Supporting Dual Language Learner Success in Superdiverse PreK-3 Classrooms: The Sobrato Early Academic Language Model

Report Author: 
Anya Hurwitz & Laurie Olsen
Original Date of Publication: 
March, 2018

While the characteristics of monolingual, bilingual, or dual language classrooms for young children are widely understood and well covered in the educational literature, there appears to be an information void regarding the "superdiverse" classroom, defined by this study as one "with at least five language groups represented, and without a critical mass of any one language group in a classroom that would make dual-language/bilingual instruction feasible." Too often in these settings, the importance of primary language skills to English language development is overlooked or discounted. As a result, children who are English language learners often fall behind their English native peers. To overcome this neglect, the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) model, originally designed for PreK-3 classrooms in Spanish-speaking Hispanic communities, is being piloted in more than 100 schools across 20 districts in California. The SEAL model is not a curriculum or a program, but rather a model of comprehensive teacher development and school change resting on four pillars: the development of academic language, the creation of language-rich and affirming environments, alignment of preschool and K-3 systems, and strong partnerships between families and schools.  The study reports positive results, at least through the medium of teacher surveys, and suggests that the "superdiverse" classroom should be considered "a specific type of setting with specific practice and policy implications." (Diversity Dynamics)

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Citation: 

Hurwitz, A., & Olsen, L. (2018). Supporting Dual Language Learner Success in Superdiverse PreK-3 Classrooms: The Sobrato Early Academic Language Model (Report) (p. 30). Washington, D.C.: Migration Policy Institute. Retrieved from https://www.migrationpolicy.org/research/supporting-dual-language-learner-success-superdiverse-prek-3-classrooms-sobrato

Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute
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