BCLAD (Bilingual, Crosscultural, Language, and Academic Development) is a credential offered by the state of California for candidates who complete training on teaching in a bilingual environment. It explores issues such as development of bilingual vocabulary, improving bilingual literacy, language acquisition, and culturally relevant instruction.

Vocabulary Development

Graves (2009) states that the best way for students to learn vocabulary is to associate the new written word with what they know- the spoken word. He said students should follow a 3-step process when learning new words: See the word, hear the word as it is seen, and rehearse that association myriad times. He said providing glossaries, context-dictionary discussions and images also help learners with new vocabulary words. Teachers ought to teach their ELL students how to understand identify the words that are already in their known oral vocabularies. This increases student esteem and helps them develop skills for connecting oral vocabulary to reading and writing vocabulary.

Literacy Development

Carlo, M.S.& Bengochea, A. (2010) conclude that literacy skills cannot be improved through reading comprehension alone but must include various engagement activities for practicing the language. They also asserted that a bridge must be built between the orthography skills they already know and those they need to learn.

Goldenberg, C. (2008), based on the findings of two major studies concerning ELL success in school, concluded that learning to read in the home language promotes reading achievement in the second language. In other words, teaching ELL to learn in their first language greatly benefits their ability to achieve literacy in their second language.

Saunders, W.M. & Goldenberg, C. (2010) argue that English Language Development (ELD) benefits from direct instruction rather than mere open-ended communication. Learning English is based on more than exposure and input, so activities that aid in the development of English should be specifically designed and implemented. The major theories guiding their research are as follows: 1. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT): ELD is a social process. Major ideas: 1. The goal of CLT is to develop learners’ communicative competence 2. Communication is both a goal and means of and for developing language.

Language Acquisition

Wilson (2000) summarizes the main components of language acquisition:
  • Language acquisition is a subconscious process that extends to children and adults. It is also known for being referenced as when someone "picks up a language." It does not provide any person/s with 100% of the language. It is responsible for fluency and most of our accuracy.
  • — We learn the language when we understand the message (comprehensible input), and the rate of acquisition varies.
  • — The ability to speak is the result of language acquisition, and while speaking does not cause language acquisition, it can help in the sense it promotes conversation and feeling more comfortable as a member/user of said language.
  • — The affective filter hypothesis claims that factors such as low self-esteem, overcorrection of language, anxiousness, prevention of being seen as a member of the group prevents language acquistion
  • — Input, not output and correction, a prediction supported by the research showing disappointing results for error correction" (23/8).

According to August, D. & Shanahan, T. (2006), instruction that provides substantial coverage in the key components of read- ing (identified by the National Reading Panel (NICHD, 2000) as phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension) has clear benefits for language-minority students. Instruction in the key components of reading is necessary, but not sufficient, for teaching language-minority students to read and write proficiently in English. Oral proficiency in English is critical as well, but student performance suggests that it is often overlooked in instruction. There is surprisingly little evidence of the impact of sociocultural variables on literacy achievement or development. However, home language experiences can have a positive impact on literacy achievement.

Culturally Relevant Instruction and Teacher Positionality

Gee (2004) states that reading is a highly cultural process which must be taken into account when assigning reading in classrooms. He says that it is easier for a child to learn a language if they are reading in a cultural context that is familiar (for example, reading a story about a familiar folktale in English). Students from low income homes do not have the language exposure that other students typically have. However, their daily lives and home experiences are rich with language-related experiences. Gee argues: “Poor children do not have less language ability than rich ones. Many poor families also engage their children in complex language practices at home. The problem is that these practices do not pay off in school, though of course we could imagine school changing such a way that they did. And indeed they should.”

Lee (2007) affirms that it’s essential to understand the cultural practices of students and how these play into the students’ daily routines. He said that students’ cultures must be taken into account when creating the best learning environment for the students

Riojas et al. (_) argue that teachers who have a strong hold on their own identities and Latinidad have a more effective and positive impact on their students of Latin@ backgrounds. Ethnic minority teachers with a strong identity bring a cultural knowledge to their experiences as educators of ELLs. Culturally efficacious teachers know how to capitalize on their own and their students’ social and linguistic capitals.

Along similar lines, Bustos et al. (_) argue that teacher ideology shapes behavior and classroom practices, as well as student achievement expectations. Teachers’ attitudes, values, and beliefs about teaching, students, and about themselves strongly influence the impact will have on student learning and development. There needs to be more Bilingual Education Teacher preparation and deep interrogation of ideology.


Helman (2004) concludes that teachers can better scaffold their ELLs' learning by learning the phonemes (basic units of sound) associated with their students' home languages. In order to be successful readers and writers, all students must have a clear understanding of the sound-symbol correspondences of its alphabetic system. The more that teachers know about the similarities between the English and Spanish sound systems, the more they can help their students overcome challenges in language development.

Graves, M.F. (2009). Introductory Instructions. In Teachers College Press, Teaching individual words: One size does not fit all (69-78). New York: Teachers College Press.

Carlo, M.S..& Bengochea, A. (2010) Best practices in literacy instruction for English Language Learners. In Best Practices in Literacy Instruction (4th Ed.), Best practices for literacy instruction (117-143). New York: The Guildford Press.

Wilson. R. (2000).A Summary of Stephen Krashen's Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Retrieved from

Gee, P.J. (2004). Language and identity at home. In Situated language and learning (pp. 21-38). New York: Routledge.

Lee, C.D. (2007). The culture of everyday practices and their implications for learning in schools. In Culture, literacy and learning (pp. 9-30). New York: Teachers College.

Goldenberg, C. (2008). Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research does—and does not—say.

Saunders, W. M., & Goldenberg, C. (2010). Research to guide English Language Development instruction. In D. Dolson & L. Burnham-Massey (Eds.) Improving education for English Learners: Research-based approaches (21-81). Sacramento, CA: CDE Press.

August D., & Shanahan, T. (2006). Executive summary, developing literacy in Second Language Learners: Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth.

Helman, Lori A. (2004). Building on the sound system of Spanish: Insights from the alphabetic spellings of English Language Learners.

Riojas Clark, E., Guardia Jackson, L., & Prieto, L. “Identity: A central facet of culturally efficacious bilingual education teachers.” In B. Bustos Flores, R. Hernández Sheets and E. Riojas Clark (Eds.), Teacher preparation for bilingual student population (pp. 27-39). New York: Routledge.

Bustos Flores, B., Ek, L.D & Sánchez, P. “Bilingual education candidates ideology,” In B. Bustos Flores, R. Hernández Sheets and E. Riojas Clark (Eds.), Teacher preparation for bilingual student population (pp. 4058). New York: Routledge