6. How can I help Language Minority students succeed in the Academic Core Curriculum?

Research shows that certain instructional strategies are particularly effective in teaching Language Minority Students. Many Language Minority Students (LMS) have not mastered completely the English language. Some students may know very little English: they are at the “Pre-Production” Level or in the “Silent Period,” the first stage in the acquisition of another language. Pre-Production students develop a large “receptive” vocabulary, that is, they can recognize many words they hear, or see in print. Pre-Production students can, in many instances, show evidence of learning and understanding through physical activity instead of verbal responses.

Others LMS’s may be only able to respond with a single English word or a very short phrase in English. These students have developed enough language to respond verbally, albeit in a very limited fashion. They are “Early Production” students, that is, students who have developed an extensive “receptive” vocabulary, and are beginning to develop their “expressive” skills, speaking and writing. These students are in the second stage of language acquisition and development, the “Early Production” stage.

When they express themselves through their new language – English - they tend to make many mistakes: mistakes in pronunciation, in putting words together by using incorrect prefixes or suffixes, in ordering words together in brief phrases or sentences, and in conveying meaning, on occasions using invented words or incorrect meanings for known words.

Many Language Minority Students can carry on brief conversations and discussions through their second language, English. They have developed very extensive receptive skills –listening and reading - and their expressive skills – speaking and writing - continue to show improvement with practice and participation in classroom activities. These students are at the “Speech Emergence” Level, the third stage in language acquisition and development. Their errors in pronunciation, errors in their use of words and word formation, errors in word order within sentences, and errors in conveying incorrect meanings through words and idiomatic expressions continue to diminish. Soon, these students will enter the stage of language acquisition called “Intermediate Fluency.”

“Intermediate Fluency” LMS’s begin to sound like English-only speakers. Their errors are limited to new words, new expressions, and new topics for which they lack the needed vocabulary. “Intermediate Fluency” students use many idiomatic expressions and, through their new language, can even understand and make jokes. These students also show awareness of the language and behaviors called forth in different social and cultural situations.

To help Language Minority Students succeed in mastering the key concepts, and the language, of the Academic Core Curriculum, teachers need to be aware of their students’ language acquisition levels or stages in English. LMS’s at the stages of Pre-Production and Early Production may need extensive instruction through English-As-A-Second Language AND Primary Language (L1) academic instruction in Core Content Areas. The teacher can also help by using, in Academic Core Curriculum lessons, the effective techniques, strategies and methods of S.D.A.I.E. (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English). For example, in their lessons teachers can:

Emphasize the Academic Language Promote Active Learning

Assess/Tap Students’ Prior Knowledge (through informal or formal means)

Build New Knowledge in Every Lesson

Provide Opportunities for Collaborative Problem Solving

Use Cooperative and Other Groupings Provide for Cultural Affirmation

Make Extensive Use of Demonstrations/Modeling Include Expressive Writing

Provide Grade Level or Grade Appropriate Instruction

Build Vocabulary through Graphic Organizers or Meaningful Sets/Categories

Always Demand Higher Order Thinking Skills

Integrate Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum

Offer a Multicultural Perspective Use Effective Questioning Techniques

Use Reading Scaffolds (Building meaning before reading)

Perceive His / Her Role as Facilitator of Learning

Organize Concepts to be Mastered Through Thematic Instruction

Use Technology and Other Resources

Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues (Including the Language of Self-Esteem)

Make Extensive Use of Visual Aids and Manipulatives




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