recent immigrants from
these regions in U.S. secondary
schools. Although the focus here is on
Central American and Caribbean students,
the issues may apply to students from other
regions of the world as well. This article discusses the nature of SPED in Central
America and the Caribbean, including policies, programs, definitions, and attitudes
regarding disabilities, and highlights factors
in mainstream education that may be related
to U.S. educators perceptions of disabilities.
It also offers recommendations for U.S. educators, especially ESL teachers.

The ethnic composition of the U.S. student population is changing. Non-White
(African American, Hispanic, and Asian)
minorities are quickly becoming the majority
in many public schools. In 1994-1995, nonWhite minorities made up 34% of public
school enrollment. It is projected that by
2026, the non-White population will constitute 70% of public school enrollment.
Twenty-five percent of the total in 2026 will
be recent immigrants who are learning
English, and 77% of these students will be

38 TESOL Journal

Hispanic (Figueroa & Garcia, 1994; Garcia,

Much of the research on educating immigrant students focuses on instruction and
assessment in the United States and does not
describe educational practices in students
countries of origin. This omission is high-

Usually the problem

is assumed to lie
within the student
and not within the

lighted when students are referred for SPED

assessment because of apparent learning
problems. Without information about the
sociocultural and educational contexts from
which they came, it can be difficult to distinguish disability from other factors. Because

values and beliefs related to disability are

cultural, not universal, in nature (Harry,
1992, p. 23), a cross-cultural comparison of
the nature of SPED and disability may help
to inform educational practice.
It is useful to reflect on cultural biases
before examining a different cultural perspective (Spindler & Spindler, 1994). The
prevailing understanding of disability in the
United States grows out of a medical model
that assumes that a students difficulty with
learning can be identified, diagnosed, and
treated (Figueroa & Garcia, 1994). Usually
the problem is assumed to lie within the student and not within the system. However, as
researchers have pointed out, there is no
physiological proof that mild disabilities
even exist (Rueda, 1989). Labeling theory
posits that all labels are socially constructed
and not intrinsic to the individual (Smith,
Osborne, Crim, & Rhu, 1986). Applying
labeling theory to learning disabilities, Smith
and colleagues discovered that local school
officials and parents of learning disabled students in a school district in the Southwest
had conflicting definitions of learning disabilities and that their definitions differed
from the official school system guidelines
and those used in the professional literature.
Even though the official criteria disqualified
environmental, cultural, and economic disad-

vantages as factors in the identification of

learning disabilities, school personnel used
these criteria in making judgments about
learning disabilities. It became clear that they
assumed that most students with learning disabilities came from poor or low-income class
families, were African American, and were
products of poor home environments
(Smith et al., 1986, p. 198). Elsewhere ethnicity, school failure, and SPED placement
have been consistently correlated (Artiles,
1994). Thus, labeling a child as learning disabled has become a new way of segregating
minorities in U.S. public schools and reproducing the socioeconomic class structure
(Ogbu, 1993).
Illustrating the social construction of disability, Mehan (1992) refers to a study showing that Catholic schools had no mentally
retarded students. Students with IQs that
would qualify them for mental retardation in
the public schools were not considered mentally retarded in the Catholic schools, which
did not have SPED referral procedures.
Without a socially constructed lens through
which to see the students, the students
behavior was not viewed as retarded
unusual, to be sure, but not retarded (p. 12).

Special Education and

Disability in Central
America and the Caribbean
In Central America and the Caribbean,
disability and education for individuals with
disabilities are socially constructed differently from the way they are they are in the

The childs happiness

may be a higher
priority than it is in
the United States,
(where independence
is valued), and the
disabled child is
considered part of
the extended family
and community.

United States. This section highlights cultural

differences that may lead to conflict and miscommunication between U.S. educators and
Central American and Caribbean families in
U.S. schools.

Severe Disabilities
Understandings of what constitutes disability are quite variable. The Puerto Rican
mother of a child labeled mentally retarded in
a U.S. school commented:
for me retarded is crazy, in Spanish
thats retardado. For me the word
handicapped means a person who is
incapacitated, like mentally, or missing
a leg, or who is blind and deaf, who
cannot work and cannot do anything ...
but for Americans handicapped is
everybody. (Harry, 1992, p. 147)
Harry adds that traditional Spanish does
not distinguish between mental illness and
intellectual impairment.
The United Nations Decade of Persons
with Disabilities (1983-1992) spurred many
of the countries in Central America and the
Caribbean to sponsor public awareness campaigns about disabilities. An increase in public awareness has led to greater integration of
disabled people into the workforce but has
not been particularly effective in changing
attitudes across the board (Lacal, 1993).
According to a group of Central American
and Caribbean SPED teacher trainees
(Harris-Stowe State College students, 1994),
people in these regions with disabilities are
regarded with fear, viewed as helpless, social
misfits, and sometimes kept hidden, which
may be one reason for a lack of information
on incidence. Religious beliefs may lead
families of disabled children to look toward
supernatural explanations for a disability
(Harry, 1992). Families may delay seeking
medical care and value the opinions of significant others over the diagnosis of medical or
school professionals (Frieden, 1993).
Although these attitudes may appear negative, the Central American and Caribbean
perspective on disability has positive aspects
as well. Religious beliefs may help the family accept a severe disability. A strong sense
of family, which may initially make acceptance of a disability difficult because it links
the disability to the entire family (Harry,
1992), also leads to greater protectiveness of
the disabled child. The childs happiness may
be a higher priority than it is in the United
States, (where independence is valued), and
the disabled child is considered part of the
extended family and community. In Central
America and the Caribbean, the informal,
private system rather than the government
provides support for disabled individuals
(Frieden, 1993).

Central American and Caribbean SPED

services also differ from those in the United
States. They are geared toward physical disabilities, including war injuries, blindness or
deafness, and severe mental retardation
(Lacal, 1993). Students are served in segregated SPED schools, where they are separated by mental ability, as opposed to
disability. Generally there is a lack of government funding and legislation for SPED,
and most funding for these schools comes
from nongovernmental sources, including
churches, private individuals, local community organizations such as the Rotary Club,
and world relief organizations. There are few
trained SPED teachers, and services are limited, often concentrated in urban areas
(Harris-Stowe State College students, 1994;

Mild Disabilities
Mild disabilities (e.g., mild mental retardation, emotional disturbances, speech and
language impairments) are not considered
disabilities in Central America and the
Caribbean. As in the case of the Catholic
schools cited by Mehan (1992), there is no
mild disabilities category. Because an educated person is assumed to have appropriate
social skills, children who do not excel academically are not usually considered disabled
if they can behave according to social norms.
Academic prowess is not considered as crucial as social competence. Thus labeling an
individual disabled in a U.S. school may be
seen from a Central American or Caribbean
perspective as inappropriate if the problem is
solely related to academics and does not
affect the childs functioning in the home
environment. A child may be seen as slower,
and needing extra help, but not disabled
(Harry, 1992).
In Central America and the Caribbean,
then, learning disabilities are not diagnosed.
Students who are considered slow may be
grouped in a class for slow learners but not
labeled disabled. Education follows an unofficial inclusion policy, except that teachers
do not individualize instruction (HarrisStowe State College students, 1994).
Students considered slow learners are kept in
the same grade until they meet the educational objectives of that grade level

General Education
Socioeconomic factors in Central
American and Caribbean general education
may lead U.S. educators to assume incorrectly that immigrants from these regions
have learning disabilities. Although enrollment in primary education has increased,
rural and indigenous populations still face

Autumn 1998


problems gaining access to basic education.

Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds may enter school at ages 6-8 and
drop out at age 13 or 14, when they can start
to work regularly. Another factor is temporary dropout: Students attend school for part
of the year and then leave to work, usually in
harvesting, and repeat the same grade when
they return (UNESCO/UNICEF, 1993).
Repetition of grades is common in Central
America and the Caribbean. A
UNESCO/UNICEF report (1993) notes that
The average student remains in the six
grades of primary school for 6.8 years, but
advances 4.2 grades (p. 7).
Other constraints compromise the quality
of Central American and Caribbean general
education, such as a lack of trained teachers,
decreasing teachers wages, a shortage of
textbooks and equipment, a 3- or 4-hour
school day, large class sizes, a lack of childrens literature, and a decline in public
spending on education (Temple, Hache de
UNESCO/UNICEF, 1993). In the Dominican
Republic, for example, classrooms are typically crowded, school meets for 4 hours per
day, and teachers often strike to protest their
low pay and lack of benefits. Parents must

Because an educated
person is assumed to
have appropriate
social skills, children
who do not excel
academically are not
usually considered
disabled if they can
behave according to
social norms.
Academic prowess is
not considered as
crucial as social

40 TESOL Journal

pay for books and uniforms; otherwise, children are not permitted to attend school
(Luna, Gonzalez, & Wolfe, 1990; Monahan,
1994; Temple et al., 1993). Only 7% of students who enter Grade 1 complete Grade 8 in
8 years (Luna, Gonzalez, & Wolfe, 1990).
Only 5 in every 100 students finish secondary school, and more than 11% of
Dominicans do not go to school at all
(Monahan, 1994).

Recommendations for
Assessment of Learning
The SPED assessment process in the
United States can be problematic with
English learners from other countries.
Psychometric tests given to these students in
English are basically tests of English language proficiency (Cummins, 1984; Figueroa
& Garcia, 1994). Assessment measures in the
students L1 are invalid if the characteristics
of the norming population do not match the
students, if cultural biases persist in the
translation, or if the dialect used is different
than the students (ERIC, 1989). Finally,
most assessments do not separate language,
culture, and disability factors (Cloud, 1993;
Rueda, 1989). ESL advocates instead recommend informal assessments before referral
that focus on intervention and are designed to
uncover problems within the system. These
approaches include prereferral checklists
with questions regarding the curriculum and
instruction, or a flowchart of steps to take
prior to the SPED referral. Such techniques
often consider cultural difference and language acquisition factors (Cummins, 1984).
Jacob, Johnson, Finley, Gurski, and
Lavine (1996) recommend a cultural inquiry
process, in which a team of educators uses
anthropological techniques to analyze puzzlements and come up with interventions to
help students succeed in U.S. schools. If this
process could be institutionalized for all
recent immigrant students, many inappropriate referrals to SPED could be avoided.

Communication With Central

American and Caribbean
Because Central American and Caribbean
cultures do not recognize mild disabilities,
parents from these cultures may interpret
such a label as a message that their child is
crazy, lazy, or misbehaved. Believing that
any label reflects on the family, parents may
discipline the child for not performing well in
school. The child may be even sent back to
the country of origin to a friend or family

member who will keep a tighter rein on the

On the other hand, if not approached sensitively, parents may discount the input of the
school professional altogether. Because
informal and community-based relationships
are more highly valued in either culture, parents may view the school professional as a
distant authority. In this case, parents may be
polite but noncooperative.
Researchers highlight the importance of
developing direct personal relationships with
Central American and Caribbean parents
over the long term, through home visits and
follow-up telephone calls (Harry, 1992).
School systems may want to create positions
for community liaisons to fill this role, or
modify the job descriptions of teachers, guidance counselors, and special educators so that
they can establish these connections.
Communication will be enhanced by staff
who speak recent immigrants L1, are from
the same cultures, or are familiar with the
Central American and Caribbean cultures.
Recruiting parents and community members
as instructional assistants and supporting
them in getting their teaching or counseling
credentials will go a long way toward
improving communication.

Programs and Methods

Because there is unofficial inclusion
throughout Central America and the
Caribbean, including students with disabilities in general education (i.e., mainstream,
bilingual, and ESL classes) in the United
States will be the most natural transition for
them and their families. Many researchers
recommend an undifferentiated service-delivery system (Rueda, 1989), which does not
separate but rather calls for collaboration
among service providers from ESL, SPED,
and regular education. At the least, special
educators should have ESL instructional
assistants in their classrooms as needed, and
ESL or bilingual educators should have
SPED instructional assistants in their classrooms as needed. Instruction should be culturally familiar to students, with information
presented in context, focusing on meaning,
and with students encouraged to work cooperatively (Harry, 1992). Because personal
relationships are so important in Central
American and Caribbean cultures, teachers
should devote time to developing a respectful, positive, and supportive classroom environment.

U.S. educators should bear in mind that
immigrant students are coming from school
systems that are significantly different from
those of the United States. Educators should

consider cultural factors in seeking to determine whether students have a disability.

Most importantly, they should realize that
there are different cultural perceptions of the
nature of disability and appropriate education
for students with disabilitiesand should
keep these differences in mind when communicating with families. Educators should not
assume that the model of SPED in the United
States is the only model. Rather, they can
learn from other countries models so that all
students receive the services they need without being labeled needlessly.

Artiles, A. J. (1994). Overrepresentation
of minority students in SPED: A continuing
debate. Journal of Special Education, 27,
Cloud, N. (1993). Language, culture, and
disability: Implications for instruction and
teacher preparation. Teacher Education and
Special Education, 16, 60-72.
Cummins, J. (1984). Bilingualism and
SPED: Issues in assessment and pedagogy.
Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.
Harris-Stowe State College students.
(1994, March). Educating the special child in
the Caribbean and Central America. Paper
presented at the annual conference of the
Missouri Federation of the Council for
Exceptional Children. St. Louis, MO: HarrisStowe State College. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No. ED 377 596)
ERIC Clearinghouse on handicapped and
gifted children. (1989). Research and
resources on SPED. (Abstract 23). Reston,
VA: The Council on Exceptional Children.
Figueroa, R. A., & Garcia, E. (1994).
Issues in testing students from culturally and
diverse backgrounds.
Multicultural Education, 2, 10-18.
Frieden, L. (1993). Awareness of disability: Attitudes and policies affecting people
with disabilities in the Western Hemisphere.
Paper presented at the Western Hemisphere
Conference on Persons with Disabilities,
Washington, DC. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No. ED 366 130)
Garcia, E. (1995). The impact of linguistic
and cultural diversity on Americas schools:
A need for a new policy. In M. C. Wang &
M. C. Reynolds (Eds.), Making a difference
for students at risk (pp. 162-185). Thousand
Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Harry. B. (1992). Cultural diversity, families, and the SPED system. New York:
Teachers College Press.
Jacob, E., Johnson, B. K., Finley, J.,
Gurski, J. C., & Lavine, R. S. (1996). One
student at a time: The cultural inquiry process. Middle Schoal Journal, 27 (4), 29-35.

Lacal, A. Z. (1993). Rehabilitation in Latin

America: Accomplishments in the last decade.
Keynote address at the Western Hemisphere
Conference on Persons With Disabilities,
Washington, D C . ( E R I C D o c u m e n t
Reproduction Service No. ED 366 130)
Luna, E., Gonzalez, S., & Wolfe, R.
(1990, July/August). The underdevelopment
of educational achievement: Mathematics
achievement in the Dominican Republic
eighth grade. Journal of Curriculum Studies,
22, 361-376.
Mehan, H. (1992). Understanding
inequality in schools: The contribution of
interpretive studies. Sociology of Education,
65, 1-20.
Monahan, T. (1994). Physical education
in the Dominican Republic. (ERIC Document
Reproduction Service No. ED 370 952)
Ogbu, J. U. (1993). FrameworksVariability in minority school performance:
A problem in search of an explanation. In E.
Jacob & C. Jordan (Eds.), Minority education: Anthropological perspectives (pp. 83111). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Rueda, R. (1989). Defining mild disabilities with language minority students.
Exceptional Children, 56, 121-128.

Smith, R. W., Osborne, L. T., Crim, D., &

Rhu, A. H. (1986). Labeling theory as
applied to learning disabilities: Survey findings and policy suggestions. Journal of
Learning Disabilities, 19, 195-202.
Spindler, G., & Spindler, L. (Eds.).
(1994). Pathways to cultural awareness:
Cultural therapy with teachers and students.
Thousand Oaks: CA: Corwin Press.
Temple, C., Hache de Yunn, A. M., &
Montenegro, L. (1993). Transplanting literacy methods across cultures: A case study in
the Dominican Republic. The Reading
Teacher, 47, 264-266.
UNESCO/UNICEF. (1993). Preschool
and basic education in Latin America and the
Caribbean. Chile: Regional Office for
Education in Latin America and the
Caribbean. (ERIC Document Reproduction
Service No. ED 371 869)

Shana Grossman teaches ESL at
Montgomery Blair High School in Maryland,
in the United States, and is completing a PhD
in education at George Mason University.
Her areas of interest are ESL/bilingual
SPED, Dominican teenagers with interrupted
education, and educational anthropology.

from the

Semantic Maps
Joan Parker Webster

Educators can and do create structures

that promote achievement, but students
themselves can design their own enriching learning experiences as well.
Semantic Maps generated by Joan
Parker Websters students serve as a
prewriting framework for brainstorming
and organizing ideas. Using Search
Engines With ESL Students, Joan
Schneider Kantors class works together
on-line to create a customized list of
search terms and research topics.
Bridget Fitzgerald Gerstens Culture
Clubs allow ESL and mainstream students to share their cultural practices,
languages, and life experiences. In Pen
Pal Journals, by Sally Winn, ESL students correspond with college-age students and receive an inside glimpse of
academic life after high school and
encouragement to continue their studies.

Sample Bookmark

Book/Story Title: Heroines:

Great Women Through the Ages
Author: Rebecca Hazell

Many secondary school students learning

English find it difficult to express their
knowledge and ideas, even if they have ageappropriate content knowledge and schooling. This is especially true when these
students are assigned specific writing topics.
Confronting a blank page can be a challenge
for native speakers of English; therefore,
imagine the difficulty and frustration that
nonnative speakers experience when asked to
write a descriptive paragraph or a summary
of a text.
To help a group of English learners at a
vocational trade school overcome their writing anxiety and generate ideas on paper, I
introduced the strategy of semantic mapping,
also called webbing (Bromley, 1996). The
students, recent immigrants aged 17-19, were
in an extension program for students needing
extra help in reading and writing in English.
Although all students had a high degree of
oral fluency in English, the average level of
reading comprehension was between Grades
3 and 4. Writing in English had involved
completing fill-in-the-blank or short-answer
comprehension questions, and students had
usually copied answers verbatim from the

42 TESOL Journal

One of the challenges of working with
secondary school ESL students is finding
reading material at their level with interesting
and age-appropriate subject matter. I used the
genre of biography and had students create
character maps of traits or events related to
the main character of the story.
First, I read aloud Anna Akhmatova
(Hazell, 1996), and then I had students read
the story silently. During their independent
reading, they wrote on a bookmark I gave
them words from the text that described or
told something about the character (see sample, right).
After the reading, students created a character map on the chalkboard. They wrote the
characters name in a center square, and each
student contributed a word or phrase to the
map (see the illustration on p. 43).
Using words and phrases from the map, I
demonstrated that sentences were easily composed by adding a verb, using a pronoun, or
simply connecting the center word to a
phrase from the map (e.g., Anna Akhmatova
+ was + (a) poet). Students then wrote two
of their own sentences. After sharing their

Character: Anna Akhmatova

As you read, write words or
phrases that describe or tell
something about the main
character in this biography.
Include the page number.
1. well known poet in Russia
p. 56
2. poemsterrible times during
fearful Russian Revolution
p. 56
3. poetry was condemned
it was banned
p. 56
4. friends and family were
arrested, prison camps,
or shot
p. 56

writing with a classmate, students volunteered to read their sentences to the class.

Sample Character Map

Follow-Up Activity
In order to help students write more original sentences and link personal experiences
to the text, I asked them to think about a person or event they were reminded of when
they read the story. Students then created
their own semantic maps. A group of
Romanian students developed a map about
their experiences living under a Communistruled government (see the illustration,
After writing sentences from the map, we
worked on organizing them into short paragraphs. The following are examples of what
the students wrote.
In Romania, before the revolution, it
was Communist. But all people were
not Communist. When we was going to
school everybody was having to wear
the same clothes. We was upset about
the uniform for school. But now I think
it is good everybody has the same
clothes. And nobody can say look at
him or her.
Romania was a Communist country.
But, all people were not Communist.
We had no freedom and cannot leave
our country. We had to stand in line
for food. We cannot say bad things
about our government. Now it is better.
(Used with permission)
Students were excited about this process
that began with creating a semantic map and
ended with a paragraph, all written in

Other Uses
1. Create semantic maps to introduce different literary elements such as plot, setting,
and cause and effect. For example, write
the title of the book and the words events
in the plot in the center box. Record significant events in the story, and have students place the events in chronological
order. This activity also develops
sequencing skills.
2. Have students keep a semantic map journal. Designate a topic for the day (e.g.,
places) or have students choose topics. As
students encounter places throughout the
daywhile reading a book, in classrooms, at lunch, or on a walkthey can
develop a semantic map with words or
phrases describing physical attributes of
the place, time (historical or time of day),
or weather. This activity helps students
connect their readings with their own


lived in Russia

poetry banned


poems about
terrible times in

Stalin did not


family, friends in prison

or shot

Sample Semantic Map

had uniforms in

no freedom
no religion or

cant say bad

things about


all people not

limit on food

3. Create maps about events in history or

science topics. Choose a topic of study
such as ocean life for the center box, and
write fish and mammals in boxes to the
left and right. Students can create a map
with examples of each subcategory.
These are only a few examples. Semantic
mapping is a versatile strategy that can be
used in many creative ways to help ESL students develop their writing across disciplines.


cannot leave our


stand in lines for


books (2nd ed.). Needham Heights, MA:

Allyn & Bacon.
Hazell, R. (1996). Heroines: Great
women through the ages. New York:
Abbeville Press.

Joan Parker Webster is an EdD candidate
and teaching fellow at the University of
Houston, College of Education, in Texas, in
the United States.

Bromley, K. (1996). Webbing with literature: Creating story maps with childrens
Autumn 1998



Using Search Engines

With ESL Students
Joan Schneider Kantor

Because more mainstream teachers are

assigning on-line research projects, ESL
teachers need to show students how to conduct searches on the World Wide Web
(WWW). The following lesson is an introduction to search engines for high intermediatelevel ESL students in Grades 6-12. Over the
course of several days, students learn how to
use three search enginesinfoseek,
AltaVista, and Yahoo!to search the Internet
for information effectively.

1. Go through a simple search yourself, taking notes on each of the steps you performed and the vocabulary you needed.
Based on that process, you will be able to
create step-by-step instructions for using a
search engine.
2. Write each step on an index card, including only one task per card. Students will
be less overwhelmed and more likely to
follow each step if they get them one at a
3. Create one stack of instruction cards for
every one or two computers. If creating
multiple sets of index cards is too timeconsuming, make packets by cutting up
pages of instructions. Two or three students at a computer can take turns reading
the instructions and operating the computer. Two computer groups can share a
stack of instruction cards.
4. At the beginning of the lesson, give students a list of vocabulary that they may
see or say when searching the WWW (see
the sample list, right). The purpose of the
list is to introduce words that students will
encounter and help you determine how
familiar they are with the Internet. You do
not need to teach the vocabulary at this
time because students will learn it as they
work. Highlight these words in the instruction cards (see, e.g., Card 1, p. 45).
5. Create brief key word exercises for students to do before and throughout their
work with search engines. Devising effective lists of key words is an acquired skill
and presents a particular challenge for
ESL students. Likewise, practice with generating key words for topics is an ideal
vocabulary building activity.

44 TESOL Journal

Skimming With infoseek
In the first lesson, students search for specific information; once they locate a WWW
site, they should able to answer the questions
on the instruction cards by skimming the site
without reading the whole text.
1. As directed on Card 2, students should
type the uniform resource locator (URL),
or address, of the first search enginein
2. Cards 3-4 assign a search question (e.g.,
What is the weather forecast for this weekend?) and ask students to write two or
more key words to search for (e.g.,
weather, forecast, town or city name).
They can list their answers on a group
answer sheet or on the chalkboard, where
you can check them easily.
3. Cards 5-6 refer students to infoseek tips
(accessible by clicking the tips link on the
infoseek site) for entering key words. You

Sample Vocabulary List

Internet, Net
WWW, World Wide
Web, Web
search, seek
search engine

I understand:

may want to keep a printout of these tips.

4. As students proceed through the stack,
cards review vocabulary and concepts.
After students have obtained search
results, they should follow the instructions
on Cards 7-8, clicking on links to sites
with their key words and using the Back
button of their Internet browser to return to
the list of results.
5. Last, students should click on another site
and compare that search result with the

Searching With AltaVista

Continue the lesson with a new question
and a different search engine. For example,
(http://www.altavista.digital.com) to find a
restaurant to go to with their family.
1. Help students come up with key words and
refer them to the Help link at the top of the
screen for suggestions on phrasing them.
You might include instruction cards that
teach AltaVistas use of quotation marks
for phrases, and +/- for requiring or
excluding words.
2. Have students experiment with submitting
the same key words with and without these
advanced search tools, and note the difference in the number of matches.
3. For the restaurant search, students should
arrive at a list of restaurant and dining
guide sites, click on one, choose a restaurant, and write its name, address, and URL
on their answer sheet.
4. They should then use infoseek to conduct
the same search and compare results.

browse, browsing

Browsing With Yahoo!

click, hit

Students learn to browse for information

with Yahoo! (http://www.yahoo.com).
1. Ask them to find a museum they can visit
with their family. When they get to the
Yahoo! site they must read the topics
listed on the screen and choose one related
to their search.
2. Guide students to refine their search by
going from general to specific topics until
they come to a list of museums in their
area. You may need to show students how
they can arrive at the same point from different beginning topics (e.g., region or

Web site
key words
com, company; org,
general, specific

Card 1
To find information on the Internet, you use a
search engine.
Search means (choose 1)
(a) look for
(b) look at
(c) look around

Sample Assignment
You are planning a 1-day trip with your family to New York City this
weekend. You will visit a museum, see a movie, and eat at a restaurant.
Search the WWW for the following information to plan your trip.
1. Look for museums in New York City.

Card 2

Write the URL of a museum.

Go to the search engine infoseek.

Type http://www.infoseek.com in the box at the
top of the screen.
Hit Enter.

What is the cost and hours of operation?

Where is the museum located?
What will you see there?
2. Look for reviews of movies or shows.

Card 3
Search question: What is the weather forecast for
this weekend?
infoseek is a search engine.
Tell infoseek what to search.
On your answer sheet, write two key words for
this question.

Write the URL of a movie review.

Choose one movie. Where is it playing?
3. Choose a restaurant. What kind of food do you like?
Write the URL of the restaurant guide or restaurant.
Where is the restaurant located?
4. How will you get from place to place? By taxi, subway, or on foot?

Card 4
Do we want New and York and City as three
words, or New York City as one phrase?

Find a map of the area you are visiting. Write the map URL.
5. Check the weather forecast for the day of your trip.
Write the URL for the weather site.
Would it be better to go Saturday or Sunday?

Card 5
Click on Tips.
Read about keeping separate key words together.

Card 6
Type your key words in the New Search box:
weather, forecast, New York City
Click Enter.

Card 7
infoseek gives you a list of the WWW sites with
your key words.
Click on the first site.

Card 8
Look at the box at the top of the screen.
What is the URL of the WWW site you found?
Copy it on your answer sheet.

6. Write your plan for the day. What will you do first?
What will the trip cost?

3. After students have chosen one or two museums,

they should use Yahoo! to
search for the same information with key words, as
they did with the other
search engines, instead of
4. As a final step, have students browse Yahoo! for
restaurants and weather

project (see the sidebar, above). to help

students apply what they have learned. For
example, have students search the Internet
to plan a day trip with their family. This
assignment reviews some of the searches
they have done and adds new ones.
By assigning specific search tasks, giving
step-by-step instructions, and allowing time
to practice needed skills, teachers can help
ESL students use search engines to navigate
the WWW and find information for research
or pleasure.



After this lesson, students

are ready to strike out on
their own.
1. Review the list of vocabulary words presented at
the start; students should
now be able to identify all
of them.
2. Next, assign an on-line

Joan Schneider Kantor is teaching consultant and ESOL program coordinator for
the Byram Hills Central School District in
Armonk, New York, in the United States. She
has served as teaching supervisor at
Manhattanville College, The New School for
Social Research, and Teachers College,
Columbia University, where she received her

Autumn 1998



When I arrived in America, I couldnt

speak English. I couldnt get a job, I
had no friends, and I felt alone. I never
talked to anyone here at school
because they thought I was a loser, a
poor person. I once heard a [Anglo]
boy say, That boy cant speak
English. He cant do anything in the
United States, and hes stupid because
he cant speak English. And then he
said, All those Vietnamese are stupid.
They only have fun and they dont
know how to work. And I believe
thats prejudice, and I told myself to
study and work hard. I want to show
them that we arent stupid. Now Im a
senior and I will go to college and
show them that I am a winner. To
show them who I am, where I come
from. (Nghia1, age 17, personal communication)
This quote from a Vietnamese boy illustrates the isolation, alienation, and frustration
experienced by many immigrant students in
secondary schools. One way to break down
barriers and promote understanding among
ESL and mainstream students is to establish a
forum to address adolescent needs and interests. Culture clubs involve frequent
exchanges of information, in an extracurricular setting, between immigrant ESL and
native-English-speaking (NS) students about
social, academic, and cultural topics. The
clubs allow ESL students who are unfamiliar
with various social and academic aspects of
school culture to learn from peers, and give
mainstream students and teachers knowledge
of ESL students diverse cultural practices
and life experiences. This exchange of ideas
and feelings makes ESL programs more
comprehensive. It also creates space for discussion about customs, beliefs, and sociocultural practices of diverse school community
Culture clubs are a critical component of
ESL programs: They promote interaction and
dialogue between ESL and mainstream students while fostering communication and
cross-cultural understanding among diverse
learners. The clubs are self-directed by
teenagers; club members designate academic,
social, and cultural issues for discussion.
Although talk about school practices and procedures may appear too dry or overly academic for an extracurricular club, immigrant
students welcome the opportunity to share
their personal experiences and ideas with

46 TESOL Journal

Culture Clubs
Bridget Fitzgerald Gersten
mainstream students and to learn about
school culture from their peers. ESL and
mainstream teachers collaborate in running
the club after school or during lunch, working with their students to recruit club members from various grade levels and
multicultural backgrounds.

1. Conduct a survey of topics of interest to
the ESL students in the school. Subdivide
these topics into categories reflecting
social and academic features of school
culture (see the sample survey below).
Organize topics thematically for each club

Sample School Culture Topics Survey

Academic Topics
Tests and examinations
Credits, grades, and
grade point average
Required vs. elective
Library and research skills
College application and
Computers and the
Academic honesty and
Content-area subject
National Competitions
(e.g., Anytown; Close Up)

Social Topics
Clubs and organizations
Competitions and fundraisers
School spirit (pep rallies)
and traditions
(homecoming, prom)
Gender relations
Violence, drugs, and
Student government
Extracurricular activities
Spring break and holidays
Work, family, and school



meeting, alternating between academic

and social issues.
2. Establish a schedule of meetings and topics for monthly or bimonthly discussion.
Teachers and students can collaborate to
identify other students to attend the first
club meeting (e.g., 10 volunteers can each
recruit 1 or 2 peers as club members).
Although membership should be open to
anyone, 15-20 is an optimal minimum
number of students.
3. Invite one or more colleagues from content-area classrooms to participate as club
leaders. At faculty or department meetings, discuss club benefits with teachers
and administrators and use school
announcements, posters, and lunchtime
booths to disseminate club information.
Encourage mainstream colleagues to promote the club to their students, telling
them that the club combines activities and
reciprocal exchange of information about
interesting topics. Teachers may pair up
volunteer mainstream and ESL students to
make brief visits to classrooms to encourage participation.

Spanish at school. If the school has the facilities, peers might collaborate to create a video
about some aspect of their culture or personal

Video Viewing
At club meetings, view relevant movies to
stimulate further debate about issues related
to school and teen life (see the sidebar below
for a sample list of movies). You may also
use subtitled foreign language videos to
expose mainstream students to other cultures
and to open up a dialogue about language
and culture issues. The use of foreign language videos can also validate ESL students
use of their native language. However, be
sure to preview each video before using it to
decide whether and how to use it at school.

Culture clubs may organize plays, art
exhibits, cultural demonstrations, fund-raisers, or home visits at the end of the school
year. Such activities enhance cross-cultural
understanding, foster sharing with a wider
audience, and attract new club members.

Culture clubs benefit everyone involved.

They encourage dialogue and sharing of
ideas and feelings about various aspects of
school culture, help prevent isolation and
alienation among students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and promote English development. Such exchanges
validate ESL students native cultures and
experiences, allow them to build friendships
with mainstream students, and contribute to
cross-cultural understanding.

1 The students name is a pseudonym.

Bridget Fitzgerald Gersten teaches at
Arizona State University, in the United
States. She received a PhD from Arizona
State University in curriculum and instruction, with a specialization in elementary education. She has conducted research in the
United States and in other countries in the
areas of L2 composition, bilingual education,
and teacher training.

Culture club activities can be divided into
thematically based cycles that combine discussion, interviews, activities, and video
viewing. Combine any of the activities below
to facilitate discussion between NS and nonnative speakers (NNS) of English.

Distribute a small stack of index cards
with topical questions and statements for pair
and small-group discussion. Invite students
to contribute additional facts and opinions as
they review each card. Follow this with a
large-group discussion.

Interviews, Reporting, and

Match students for reciprocal interviews
on related topics to extend and individualize
discussion. ESL students can write up the
interviews and present them in class to
enhance literacy development and public
speaking skills.

Cultural Activities
Integrate hands-on activities into club
meetings. Have students give show-and-tell
presentations or demonstrations on topics or
objects of interest in their culture (e.g., art
forms, music, food, calligraphy, geography,
holiday traditions). ESL students can also
present lessons in their native language to
English-speaking peers. For example, native
Spanish speakers could use their language to
speak with their peers who are studying

Sample Movie List

The following resources provide plot summaries of movies on videocassette
and may be helpful in identifying movies with themes about adolescence and
The Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com)
Craddock, J. M. (Ed.). (1998). Video source book (20th ed.).
Detroit, MI: Gale.
Topically related movies on videocassette include those listed below.




Breaking Away



Children of a Lesser



Dangerous Minds


Rebel Without a


Stand and Deliver



To Sir, With Love


West Side Story



* PG = Some material may not be suitable for children;

R = Must be 17 years old in the United States to view
the film; U = Unrated.
(For a list of 40+ movies, e-mail the author at tcf136@aol.com)

Autumn 1998



Pen Pal Journals


Immigrant ESL students in secondary

schools can benefit from contact with ESL
students in local community colleges, universities, or intensive language institutes. Their
older peers can become mentors and role
models to give the younger students information and access to postsecondary education.
A pen pal journal project is a beneficial way
to bring these two groups together.
Although dialogue journals between students and teachers and pen pal exchanges
between classes are familiar techniques for
increasing student motivation and fluency in
reading and writing, pen pal journals combine these techniques and allow students to
write to a personal pen pal who is not also
their teacher. This creates a reasonably equal
status between the correspondents and
relieves the teacher of the burden of responding to every student. A pen pal journal project between secondary and postsecondary
school students has special benefits for the
two groups.
By exchanging letters with ESL students
in institutions of higher learning, secondary
school ESL students get a glimpse into their
academic future. Their college pen pals can
answer their questions, dispel their fears,
give them advice, show them the educational
opportunities that lie ahead, and help them
realize that their English proficiency does not
have to limit their choices. Learning this fact
can encourage, motivate, and help them see
how the skills they are learning in high
school can serve them in college.
By becoming role models to younger students, college students in turn can boost their
confidence and self-esteem. For both groups,
the regular correspondence can help increase
reading and writing fluency. As students
watch their folders of letters grow, they hold
in their hands tangible proof of their ability
to communicate meaningfully and successfully in their new language.
Teachers at secondary schools or institutions of higher education can initiate this
exchange. The project described here
involved a community college ESL intermediate-level grammar/writing class and a
Grade 9 ESL class.

1. Choose a college, university, or postsecondary language institute to work with.
Location is an important factor to con-

48 TESOL Journal

Sally Winn
sider. Depending on the frequency of your
Follow the same schedule with your class
exchanges, you may want to drop off and
for reading, distributing, and collecting
pick up folders when possible, rather than
waiting for mail delivery.
5. Give each student a three-hole folder with
2. Look for a contact at the institution you
notebook paper. Put a student name on the
have chosen. Consult friends, colleagues,
front of each folder, leaving room for the
and students for contacts, and check to see
pen pals name.
if the institution has a World Wide Web
(WWW) page with faculty information.
Compose a formal letter introducing your1. After explaining the project to your class,
self and proposing your idea for a pen pal
distribute a folder to each student. If the
project. Address your letter, by name if
number of students in the classes is not
possible, to an ESL (or other) department
identical, more than one student may
chair, dean, coordinator, or director of a
write to a student in the other class.
language institute. If the class initiating
Negotiate with stronger students for this
the exchange is at an institute of higher
extra duty or ask for enthusiastic voluneducation, begin with a letter to a vice
principal at a local secondary school.
2. Discuss guidelines and possible topics to
3. Once your contact is established, discuss
write about, especially for the first letter
project goals together and plan assignof introduction. Review informal letter
ments that will be enjoyable for the stuformat. Writing can be done in class or at
dents and encourage free writing without
grades. Teachers can read the letters and
3. Collect the folders and, on the arranged
comment if they want to but should not
make corrections
or require rewrites.
Because of the
younger age of the
high school stuRecommended Reading
dents, you may
also want to
Pen pal journals, referred to also as book buddevelop guidelines
dies, buddy journals, and secret friend jourwith them for
nals, have been successful at many class
levels. The following articles may be useful in
and responsibility.
planning them.
exchanging phone
Bromley, K. (1995). Buddy journals
for ESL and native-English-speaking
addresses of stustudents. TESOL Journal, 4 (3), 7-11.
dents may not be
Bromley, K., Winters, D., &
K. (1994). Book buddies:
4. Arrange for the
Creating enthusiasm for literacy
exchange of the
learning. Reading Teacher, 47, 392-400.
letter folders. For
Dalle, T., & Hall, C. (1987). Pen pal
journals for cross-cultural
might drop off
communication. Elementary ESOL
folders on Friday.
Education News, 10 (2), 1-2.
Your colleague has
the weekend to
Green, C., & Green, J. (1993). Secret
read them and then
friend journals. TESOL Journal, 2 (3),
gives them to stu20-23.
dents on Monday.
Students respond,
and your colleague
returns the folders
to you on Friday.

day, deliver or mail them to your partner,

who distributes them to his or her students, adding their names on the covers.
Those students read the letters of introduction and respond on the pages in the
4. When folders are returned, distribute them
to your students for reading and responding. Continue the process for as long as

When technology is available at both
institutions, teachers may consider doing this
project entirely by e-mail. Using e-mail
increases the speed and ease of exchanges
and can broaden the projects geographical
scope. For example, secondary school students in isolated communities with no local
institutions of higher education could communicate more easily and quickly with
classes in distant locations.

There are several possibilities for closure.
The last exchange may be in the form of a
video, produced by either the students or
teacher. Students can read their good-bye letters on camera or plan more elaborate
farewells. If possible, include a short clip of
the class, showing group work and pair activ-

ities and having the students explain what

they are doing as the camera operator roves
around the class. Be sure to have one of your
students film you in action, too. Your video
might go beyond your classroom to show
other parts of the institution, or you may
arrange a field trip to visit the other class and
take a tour of their campus.
As this project progresses, you will find
that your students are eager to get their folders. Writing topics soon take care of themselves. Folders begin to include drawings and
photos, jokes, riddles, and poems, and the
correspondence takes off. Some students
begin to see themselves as peer monitors of
their partners language, and the younger students begin to solicit and receive information
about college, such as how to pay for it and
their pen pals career plans upon graduation.
Although the pen pal journal project
requires a fair amount of preparation, once it
is in place, teachers can easily repeat the process with different classes of ESL students. It
is well worth the effort.

I wish to thank Jeannette Luini, my ESL
colleague at Abraham Lincoln High School
in San Francisco, and the students in both our
classes for participating in this pen pal journal project.

Sally Winn teaches ESL at City College of
San Francisco, in the United States.


If you have
ever asked yourself if schools
designed to provide
high quality education for all students, this
book was written for you. This ethnographic
study of Madison High School, an average
California high school (the name is fictional),
explores the difficult issues facing schools as
the student population becomes more
Made in America: Immigrant Students in
Our Public Schools is written for teachers,
administrators, and teacher educators who
work and prepare others to work in schools
with diverse student populations. Although
the site of Olsens study is a high school,
educators at all levels of instruction can benefit from her honest inquiry and observations.
Through personal reflection and interviews
with staff and students, Olsen explores such
questions as:
Are all students equally positioned to participate in the academic and social life of
the school?
Is there an active process of exclusion and
sorting in the schools program and practice that consigns students by skin color,
class, and English fluency to positions of
unequal access to resources, opportunities,
and education?
Is academic achievement the result of
individual choices the students make or
systemic influences?
Made in America is clear, compelling, and
well written. From 2 1/2 years of interviews
with students, parents, faculty, and administrators at Madison High, Olsen weaves a rich
tapestry that illustrates the complexities and

Made in America:
Immigrant Students
in Our Public
Laurie Olsen.
New York: The New Press, 1997.
Pp. 276.

Reviewed by
Jacqueline Moase-Burke

Into, Through, and

Beyond Secondary
School: Critical
Transitions for
Immigrant Youths

Tamara Lucas.
Washington, DC: Center for Applied
Linguistics/Delta Systems, 1997.
Pp. xxiv + 294.

Reviewed by
Barbara Fagan
difficulties immigrant students face in
schools across the country. Each voice offers
an honest, new perspective on what it means
to participate fully in a U.S. high school. For
example, students ask, What will it take for
me to become part of this system? If I learn
enough English ... If I act like they act ... If I
dress like they dress ... Will I be accepted?
Do I have to give up who I am to find my
place? Is it worth it?
As an ESL consultant and former school
principal, I found Olsens exploration of
what it means to be remade in a U.S. high
school insightful, authentic, and compelling.
If you are a teacher, counselor, administrator,
or teacher educator preparing others to work
in schools with diverse student populations,
this book is a must. I would recommend it for
teacher education classes, study groups, book
talks, and as the focus of staff meeting discussions. Olsens analysis makes a significant contribution to the field as educators
seek to design schools that provide quality
education for all students, immigrant and

Jacqueline Moase-Burke is an educational consultant specializing in ESL and
bilingual education for Oakland Schools, a
regional educational agency in Oakland
County, Michigan, in the United States.

When I was first contacted to review Into,

Through, and Beyond Secondary School:
Critical Transitions for Immigrant Youths, I
had reservations, primarily because I did not
know if the book would be relevant to the
realities todays public school teachers and
administrators face regarding the education
of immigrant youth. I can say now that this
text is not only relevant and current but also
that it should be required reading for all secondary and postsecondary general education
program advisors and administrators.
Tamara Lucas points out the realities facing future educators of immigrant youth: By
2006, first- and second-generation nonnative
English speakers will make up 23% of the
student enrollment in public schools. School
administrators will have to account for these
students in their program planning, and
teachers will have to plan for them in their
content presentation. This book outlines
effective ways that school and district administrators can learn more about the needs of
immigrant youth and plan effective ways of
making schooling more inclusive to address
their needs.
The first two chapters summarize the
research on current educational reforms and
the ways that immigrant youth are excluded
Autumn 1998



Lucas says that
immigrant students
are often marginalized and relegated to
other programs until
they have acquired
sufficient language
skills to participate
in regular classrooms. At the
same time, she
details ways that
some schools are
including immigrant youth in
inclusive programs so that
they are successful and prepared
for life beyond high school.
Chapters 3-6 detail four major principles
that Lucas believes should be applied to educational programs so that immigrant youth
can be challenged and become more successful:
1. cultivate organizational relationships
2. provide access to information

Do you ever question whether your teaching is as effective as it could be? Do you
wish for an expert to listen to your frustrations and concerns? Here is a chance to
spend time with those deeply immersed in
the study of language acquisition and student
support systems and to think about your
approaches with your ESL students.
So Much to Say: Adolescents,
Bilingualism, and ESL in Secondary School
presents current research on the particular
concerns of middle and high school bilingual
and ESL students. In Section 1, Dorothy
Waggoner, Linda Harklau, Ofelia Garcia,
Paula Wolfe, and Christian Faltis provide a
thoughtful description of students. They
skillfully portray the learning environment in
the United States, emphasizing the plight of
students whose schooling is limited, as well
as problems involved in gender equity.
Section 2 provides a comprehensive analysis of curricula, with chapters by Deborah
Short, Guadalupe Valds, and Margo
Gottlieb. This section offers a review of
research on integrating language and content
in sheltered content programs, developing
English writing skills, and political and educational concerns regarding assessment.
Section 3 focuses on programs: Carolyn

52 TESOL Journal

3. cultivate human relationships

4. provide multiple and flexible pathways
Each chapter gives an overview of how
designated schools throughout the United
States are incorporating the principles into
their programsand difficulties they
encounter in implementing them. Summary
charts and key questions after each principle
help program administrators use this book to
apply the principles to their educational settings and decide which topics need to be
addressed by their school and community
A recurring theme throughout the book is
the many different transitions that immigrant
youth face: adolescence, acculturation,
acquiring a new language, developing relationships with other adolescents and adults,
and preparing for educational work after high
school. A major section of this book talks
about the need to help immigrant youth make
transitions beyond high school to the workplace or higher education. Lucas continually
reiterates the need for schools to overtly help
families and students make plans for life
beyond school. Often the parents of immigrant youth have not experienced higher education in the United States and are not

So Much to Say:
Bilingualism, and
ESL in Secondary
Christian J. Faltis and
Paula M. Wolfe, Eds.
New York: Teachers College
Press, 1999.
Pp. vi + 280.

Reviewed by
Sharon Hough

Adger and Joy Kreeft Peyton, Barbara

Merino, and Paula Wolfe discuss the structural challenges and directions of ESL and
bilingual education, the preparation of secondary school ESL and bilingual teachers,
and the ways that educators metaphors to

familiar with the application process nor with

the required courses their children should
take in high school to prepare them for this
transition. Lucas also points out the critical
need for counseling for youth and their families, especially in the beginning stages of
adjustment, when everything is unfamiliar
and unknown.
This book gives readers a realistic, current, and research-based overview of the
need to provide programs to prepare our
immigrant youth for future success. I would
suggest that it be used as a minicourse or as
the basis for conversations among administrators, school staff, and community members to see how their schools and
communities are meeting the needs and challenges of immigrant youth.

Barbara Fagan is ESOL/HILT secondary
school specialist in the High Intensity
Language Training (HILT) program,
Arlington Public Schools, Arlington,
Virginia, in the United States. She teaches
and is responsible for curriculum and staff

describe students expand or restrict their

thinking about them.
Most importantly, perhaps, this book will
lead to more research-based instruction
because it promotes self-discovery and analysis of educators day-to-day work with secondary students.
In the introduction, Faltis and Wolfe point
out the alarmingly limited number of studies
done on ESL and bilingual middle and high
school students, curricula, and programs in
the United States. Little to no such research
was conducted before 1990, and since then,
very few studies have been reported in the
literature. As a result of TESOLs development of ESL Standards for Pre-K-12
Students (TESOL, 1997), scores of middle
and high school ESL teachers have contributed insights from their experience with
teaching and assessing students. Perhaps this
book is a call to secondary school teachers to
speak out about the wealth of knowledge
they have acquired in their classrooms.
This book could be used effectively in
teacher training or as a personal resource for
the experienced teacher. Much of the appeal
is in the way the authors bring together
research and practical application.
I look forward to sharing specific chapters

with administrators making staffing and

funding decisions. Other chapters will serve
as a springboard for discussions with colleagues.
Though often overwhelmed with the magnitude of our responsibilities, we should also

ESL Framework of Stages: An Approach

to ESL Learning in Schools K-12 presents a
developmental, stage-based description of
teaching objectives and activities for K-12
ESL learners, based on the Australian
Language Levels [ALL] Guidelines (Scarino,
Vale, McKay, & Clark, 1988) curriculum
model. Endorsed and funded by the
Australian Advisory Council for Languages
and Multicultural Education, ESL
Framework of Stages is the first major
national initiative to address the teaching and
learning of ESL in Australian schools. It is
the result of extensive research and consultation with ESL specialist teachers and program administrators from both public and
private school systems nationwide.
Intended primarily as a reference document
to support the planning of specialist ESL programs from kindergarten to Grade 12, the materials provide a basis for ESL and mainstream
teachers to develop common understandings
about ESL learners needs and to monitor
learners progress along the path to success in
the mainstream context (p. 13). Administrators
can also use the materials to develop policy to
support the teaching and learning of English at
the school and system levels.
The framework itself (see the diagram on
p. 15) sets out a series of progressive, interlocking, age-related stages for ESL teaching
and learning from kindergarten through
Grade 12, encompassing the range of starting points, backgrounds and phases of
schooling which make up the overall picture
of ESL teaching and learning in Australian
schools (p. 8). For each of the five broad
phases of schooling (junior primary, middle/upper primary, late upper primary/junior
secondary, middle secondary, and upper secondary), key and intermediate stages of
learning are described. Key stages are the
points at which learners are able to be successful in mainstream classroom learning
when they are provided with appropriate ESL
teaching (p. 16). The intermediate stages
offer a progressive, developmental view of
ESL teaching and learning leading up to each
key stage.
The descriptions of the intermediate and
key stages outline the target group, the
expected focus of development for the particular stage, and the likely characteristics of
learners in terms of their language develop-

see ourselves as having So Much to Say.



Sharon Hough is ESOL department chair

at Meadowcreek High School, Gwinnett
County, in suburban Atlanta, Georgia, in the
United States, and chair of the Secondary
Schools Interest Section of TESOL.

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other

Languages, Inc. (1997). ESL standards for
pre-K-12 students. Alexandria, VA: Author.

ESL Framework of
Stages: An Approach
to ESL Learning in
Schools K-12
Penny McKay and Angela Scarino.
Victoria, Australia: Curriculum
Corporation, 1991.
Pp. 221.

Reviewed by
Lexie Mincham

ment, personal and cultural development,

learning-how-to-learn skills, and conceptual
range or skills development in English. To
guide programming and syllabus development, a statement of suggested content for
teaching and learning is given for each stage.
Based on the ALL Guidelines (Scarino et al.,
1988), this includes suggested objectives and
activities covering a wide range of communication, sociocultural, and cognitive goals, as
well as language, cultural awareness, and
knowledge goals. Checklists of specific content offer a guide to likely contexts, roles,
and relationships; organizational focuses or
topics; functions, notions, and text types; and
vocabulary and grammar.
To assist teachers in making decisions
about the initial placement of learners in programs and in determining learners progress,
sample assessment procedures are included.
The procedures cover a range of activities
considered appropriate for each stage and
include an outline of conditions, specifications, general criteria, and key indicators as a
guide for teachers in administering the procedures and developing their own.
As the authors point out (p. 17), pathways
through the stages will vary with such factors
as the learners entry point into schooling,
level of L1 literacy, and previous English
language learning experience, as well as the
types of support the learner receives. A set of
case studies illustrates possible pathways.

Framework of
Stages makes an
important contribution to the
understanding of
learning needs of
ESL children as
they progress
through schooling, and of the
ways ESL specialists
teachers can
needs in a variety of teaching
and learning contexts. The materials are
especially useful for those who are relatively
new to ESL teaching because they provide a
flexible tool that can be adapted and refined
to fit their particular approach and circumstances (e.g., intensive ESL teaching for
newly arrived nonnative English speakers or
ESL-informed mainstream teaching for
learners with previous English language
learning experience).
More recent work in the Australian context has focused on profiling outcome-based
approaches to ESL teaching and learning, but
ESL Framework of Stages remains a valuable
reference for the access it offers to a comprehensive language-based curriculum model
offering ESL teachers guidanceon all
aspects of the curriculum.

Scarino, A., Vale, D., McKay, P., &
Clark, J. (1988). Australian language levels
guidelines. Canberra, Australia: Curriculum
Development Centre.

Lexie Mincham is employed by the
Department of Education, Training and
Employment, in South Australia. She has
extensive ESL experience as a teacher in secondary intensive and mainstream contexts
and as an adviser, project officer, and ESL
program manager. Her research interests
include systemic functional linguistics, language assessment, and policy development.

Autumn 1998


Immigrants and Refugees: Create Your

New Life in America offers immigrants
advice and information for becoming successful in the United States. The book provides a variety of information in a self-help
format that advanced ESOL learners could
use independently or in a classroom setting.
However, oversimplification of complex topics, some problems with the authors language use, a somewhat didactic tone, and an
indeterminate audience make this lively and
book less appealing and useful
than it could be.
This book
presents a mixture of advice
and information
designed to
immigrants understand elements
of U.S. culture
and daily life.
The chapters
cover topics
as broad as
Success and Satisfaction, and as specific as
Preparing for the Right Career,
Education, Major Purchases, and
Health, Safety, and Other Tips. Each of the
10 units (including an introduction and
appendix) is divided into subtitled sections,
most of them followed by a list of openended questions. For example, the questions
at the end of the Start First and Go Slowly
section in the Relationships chapter are as
follows: How do you feel about initiating a
conversation with an American? (p. 17);
What are some good topics of discussion?
(p. 17); What are some activities that you
and an American friend can do together?
Immigrants and Refugees includes an
extensive and eclectic appendix, with material ranging from the authors opinion of
what one should do about an expiring tourist
visa (pp. 161-162) to whom one should call
with questions about education, work, and
health (pp. 163-167). The appendix also
includes a sampling of Internet sites and a list
of recommended publications. The book is
illuminating on such topics as obtaining
bilingual assistance by telephone (pp. 63-64)
or purchasing affordable prescription drugs
(pp. 119-120).
In the introductory passage, Why You
Need This Book, Mikatavage gives a dictionary definition of pioneers and then applies
the term to immigrants. She exhorts readers:
As pioneers, we must launch new thoughts

54 TESOL Journal

Immigrants and
Refugees: Create
Your New Life in
Raimonda Mikatavage. (2nd ed.).
Hampstead, MD: Melodija
Books, 1998.
Pp. ix + 197.

Reviewed by
Lynda Terrill

and actions to build our own quality life(p.

1). This passage demonstrates several of the
books shortcomings. Although it encourages
immigrants to define personal values and
goals and to develop practical strategies for
achieving them, the book itself is often
overly general. It is not clear what a quality
life might mean. Although the book communicates fluently in colloquial English, it contains errors in sentence structure, usage, and
vocabulary, as well as awkward phrasing
such as that in the quoted passage. These
problems may cause confusion for ESOL
learners. In this quote and throughout the
text, phrases are underlined for emphasis. We
must exemplifies the imperious tone that pervades the book.
Although the author seems to address very
recent immigrants, it is difficult to pinpoint
the targeted audience in terms of English proficiency level and topic. Even an advanced
ESOL learner would find some of the text
difficult to comprehend. Some portions of the
text seem to speak to high school students:
There are SAT preparation classes that you
can take, but they are expensive ... (p. 34).
Many portions address adults: As parents,
you are not the only influence on your children (p. 41). Some of the advice, such as the

following quotation, concerns only some

immigrants: Whatever standard of living
you achieved in your country, it will be much
more difficult to achieve the same thing here.
And even if you do, it wont hold the same
high status it did in your country (p. 138).
This generalization seems to exclude immigrants from agricultural (and other) backgrounds who have found greater economic
success and higher status in the United States
than in their native countries.
In purpose and content, Immigrants and
Refugees seems to stand well within the body
of activist, immigrant empowering literature.
However, a learner-centered, problem-solving, and collaborative approach to the topics
it raises would be more consistent with its
goals than the prescriptive, often oversimplified statements it makes. Pronouncements
such as the following leave no room for the
readers perceptions: Lifetime satisfaction
can be achieved only by the pursuit of your
lifetime dream (p. 152).
Raimonda Mikatavage is a Lithuanian
immigrant whose own success in the United
States and can-do spirit offer a tonic to other
immigrants. Her books wide range of topics
and references can be a jumping off place for
class projects or individual pursuits.
However, the lack of specifics in her claims,
the language flaws, uncertain audience, and
pervasively didactic tone limit the books

Contact Information
Immigrants and Refugees is also being
distributed through Delta Systems, Inc.,
McHenry, Illinois, 800-323-8270 (from the
U.S. only); http://www.delta-systems.com.

Lynda Terrill teaches adult ESOL learners at the Arlington Education and
Employment Program (REEP), in Arlington,
Virginia, in the United States. She also manages REEPs Adult Learning Center. She is
coauthor of Heinle & Heinles
Collaborations series.

An Invitation to Reviewers
We welcome your reviews of
recently published ESOL
textbooks, curriculum guides,
computer programs, and videos.

Send your submissions to:

Mary Lee Field
Reviews Editor
147 W. Kenilworth Ave.
Royal Oak, MI 48067 USA




Editors note: In the Spring 1998 issue,

Trudi Zimmer wrote that her school would be
moving to a block schedule. She wondered
how other ESL programs, especially small
sheltered programs, adapted to block
scheduling. Our respondent was enthusiastic.

Dear Ms. Zimmer and TJ

The three high schools in the Hayward
Unified School District, in California, moved
to the block schedule 4 years ago. Two of the
high schools have large limited English proficient (LEP) populations, making up 28%
and 20% of their total student bodies, respectively, and the third high school has a LEP
population of 11%. As with any change, the
move to the block schedule has brought both
opportunities and challenges, and we have
learned a lot in the process of implementing
One of the opportunities of our particular
block schedule is that students have a chance
to acquire more units that qualify for graduation. Most students take three blocks each
semester. English language learners are
encouraged to take four, which allows them
to accrue more graduation units. By taking an
extra block each semester, students can add,

over the period of their 4 years in high

school, an additional year and a third of
Because whole courses are completed in a
semester, students can be scheduled into the
more linguistically challenging courses in
their schedule during the second half of the
year. This gives students more time to
acquire English.
A third opportunity of the block schedule
is that it provides time for teacher collaboration within the school day. In our district, one
collaboration day a month is specifically set
aside for ESL, bilingual, and sheltered teachers within each high school to meet.
During the first year of implementation of
the block schedule, we realized that having
LEP students take English for only one half
of the year was not going to be beneficial.
That left students who needed a consistent
English program with 4 1/2 months of the
school year when they werent studying
English. Now all of our English language
learners take two full English courses each
Along with all the opportunities of our
new block schedule came some challenges.
Adequate staff development and preparation
were not provided up front. Teachers needed
to switch from 50- to 90-minute instructional
periods, and many needed help with varying
the activities in the longer time period.
Students with only three blocks perceived
the fourth block as free time. Although this
time was supposed to be used for testing,
tutoring, and conferencing, many students
saw their commitment to school as only

to you,

the readers of


required during programmed courses.

Students needed to be informed, before the
implementation of the block schedule, of the
schools expectations for the fourth block.
Despite these challenges, moving to the
block schedule has been one of the best
things to happen to English language learners
in our district. During the past 4 years, for
example, 9th-grade English language learners
at one high school have gone from being
behind in units for graduation (45 out of the
necessary 55 units) to being ahead in units
for graduation (59 rather than 55 units). All
English language learners are taking more
English courses than before (two full courses
a year rather than the previous one), and
teachers of English language learners are
benefitting from the opportunity to meet regularly and reflect on how their students are
doing. In todays world, time is such a precious commodity and, in the end, increased
time has been the greatest gift of the block
schedule to the students and teachers in
Hayward high schools.
Judy White
Bilingual Resource Teacher
English Language Center
Hayward, CA USA

We want your questions as well as your

responses. Do you have any questions that
you would like to ask your fellow TESOL
professionals? Ask the TJ is an open forum
for giving and getting advice from
professionals around the world.

Dear TJ:
I would like to ask readers for
advice on orienting new faculty: We
are redesigning our procedure for
orienting new faculty. Given the
context in which you teach, what
kinds of information about students
and the educational setting are helpful to newly arrived teachers?

ses, and
Questions, respon the TJ
suggestions for A
should be sent

Carlann Scholl, Editor, Ask the TJ

English Department, MSU 53
Minnesota State UniversityMankato, Box 8400
Mankato, MN 56002-8400 USA

Note: TESOL Journal publishes responses in good faith. We will print corrections if necessary. TESOL Journal reserves the right to edit submissions.

Autumn 1998


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