Featuring children's music in Spanish

Stanley A. & Yolanda M. Lucero, Owners.  26963 Merril Ave., Madera Area, CA 93638 Webpage:  Email: Lucerito's Music


Identify academic and language proficiency weaknesses 

in both languages

Stanley A. Lucero, Madera , California

 Students who speak two languages and are experiencing academic difficulties might qualify for bilingual special education services.   What looks like a processing disorder in L2 might actually be an L2 stage of language acquisition.  A student assessed only in L2 might exhibit "learning disabled" behaviors.  The IEP team needs to review the bilingual academic testing, the bilingual proficiency testing and evaluate the appropriateness of the bilingual instructional program provided to the student.

COSECHA 2002 Workshop Description, Santa Ana Pueblo , New Mexico , November 2002.

 Cultural Shock

 Monolingual Spanish speaking home. 

All English classroom in Kindergarten

Had not spoken a word all year

Urinating at school

Perica at home, no urinating at home

Became selective mute at school

Tested in Spanish and placed in Spanish SDC classroom

6th grade English SDC classroom

 English testing in Kindergarten; placed in English SDC program

Monolingual Spanish speaking home

Reading at 2nd grade level in English

Labeled as trainable mentally retarded

Speaking with survival English

At IEP meeting father asked if his son would have learned if taught in Spanish

BWPE: could read Spanish at 2nd grade level [transfer skills]; SS scores higher than ability

IPT: Spanish retell almost verbatim

Asked for Spanish ability testing

 5th grade referral as Severe Language Disorder

Tested in English by Speech Therapist and Psychologist

Monolingual Spanish speaking home

BSM results: Level 6 in both English and Spanish

Asked for Spanish speech and ability testing

10th grade referral to Site Committee

 Had been in ESL for three years and couldn’t speak English

Home visit: Mother stated her daughter had just had tubes placed in her ears.

Limited bilingual students

Special Diagnosis

Dr. Jim Cummins: Bilingual Special Education

Threshold Theory

Misplaced in L2 classrooms

Dr. Alba Ortiz

Dr. Leonard Baca: Bilingual Special Education Interface

Dr. Kirathi: L2 can short circuit LH students

Dr. Donald Omark: The Bilingual Exceptional Child

Match your program to the child

Children have receptive language

“The child does not have any language so we need to place the child in an English classroom.”

Parent Request for a Bilingual Classroom

Language of instruction vs Cultural clash

Suggestions to the IEP team

 Factors that the IEP team must consider

ü      Educational level of parents.

ü      Income level of family.

ü      Parent involvement in school.

ü      Health and Developmental history.

ü      Student motivation and abilities.

ü      Staff skills & staff development.

ü      Family mobility.

ü      Emotional issues.

Consider the following tests for language proficiency skills:

 Consider the following tests for Spanish academic skills:

 Basic bilingual education concepts

 A review of the literature will help you determine the best pre referral interventions and also the best IEP program placements for bilingual students.

Ø      Piaget:  Developmental Stages of Language Development: Listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Ø      Cummins:  Threshold Proficiency Level: Low levels of language proficiency in the first language have a negative effect on second language acquisition and conceptual development.

Ø      Hakuta:  Native language proficiency as a strong indicator of second language development.

Ø      Collier & Thomas: It is important not to limit the academic development of LEP students while they are learning English.

Ø      Lev Vygotsky: If children are denied the opportunity to use their (native} language, they are denied the opportunity to develop their own cognition.

Ø      Lau vs. Nichols: Imposition of a requirement that, before a child can effectively participate in the educational program, he must have already acquired those basic {English} skills is to make a mockery of public education.

Ø      Cummins: The language needed for academic success is cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP).

Ø      Ramirez: Content area instruction is based on the notion of “comprehensible input,” in which the teacher uses only the vocabulary and structures that can be understood by students.

Ø      Cochran: Second language acquisition is similar to the process of young children becoming fluent in a first language.

Ø      Bartoff: Haitian Creole who were taught literacy skills first in the L1 acquired English language and literacy skills faster than those not receiving L1 literacy instruction.

Ø      Goodman & Goodman: Elementary grade Spanish, Arabic, Samoan and Navajo students learned to read English more easily if they were literate in their first language than if they were preliterate bilinguals.

Ø      Cummins: Common Underlying Proficiency Model – There is no need to relearn acquired knowledge; thus, time spent developing conceptual knowledge in the L1, including a multidimensional concept such as literacy is not wasted time.

Suggestions for classroom teachers

A student who is placed into a program that doesn’t utilize his primary language can “create” educational gaps that could be avoided by using some of the following suggestions.

q       Find textbooks that have English and Spanish side by side.

q       Find literature books that have English and Spanish side by side.

q       Find literature books on the same theme in English and Spanish.

q       Purchase bilingual ditto-master stories.

q       Purchase bilingual software.

q       Purchase a bilingual reading software program.

q       Prepare homework assignments with English on side one and Spanish on side two.  Give extra credit if both sides are completed.

q       Give all of your students similar assignments in English and Spanish to insure equal access to the core curriculum.

q       Alternate days for English and Spanish on routine activities such as calendar, weather, lunch count, attendance, flag salute, etc.

q       Alternate days for cultural activities such as songs, games, art projects, food demonstrations, sayings (dichos), etc.

q       If you have a fluent bilingual aide, ask your aide to assume the role of the Spanish Model while you assume the role of the English model.

q       If you and your aide are both bilingual, alternate weeks as English and Spanish models.

q       If your school has a bilingual teacher in the same grade as yours, team-teach during the mornings.  You provide English curriculum to English speakers and the bilingual teacher provides the Spanish curriculum to Spanish speakers.  You provide ESL to the Spanish speakers and the bilingual teacher provides SSL to the English speakers.

q       If you are a bilingual teacher, adopt one of the bilingual teaching strategies for your classroom.  Ideally, all of the bilingual teachers at your school would use the same strategy.  Some samples are Dual Language Model, Eastman Project, Alternate Day and Team Teaching.

q       Schedule ESL and SSL during the same language arts time block of your day and then alternate English and Spanish days.  Advanced ESL and Advanced SSL students will be focusing on reading and writing skills.  Beginning ESL and Beginning SSL students will be focusing on understanding and speaking skills.

q       Team-teach ESL with other teachers to group students according to their English proficiency levels.  Each teacher takes a group of students with similar English proficiency levels and provides instruction at that level.

q       Group all of your students by Math ability levels and then alternate days for English and Spanish lessons.  (Use the same idea for other academic subjects.)

q       Teach students how to read what they can say (Language Experience Approach).  Use the language of the students (English, Spanish, etc.).

q       Find out what languages the parents read and send home reading assignments in that language to encourage parent support at home.

q       Always send homework instructions in the language of the parents if you wish the parents to work with their children at home.

q       Send a letter home to all of the parents in your classroom explaining the benefits of learning a second language. 

q       Display English and Spanish information on your bulletin boards.

q       Have your bulletin boards reflect the languages and cultures of your students.

q       Popular bulletin board idea – 50% in English and 50% in Spanish.

q       Expect all of your students to meet grade level expectations and standards in their first language.

q       Encourage all of your students to meet grade level expectations and standards in their second language.

q       Test all of your students in their first and second language to measure progress in both languages.  If you only test in one language, you are only seeing half of the picture.

This page was updated Monday, October 09, 2006