Effective Practices in Bilingual Multicultural Education Programs


The ALD4ALL Project has several objectives and components for improving bilingual-multicultural education in New Mexico. A major component of the project is to conduct an inquiry into the effective practices for improving the education of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) students, including English Learners (ELs). Findings from the inquiry would then inform the design and development of new approaches for professional learning for teachers and administrators. The project team structured the inquiry using a framework of systemic indicators put forth by Cadiero-Kaplan (2004).

Cadiero-Kaplan's indicators of effective practices—Value of Learner, Academic Language Orientation, Expectations for Learners, Instructional Goals, Resources, Assessment and Accountability, and Program Approaches are a source of inquiry that provides a structure for systemic inquiry.

The inquiry team conducted site visits and ongoing data collection at 12 schools identified for their promise and achievement in New Mexico. Using expanded definitions of Cadiero-Kaplan's indicators, the team conducted 98 classroom observations and numerous participant interviews and focus groups at 12 participating schools who were chosen because of their promise and achievement in serving CLD students.

The findings—that we term Effective Instructional Practices—include the following:

  1. Effective Instructional Practices
  2. Child-Centered Value of Learners;
  3. Holistic Academic Language and Literacy Orientation;
  4. Expectations for Active Learners;
  5. School/Program-Wide Instructional Planning;
  6. Resources for Learning in a Bilingual Context;
  7. Performance-Based Assessment and Accountability, and
  8. Bilingual-Multicultural Education Program Models.

The inquiry findings demonstrated that there are varying levels of implementation of these effective practices and that not all schools demonstrated similar levels on all indicators. For instance, some schools easily epitomized one of the indicators, while other schools were more balanced across some or all the indicators.