Volume 10 No 1 Fall 2013
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For ELLs, What Does Effective Instruction Look Like?

The summer issue of the American Educator, from the American Federation of Teachers, is focused on English learners. It explores what the research tells us so far about what works and what doesn't in effective instruction, and identifies the questions that still haven't been adequately examined.
The lineup of articles includes an overview of current research that lays out what is known to be good instruction for helping ELLs acquire academic content. Another piece presents more than a dozen guidelines meant to help teachers better understand what makes for effective English language development instruction. And another looks at how early-childhood educators can build on home languages to develop bilingual, biliterate children.

Challenges are bound to arise as the vast majority of states strive to help English learners meet the Common Core State Standards. In calling for students to read complex texts, these new standards place an even greater emphasis on content knowledge and literacy skills than prior state standards. This review of available research will help educators bolster the efforts of English learners to understand more-demanding academic content as they also learn English.
The American Educator, Summer 2013

Immigrant Paradox Less Consistent in Young Children, Study Finds

A new study that takes a fresh look at the educational outcomes for children of immigrants presents a different take on the so-called immigrant paradox in education.

While older children of immigrants (high school students) tend to perform better in school than might be expected, or even outperform their U.S.-born peers, younger children of immigrants display much more uneven patterns of academic success, a new study from the Migration Policy Institute concludes. The skills that students need to succeed in kindergarten and to get off to a solid academic start often lag in the children of immigrants, especially those whose parents migrated from Mexico and other parts of Latin America.
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Research: Latino Kids Lack Access to Safe "Active Spaces"

Latino kids often have limited access to safe gyms, fields, and playgrounds, but shared use agreements and street-level improvements can improve access to these "active spaces" in underserved communities and may help young Latinos become more physically active and maintain a healthy weight, according to a new package of research materials from Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children.

A study shows that 81 percent of Latino neighborhoods did not have a recreational facility, compared with 38 percent of White neighborhoods.

The new Salud America! "Active Spaces for Latino Kids" has a research review of the latest science, an original animated video, and an infographic.
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How To Speak Like A Native
The surprising truth about learning a foreign language: accent isn't the most important thing

New research suggests that we would make better progress, and be understood more easily by our conversational partners, if we abandoned a perfect accent as our goal in the language learning process. For decades, traditional language instruction held up native-like pronunciation as the ideal, enforced by doses of "fear, embarrassment and conformity," in the words of Murray J. Munro, a professor of linguistics at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Munro and colleague Tracy Derwing, University of Alberta linguist, argue that this ideal is "clearly unrealistic," leading to disappointment and frustration on the part of most adult language learners.

Learners guided by the intelligibility principle focus less attention on individual vowels and consonants, and more attention to the "macro" aspects of language, such as general speaking habits, volume, stress, and rhythm. A study by Derwing and colleagues showed that this approach can work.
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The primary objectives of the Center for Applied Linguistics are to improve the teaching of English as a second or foreign language, to promote the teaching of the less commonly taught languages, and to conduct research that will enhance the educational process.


The CAL website provides a series of "CALdigests," free short reports that synthesize current research andhighlight topics of interest covering a variety of subjects. One of the newest digests looks at using singable books as a simple, cost-effective way to combine the benefits of reading children’s literature aloud and singing. Singable books, picture books that use a song as the text, are inherently interactive and appealing to children. The digest includes a list of recommended books and activities for students in grades pre-K - 12.
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Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Its mission is to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the entire nation. The Center does not advocate for or take positions on policy issues. It is a project of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan "fact tank" in Washington, DC, that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world.

The Pew Hispanic Center recently published “When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and their Views of Identity.” The report was based on a new nationwide survey that found most Hispanics don’t embrace the term “Hispanic.” And even fewer prefer the term “Latino.”
Read report
Pew Hispanic Center Website
Pew Hispanic Center Facebook page

The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. It is the Center's mission to expand the base of public knowledge and understanding of the need for an immigration policy that gives first concern to the broad national interest. The Center is animated by a pro-immigrant, low-immigration vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.




An online refereed journal that seeks to disseminate research to foreign and second language educators, Language Learning & Technology focuses on language learning first and considers technology a tool to be used wisely and effectively.

The CMMR is an organized research unit at the University of Southern California, facilitating the research collaboration, dissemination and professional development activities of faculty, students, and others across the School of Education, university community and outside organizations.

The CMMR web site provides dozens of links to current research on topics of interest to ESL educators.