5. What are the main characteristics of successful school programs for Language Minority Students?

Research has shown that Language Minority Students benefit most from programs that include four key instructional components:

English-As-A-Second Language / English Language Development

Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English

Primary or Native Language Instruction

Instruction that promotes Multicultural Understanding, a positive Self-Image and Self-Esteem.

These key instructional components must be fully integrated and linked academically to promote achievement of Core Curriculum goals and objectives. Daily instruction in each of these key components will bring about academic success for Language Minority Students.

Each key instructional component has specific emphases.

(1) E.S.L. / E.L.D. promotes second language acquisition and second language learning. English usually is the second language that Language Minority Students learn. However, many Language Minority Students may have acquired two or three languages before enrolling in U.S. public schools. For these students English may be the third or fourth language they learn. E.S.L./E.L.D. is the instructional component devoted to mastering the language of the content areas, the language of interpersonal relations, and the language and behaviors for effective participation in American Culture.

(2) S.D.A.I.E. promotes concept development and provides practice in using the specific, technical language of the content areas. All students, both English-only and non-English speakers, need to master the language of the content areas: the technical language of Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, Art, Music, Physical Education, the specific language to talk about other languages and to talk about English. Students who can “talk” Math, Social Studies, Science, etc., are students who thoroughly understand the key academic concepts in each of these content areas. These students have “Cognitive-Academic Language Proficiency,” that is, they have mastered content area academic concepts and can provide evidence of their learning through the use –when speaking, reading and/or writing - of the technical terms and specific language of the academic area.

(3) Through the primary or native language, students are helped to acquire, as needed, the most basic understandings of key concepts in the content areas. Emphasis in primary language learning may greatly facilitate vocabulary development through transfer of learning, especially if the primary language and English share large numbers of cognates. (Cognates are words with similar meaning, pronunciation and spelling in two languages; i.e., elephant, in English / elefante, in Spanish.) Concept development and the development of literacy skills through the primary language are the main goals of this instructional component. Research shows that students who possess solid cognitive and language foundations in their primary language achieve academically in English at higher levels than students with less solid foundations of concepts and primary language. The development of reading and writing skills through the primary language facilitates the development of reading and writing skills through English.

(4) In effective programs for Language Minority Students, the cross-cultural instructional component and the positive self-image/self-esteem component are woven into all other instructional components. All language and academic content area lessons need to bring to the attention of all students –English-only and non-English speakers—relationships among the many cultures in the world. Positive self-image and self esteem increase when students’ cultural backgrounds are connected to, and extend and enhance the meaning of, Core Curriculum concept development lessons.

The daily amount of time devoted to each of these four key instructional components varies, depending on the type of program, the types of students in the program, and, most importantly, the program goals and objectives. Programs for Language Minority Students can be “transitional” or “maintenance” programs, developmental or “dual” language programs, and immersion programs. “Transitional” program goals usually include: (1) mastery of only one language –English; (2) high academic achievement in English; and (3) cross-cultural understanding. “Maintenance,” “dual” and “immersion” program goals usually include: (1) mastery of at least two language –English being one of them; (2) high academic achievement in two languages; and (3) multicultural understanding, positive self-image and positive self esteem through multiculturalism.

In California, as a direct result of Proposition 227 and State Board of Education regulations for implementation of Proposition 227, the parents of all 5 million-plus public school students can sign waivers that grant students the opportunity to be taught in English and in a language other than English from Kinder through graduation from secondary school.




For more in-depth information, classroom demonstrations, and "coaching" of new and/or experienced teachers, Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK offers:

1. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
2. Cross Cultural Diversity - Multicultural Strategies
3. Effective Instruction for English Learners (L.E.P. students) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4
4. Promoting Academic Success in Language Minority Students
5. Cognitive - Academic Language and Vocabulary Development
6. Oral Language / Literacy Skills / Higher Order Thinking Skills
7. 50/50 Dual Language Programs: design, planning and implementation
8. The Structure of English / The Structure of Spanish
9. Transition: Introduction to English Reading

Web Site Programs for Teachers: Numbers 1, 5, 7, 8, and 9.
Web Site Programs for
Paraprofessionals: Number 3.
Web Site Programs for
New Teachers:
Enhanced Cultural Sensitivity - The Challenge of Students Diversity
Identifying / Responding to Students' Language Needs
Phonemic Awareness: Teaching English phonics to L.E.P. students
Relationship Between Reading, Writing and Spelling
Improving Reading Performance -- Building Oral Language Skills)

Write and e-mail any additional questions you may have, and Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will establish with you, your school or district a Technical Assistance Service Contract. Dr. CARMEN SANCHEZ SADEK will answer all your questions promptly and to your satisfaction.


For information and credentials please click on the link below or contact directly:


Educational Consultant, Program Evaluator

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, Certification (12/2006)

3113 Malcolm Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90034-3406

Phone and Fax: (310) 474-5605

E-mail:  csssadek@gte.net