NABE Weekly eNews
Jun. 12, 2014

Dear Presidents and Executive Directors of all NABE Affiliates,
A growing number of studies reveal that it takes English language learners more than three years to become proficient in the academic language needed to pass an exam in English. It has also been clearly demonstrated that during their first year of attendance at a school in the USA, English language learners are at the initial stage of understanding and using English; consequently, after one year of instruction, these students fail to pass an English Language Arts test and are unable to demonstrate progress in their acquisition of English language skills. As expected, the unfairness of this practice generates discouraging effects among students and parents as well as educators who must demonstrate their efficiency in meeting the needs of ELLs.More

17th Annual Dual Language Symposium
International Education Consultants
Register now! Join us at the Gran Meliá Resort in Río Grande, Puerto Rico. Registration opened on April 15 and closes on June 30. Space is limited.More

4 favorite tools for English language learning
eSchool News
Here are reviews of four high-quality digital tools that can help teach English language skills, courtesy of Common Sense Media and its new Graphite service — a free database of teacher-written reviews of learning technologies.More

ELLs test-drive new English language proficiency assessments
Education Week
It's been a field-testing frenzy all spring with five separate assessment groups asking school districts and students to test drive the array of new exams they are designing to measure students' command of the Common Core standards. After a slow start, the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment Consortium, one of two groups of states that are developing Common Core aligned tests of English language proficiency, will wrap up its first phase of field testing at the end of this month.More

National AAPI leaders to gather around key education issues
On June 17, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund will host its annual Higher Education Summit around the theme, Creating Meaningful Change for AAPI Students, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Organized into a series of presentations, panels and breakout sessions, the 2014 APIASF Higher Education Summit will highlight how the acceleration of student success, mobilization of communities and resources, and advancement of institutional capacity contribute to broad scale meaningful change for Asian American and Pacific students.More

Pay attention! How to actively teach listening skills
By: Erick Herrmann
If you ask teachers what their greatest frustrations are in the classroom, inevitably you will be told that students do not know how to listen. When listening, students need not only to hear the words, but also to distill the most important messages from what is being said and integrate those words into their understanding. For students with processing disorders and for students who are learning English as a new language, this can be especially challenging. Yet many teachers have not been shown how to explicitly teach listening skills in their teacher education programs or through professional development.More

Is bilingual education worth bringing back?
Los Angeles Times
A lot has changed since 1998, when Proposition 227 all but wiped out bilingual instruction in California public schools. The matter is due for reconsideration; a bill that passed the state Senate last week would allow that to happen. SB 1174, by state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), would place a measure on the November 2016 ballot to repeal Proposition 227 and allow local school districts to decide whether they want to bring back bilingual education rather than continue with the current system, which aims to move students toward full-time English use as quickly as possible.More

Study: Immigrant parents less likely to read to their children
Minority children often lag behind their peers in language development when they start preschool. According to a new study, some of that disparity in school readiness may be due to differences in the frequency of "book sharing" among families. More

Dual-language learning for all students is visionary
The Voice of Tucson
Being visionary didn't work for Arizona. Being reactionary was a bust, too. It's time to apply some hard-nosed realism to the fact that our schools are not serving a population of kids who are fast becoming the majority of K-12 students.More

From second language learning to bilingualism in schools
Psychology Today
We are many who feel that education should help children and adolescents acquire a second or third language while retaining their first language. Education should also encourage the active use of those languages, if at all possible. More

Multilingual or not, infants learn words best when it sounds like home
Science Daily via SAGE Publications
Growing up in a multilingual home has many advantages, but many parents worry that exposure to multiple languages might delay language acquisition. New research could now lay some of these multilingual myths to rest, thanks to a revealing study that shows both monolingual and bilingual infants learn a new word best from someone with a language background that matches their own.More

Underreacting to struggling English language learners: The problem with delaying intervention in the early years
International Reading Association
Diagnosing reading difficulties is a nuanced process. For example, educators have to discern whether students struggle with skills-based competencies (at the word level) and/or whether they are having problems with the knowledge-based competencies (e.g., vocabulary, conceptual understanding) that are necessary to comprehend text. When teaching English language learners, the process can be even more complicated, and today's prevailing response presents a dilemma.More

Does the language you speak influence how you think?
Mother Nature Network
Suppose a friend said to you in English, "I'm visiting my uncle." From this sentence alone there's little you can glean about this uncle. However, if you and your friend spoke Korean and she told you she was visiting her uncle, you'd know several things about him based on what word for "uncle" she used. Let's say she informed you she was visiting samchon. This word alone would inform you that her uncle is her father's unmarried younger brother. In Korean, as in Chinese, the speaker has no choice but to encode this kind of information into the sentence. The languages require speakers to think about their family relationships when speaking of them.More

Study: Immigrant parents less likely to read to their children
Minority children often lag behind their peers in language development when they start preschool. According to a new study, some of that disparity in school readiness may be due to differences in the frequency of "book sharing" among families. The study found that parents in Hispanic or Asian immigrant families in California were less likely to read or look at picture books with their young children than non-Hispanic white parents.More

Texas test scores are in: Poor students, ESL students are still struggling with STAAR more than peers
The Huntsville Item
Preliminary statewide results came back for the STAAR test for Texas students in grades 3 through 8. While honors students were the highest performing group, many demographics still lag behind the curve. Students taking English as a second language classes are having the toughest time with passing rates, as the latest results reveal they are 26.2 percent behind non-ESL students. Economically disadvantaged students also struggle with passing rates about 20.2 percent behind their peers.More

Children see improvement in language when they are physically fit
Physically fit children are not only healthier, they have faster and more robust neuro-electrical brain responses while reading, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Illinois. The findings were published in the Brain and Cognition journal. Although the research doesn't prove that higher fitness directly affects the changes in the electrical activity in the brain, it does offer a mechanism to explain why physical fitness associates closely with improved cognitive performance with a variety of tasks and language skills.More

Breaking the language barrier
Chesterfield Observer
Chesterfield County, Virginia's school system is working to improve its curriculum for middle school students who have learned English as a second language. In English for speakers of other languages courses, these students are given assistance to master reading, writing and speech. Since last spring, the school system has been working to overhaul the curriculum used in its middle schools for students of medium-to-high-level English proficiency.More

New York state sets focus on English learners
Education Week
With the shift to the common standards and recent history of low student-achievement results as catalysts, education leaders in New York state are pushing a new agenda for English language learners that calls for more accountability for their needs and more opportunities for rigorous bilingual and dual-language instruction.More