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School Community Journal, v18 n1 p7-20 Spr-Sum 2008

Many classroom teachers across the United States feel unprepared to work with students and families who speak limited or no English. Knowing that schools are accountable for the achievement results of these students, teachers increasingly seek help. This article describes a professional development project designed to introduce K-12 teachers to effective strategies for enhancing the learning of English language learners and shares the results that occurred as the teachers placed greater emphasis on family involvement practices. The Sheltered Instruction and Family Involvement (SIFI) project introduced the teachers to research on the effects of family involvement on students' academic achievement and asked that participants develop plans for involving families more intentionally. Results of the project, documented in survey responses and in evidence shared at a culminating project event, indicated changes in many teachers' views and practices of family involvement. Teachers reached out to families in new ways and made their instruction more connected to students' background knowledge. They also acknowledged the challenges involved. Despite the challenges, however, the professional development experience led to practices that are more likely to help English language learners achieve greater academic success. (Contains 2 tables.)

Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education, Family Involvement, Academic Achievement, Second Language Learning, Teacher Role, English (Second Language), Limited English Speaking, Faculty Development, Teaching Methods, Classroom Techniques, Family School Relationship, Parent Teacher Cooperation, Cultural Pluralism

Academic Development Institute. 121 North Kickapoo Street, Lincoln, IL 62656. Tel: 217-732-6462; Fax: 217-732-3696; Web site:

Autor: Chen, Cheng-Ting; Kyle, Diane W.; McIntyre, Ellen


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