Giving Compass’ Take:
• Migration Policy Institute research reveals that effectively teaching children in superdiverse classrooms has lasting benefits for children and their communities.
• How can philanthropy support the expansion of effective education models for superdiverse classrooms? How can these programs be improved to include more children and work more effectively?
• Read more about dual language learners from Migration Policy Institute.
In early childhood education and care programs across the United States, there is a growing need for effective approaches to teaching in classrooms where children come from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Many of the tried and trusted models for supporting Dual Language Learners (DLLs) were developed in more homogeneous or bilingual settings. As a result, rising classroom superdiversity has left some teachers without the tools or support they need to leverage DLLs’ home language and create classrooms that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
This report focuses on the Sobrato Early Academic English (SEAL) Model, a well-regarded approach to preK-3 professional development that was piloted in 2008 and has since been used in more than 100 programs and schools in California. It aims to provide DLLs with language-intensive support integrated throughout the curriculum, in and through academic content.
Although initially designed and implemented in communities where Spanish was the home language of most DLLs, the SEAL Model is now being used in a wider range of schools, including many that are superdiverse. This analysis explores how the model is being adapted in these linguistically diverse classrooms, as well as the training and support needs of teachers using it.
In superdiverse classrooms, English is the common language, and children have tremendous motivation to learn and use it. For most of the children in the classroom, there is no lingua franca besides English. Being a DLL/EL in a community of multilinguals becomes a shared experience that bonds children across language groups.