Developing Language and Mastering Content in Heterogeneous Classrooms

  • Rachel A. Lotan
Part of the Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning book series (CULS, volume 8)

In this chapter, I describe what teachers need to do to set up classroom conditions that support development in English, the language of instruction, as well as mastery of subject matter content in academically and linguistically heterogeneous classrooms. To support my argument, I use data from a study conducted in six diverse 7th grade social studies classrooms in California’s Central Valley where teachers used complex instruction, a pedagogical approach that supports teaching at a high intellectual level in classrooms with a wide range of previous academic achievement and linguistic proficiency. Students from different language proficiency levels benefited similarly from the intellectually rigorous curriculum and from the quality of interactions with peers during group work. Based on this study, we suggest that schools rethink linguistic segregation and ensure access to challenging and grade-appropriate curricula and equitable instruction for all students. Furthermore, I present to teachers a model of effective, research-based practice that could expand their repertoire of strategies for heterogeneous classrooms.


Language Acquisition Limited English Proficient English Learner Academic Language Complex Instruction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel A. Lotan
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationStanford UniversityUSA

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