Bilingual/ESL > Glossary



Academic English proficiency - see academic language proficiency.
Academic language - Specific content-area language linked to conceptual knowledge necessary for academic success and grade-level literacy. Researchers estimate between five and seven years for the full development of academic language competency. Some researchers also add that for students with weak academic or native language skills up to ten years may be necessary.  Language used in the learning of academic subject matter in formal schooling context; aspects of language strongly associated with literacy and academic achievement, including specific academic terms or technical language and speech registers related to each field of study (TESOL, 1997).
Academic language proficiency - ability in language skills needed for mastering academic material; pertains to both written and oral language.
Bilingual education - any of a number of approaches that use to varying degrees the language of the child and English in the teaching of academic content and literacy skills.  Bilingual education - broad term denoting programs for students with limited or no proficiency in the language of instruction (English in the U.S.). Programs generally use students’ home language for academic and language arts instruction while students are acquiring proficiency in English for academic purposes. In some programs, home language use is limited to 2 or 3 years and ultimately discontinued; in other programs, home language is used for extended periods with the goal of promoting proficiency in both languages.
Bilingual proficiency - ability to use 2 or more languages in oral and/or written form; proficiency can vary from beginning to advanced levels and can be at the same level in both languages or at different levels in each language.
Bilingualism - see bilingual proficiency.
Biliteracy - literacy in two languages (see also literacy, bilingual proficiency).
Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) - an approach to curriculum development, lesson planning, and teaching that combines the strategies of teaching language through content with the direct instruction of learning strategies.
Content-Based approaches – see Sheltered English Content Area Instruction.
Contextualize - to put a word or activity, particularly a new one, into a familiar context.
DBE, developmental bilingual education - enrichment form of bilingual education. Students receive academic and language arts instruction in both English and their home language. Program goal is promoting advanced levels of bilingual proficiency, including literacy and high level standards in academic achievement.
Dual language immersion - see TWI, two-way immersion
Early-exit bilingual education - see TBE, transitional bilingual education
ELL, English language learner - student whose first language is not English and who either lacks proficiency in English or has beginning level proficiency in English
English as a Second Language (ESL) - the teaching of English and academic content to students who are English language learners.
English Language Learners (ELLs) - see limited-English proficient students.
First language - a student's first language, generally the language spoken at home
Graphic organizers (semantic maps) - visual representations of conceptual knowledge that assist English language learners (and all learners) in mastering difficult content area material while reducing the linguistic demands. Examples of commonly used graphic organizers are Venn or comparison contrast diagrams, spider or cluster maps, T-lists, cause and effect maps, time ladder or sequence maps, and flow charts.
Home language - see primary language
L1 - see first language
L2- see second language
Language experience approach - an approach that builds on the child’s experience by using drawing, storytelling, and process writing techniques. Finished writing samples often become reading materials within the classroom library.
Language majority students - students whose first language is that of the majority population  Language minority students, LMS - students in the U.S. whose first language is not English and who have no or limited proficiency in English
Late-exit bilingual education - see DBE, developmental bilingual education
LEP, limited English proficient - term often used in state and federal regulations to refer to English language learners.
Limited-English Proficient (LEP) students - the legal term for students who speak another language in the home and who is not a fluent speaker of English. English language learner is currently the preferred term for describing these students.
Literacy - ability to read, write, and comprehend.
Native language - see primary language.
Newcomers - recent immigrant students with limited English proficiency and often a level of prior education that does not match their chronological age
Paraprofessionals/paraeducators/teacher assistants or teacher aides - school employees whose responsibilities are instructional or who deliver other services to students, paraeducators work under the supervision of teachers or other professional personnel who have the ultimate responsibility for educational programs
Primary language - the first language learned, generally the language spoken at home
Primary native/home language/language 1 - the language most often spoken in the home. In some cases, it might even be the language of a grandparent who is the primary caregiver for a significant portion of the day, thus influencing the language development of the child.
Rubric - a scoring guide for evaluating the quality of work or products to answer the question: What does mastery, and varying degrees of mastery, look like?; it has three essential features: evaluative criteria, quality definitions, and a scoring strategy, which may be either holistic or analytic
Scaffolding - a teaching strategy in which instruction begins at a level encouraging students’ success and provides the right amount of support to move students to a higher level of understanding
Second language - the second language a student has learned or is in the process of learning after a first language has already been learned
Secondary language - see second language.
Semantic mapping - see graphic organizers.
Sheltered English content-area instruction - approaches that teach language through content by contextualizing the English but maintaining the crucial academic content and concepts.
Sheltered instruction - teaching approach promoting development of a second language while simultaneously facilitating mastery of academic content taught through that second language. Can be used with a first language if students lack proficiency in the language for academic purposes.
Silent period - the first phase of language acquisition in which students are actively listening but not yet producing language
Social language - the more concrete, less academically oriented language typically used in one-on-one communication in preschool and primary level classrooms, and for most social interactions. Social English development is important, but ultimately the more abstract academic English competency will ensure academic success. Researchers estimate two to three years to fully develop social English competency for most English language learners.
Standards - 1) criteria set as a model or an example to strive to achieve; 2) curriculum standards are subject-matter benchmarks to measure student academic achievement.
Teacher aides - see paraeducators.
Total physical response - a language learning methodology using real objects and commands; used frequently with beginners as part of what is known as the “natural approach” to learning languages.
TWI, two-way immersion - bilingual programs for language majority and language minority students in the same classes; provides language arts and academic instruction through medium of each group’s home language for at least 50% of the elementary grades and up to 90% during the primary grades; English is used for academic instruction for both groups of students for at least 50% of the time by the end of elementary school; goals are bilingual proficiency and high academic achievement and cross-cultural understanding
Two-way bilingual education - see TWI, two-way immersion