WestEd in the Field

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Language, Literacy, and Learning in the Content Areas for English Language Learners

WestEd’s Aída Walqui and Robert Linquanti are among the founding partners of the Stanford University-based Understanding Language initiative, which aims to develop and disseminate theoretical and practical approaches to strengthening the education of English language learners in this era of new standards.

The initiative has organized a broad-based effort to focus educators’ attention on the disciplinary practices students need in order to achieve academic success—practices that include the development of conceptual understandings, multiple literacies, and the language required to express their understanding. The initiative also turns educators’ attention to the policies, structures, and capacity needed to carry out the work.

WestEd staff have collaborated with other Understanding Language initiative colleagues to develop open-source teaching resources that model how English language learners can engage with rich academic content while, at the same time, developing their English proficiency.

Our staff have also examined policy issues related to national efforts in English language learner language and academic assessment.