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Archive for the ‘English language learners’ Category

 

What do we know about preschool?

To find answers, researchers in different disciplines from a number of universities and from the think tank Brookings set up a task force to review the evidence “on the impact of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs.”

The result is a new report, “The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects,” released by Brookings and Duke University. Videos of related panel discussions are available here.

This effort produced “one, clear, strong message,” NPR reports. “Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.”

“This timely report can guide states and local communities, including several here in Massachusetts, as they continue to expand access to high-quality preschool,” Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy at Strategies for Children, says.

Included in the report is a six-part consensus statement that says: (more…)

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“ ‘How would another teacher handle this situation?’ is one of the hardest questions to answer. It’s also one of the most frequently asked. For teachers working with DLLs [dual language learners], answers to this question are especially rare. There is a national shortage of bilingual teachers, ESL support staff, and other linguistic resources. And since there are not enough teachers and not enough hours dedicated to the 4.5 millions DLLs in the country, observations of other teachers and learning from them often take a backseat.

“Recent videos produced by Teaching At The Beginning, a nonprofit organization that supports educators of young DLLs, are attempting to overcome these limits.”

“Approximately 100 children are featured in the videos. All the children, between 3–5 years old, are shown interacting with one of the three teachers or with one another. Some of the highlights from the videos include Chinese students teaching a monolingual teacher words from their native language, Spanish-speaking students reading and singing “Five Little Monkeys” while using a toy phone, and parents writing letters — in their home languages — to children who later opens them during class time.”

 

From “The Young Dual Language Learner Video Series: A Peek into High-Quality Early Childhood Education for DLLs,” New America’s EdCentral Blog, July 28, 2016

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“There’s progress, but…”

That’s the theme of the new “The State of Preschool” 2015 Yearbook, published by NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

On NIEER’s Preschool Matters blog, in a post called “Slow and (Un)Steady Does Not Win the Race: What Other States Should Learn from New York,” W. Steven Barnett, NIEER’s director, shares his frustration with the troublingly slow pace of policy action. (We’ve added the bold face and underlining for emphasis.)

“The economist John Maynard Keynes famously wrote: ‘The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.’ Typically, this phrase is cited to support government intervention over waiting for the eventually self-correcting private sector. As this year’s State of Preschool marks 14 years of tracking state government support for preschool education, I find myself citing Keynes in exasperation with the slow pace of government intervention. At the current rate, it will be another 50 years before states can reach all low-income children at age four, and it will take 150 years to reach 75 percent of all four-year-olds.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

One way to help young children achieve more success, some research suggests, is to provide their teachers with coaches and mentors.

“Mentors and coaches serve as guides and role models who talk openly and directly with teachers about their work, help them improve their skills in interacting with children and families, and provide information and feedback,” Marcy Whitebook writes in an article called “Mentoring and Coaching: Distinctions in Practice,” which was published in the quarterly newsletter of the Preschool Development Grants Technical Assistance (PDG TA) Program.

Whitebook, whom we’ve blogged about several times before, is the director/senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment in the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her article distinguishes between “coaching” and “mentoring,” explaining that while they “are often used interchangeably, there can be significant distinctions between these two roles. Mentors tend to focus on the development of an individual teacher… coaches may work either with individuals or with classroom teams as a group…” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A recent study shows that home visiting programs can dramatically improve children’s school readiness.

The study report — “Long-Term Academic Outcomes of Participation in the Parent-Child Home Program in King County, WA,” — explains:

“The Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP) is an intensive two-year home-visiting program aimed at increasing school readiness among young children from families who face multiple obstacles to educational and economic success, such as poverty, low literacy, limited education, and language barriers.”

Families enroll “when children are about two years old and receive two 30-minute visits per week for 23 weeks in each year of the program, for a total of 92 visits.”

The home visitor “shares a language and cultural background with the family” and “uses a non-directive approach and a high-quality toy or book, which is left as a gift for the family, to model behaviors for parents that enhance children’s development.” (more…)

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“We talk a lot about how the the number and percentage of young, multilingual students are growing rapidly in American schools — particularly in the early years. These dual language learners (DLLs) make up nearly one-third of Head Start participants nationwide, and in many communities that ratio is even higher.

“Linguistically diverse children of immigrants are diversifying U.S. student enrollment faster than linguistically diverse adults are diversifying the U.S. teaching force. In other words, immigration skews young. The growth in the number and percentage of multilingual students is moving faster than growth patterns for multilingual teachers. Better instructional programs for DLLs will require developing more — and better — career pathways for linguistically diverse early educators.”

“Starting Early, Starting Right with Dual Language Learners,” by Conor Williams, New America’s EdCentral Blog, February 17, 2016

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

States face a persistent problem: Classrooms full of children who struggle to read.

“Only about one-third of all children attending school in the United States can read proficiently by fourth grade,” the New America foundation explains on its website. “The numbers are even more dismaying for our most vulnerable students. How can state policymakers lessen the achievement gap and improve literacy outcomes for all children?”

To find answers, New America has taken a look at all 50 states’ birth-to-third-grade policies.

The resulting report is a ranking of states called, “From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth- 3rd Grade Policies that Support Strong Readers.”

“Accompanying the research are interactive maps of state progress displayed via New America’s data visualization and policy analysis tool, Atlas.” This is an easy, graphic way to access findings for individual states. (more…)

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