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April 20, 1998

The bilingual question

UCSC researchers find all students benefit from strong cognitive and academic instruction conducted in their first language

By Elizabeth Goodman (408/459-3500)
Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE)

How should we educate English language learners for success academically and to become productive and integrated members of American society? State, federal, and local policies should be congruent with research-based findings, in order to stimulate and, when necessary, regulate programs to be most effective.

Summarized below are the findings from research conducted by CREDE and other bilingual/ESL researchers on the effects of bilingual education, the goals of which are to teach competence in English language, English literacy, and English-based academic skills. This research shows that:

There is a critical shortage of teachers who can work successfully with English language learners, whether they be in mainstream or bilingual/ESL classrooms. Research is under way to document effective methods for recruitment, training, and support of such a workforce.

Further information can be obtained from CREDE, the Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence, a national research-and-development center funded by the U.S. Department of Education. CREDE's research goal is to identify and examine the most-effective forms of education for students at-risk of educational failure due to linguistic and cultural diversity, poverty, or geographical isolation. CREDE's offices are located at UCSC, and Roland G. Tharp is the director.

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