Effective Bilingual Teaching

State licensure policies for bilingual teachers reflect a common knowledge base about what knowledge, skills, and abilities are required for effective bilingual program implementation and classroom teaching. In California, as elsewhere, state agencies and institutions of higher education continue to refine and augment the knowledge and research bases for teacher certification. This expanded knowledge has been applied in teacher education and credentialing programs for enhancing the effectiveness of teachers who work with English language learners in various types of programs.

Policy initiatives that increase the rigor of testing and academic demands for earning bilingual teaching certification are responses to changes in federal and state laws and policies regarding the education of English language learners (ELLs) and the demand for teachers with bilingual teaching skills. As the research evidence supporting effective bilingual teaching practices expands, programs and licensure regulations for certifying bilingual teachers will benefit. Distinguish between challenges to students’ learning based on their lack of language proficiency to express their knowledge of content and when the concepts or content knowledge needs to be developed through language that students have mastered. Knowledge of effective grouping patterns according to students’ dominant language and L2 proficiency. Selection and adaptation of L1 and L2 materials and texts for grade-level instruction in L1 and developmentally appropriate materials in L1.

Knowledge of cross-linguistic transfer theory and the connections between students’ academic knowledge and their growth in L2 proficiency. Ability to develop critical thinking skills in L1 and to present increasingly challenging content material in L2 as students’ proficiency increases. Ability to determine what content needs to be introduced, practiced, and assessed in either L1 or L2 at points in time in the curriculum. Knowledge of the benefits of bilingualism and the expectation that students become fully bilingual and biliterate. Knowledge of bilingual language use in the students’ homes and community and affirmation of the use of two or more languages as a resource. Expectations that students will become fully linguistically and culturally integrated into society as bilingual individuals.