Updates & Revisions in GREEN
Title of Research Project: Integration of Language Development Strategies into ESL
Preschool Classrooms in Rural East Texas: Impact on English Language Development
IRB APPROVAL – has been granted by Verna Barron
INTRODUCTION: This research is phase 2 of a 2-part pilot study to integrate language
stimulation techniques into daily teaching to improve English language development in
ESL preschool four-year-old students. Phase 1 offered a 2-day training workshop to a
random half of all ESL preschool teachers in an east Texas school district. Phase 2 will
follow these teachers into their classrooms to study the impact of this training on the
English language development of their ESL preschool students as determined by the
growth index in two popular and current pre and post assessments of oral
language development—the oral language cluster of the WMLS-R and the receptive
language PPVT-4 test.
DATE - Sept. 28, 2008
1 - FACULTY RESEARCHER & PROJECT LEADER
Carolyn Davidson Abel, EdD
Professor & Project Leader
Research Academy Funded
Dept Elementary Education
2 – CO-RESEARCHERS
Dorothy Lee Gottshall , EdD 936-468-2904 email@example.com COE funded
Jannah Nerren, PhD 936-468-2904 firstname.lastname@example.org Research Academy funded
Lee W. Payne, PhD 936-468-2183 email@example.com Center for Applied & Social
3 - TYPE OF RESEARCH - Faculty Research / Grant, funded in part by COE Research Academy
Pretest-posttest randomized pilot study
4 - TITLE OF PROJECT - Integration of Language Development Strategies into ESL
Preschool Classrooms in Rural East Texas: Impact on English Language Development
5 – NOT NEW
6 - PROJECT PERIOD
This application (phase 2): September 1, 2008 – August 31, 2009
This is Phase 2 of a 2-part pilot study
Phase 1 was completed during Summer 2008
7 - INFORMED CONSENT
Half (five) of the ESL preschool teachers of four-year-olds in an large East Texas School
District were randomly selected and given two-day training in language stimulation
techniques that support the learning of English. These trained participants will integrate the
training they received in June 2008 into their teaching during the 2008-2009 school year which is
expected to impact English language development in their preschool ESL four-year-old students.
Researchers will study the impact of English language development on the ESL students of
trained ESL preschool teachers vs those not selected for the training (controls) using a pre /
post oral language cluster of the updated and revised and state-endorsed Woodcock
Munoz Language Survey (WMLS-R) and a pre / post assessment of receptive language
using the most current and widely-used 4 edition of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
Participants in the study (ESL preschool teachers) were randomly assigned a code
number which will be used on all documents. A master list attaching names to numbers is being
confidentially maintained by the Project Leader.
Preschool students’ names will be kept confidential as Woodcock Munoz language test
scores (both pre and post) are collected for evaluation to learn if the language stimulation
techniques have an impact on English language development. The school district‘s ESL Director
will provide the Woodcock Munoz Pre and Post scores for researchers to analyze. The ESL
Director will also permit researchers to collect pre/post PPVT-4 data using a retired teacher
familiar with testing procedures and working with young children who is not connected with the
research in any way. These scores will be kept equally confidential.
8 – COPIES OF ALL PERTINENT INFORMATION
ALL APPENDIXES may be viewed here:
Phase One – previously conducted
SURVEY TO DETERMINE STUDY PARTICIPANTS VS CONTROLS
INTRODUCTORY LETTER TO ESL TEACHERS (STUDY PARTICIPANTS)
CONSENT FORM FOR ESL TEACHERS (STUDY PARTICIPANTS)
FOLLOW-UP LETTER TO PRINCIPALS AND SUPERINTENDENTS OF EACH SCHOOL WHERE ESL
PRESCHOOL TEACHERS ARE PARTICIPATING.
LETTER OF CONSENT PERMITTING 2-DAY WORKSHOP TO BE CONDUCTED ON PREMISES and
PERMISSION TO WORK WITH CHILDREN IN LAB SCHOOL 5-7-08 Update - Received from Lori Harkness,
Director ECE lab school
2-DAY WORKSHOP ITINERARY
M/C PRE/POST TEST FOR ESL TEACHERS – KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGE STRATEGIES
FEEDBACK SURVEY – SEMINAR – LANGUAGE DEV STRATEGIES
Phase Two – this study, to be conducted during 2008-2009 school year
We have full IRB approval from Verna Barron
have subsequently been approved by Dr. Walker, new director, as well as by Angela Ford of
the SFA Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
Appendix – District ESL Director – permission to use data (Woodcock Munoz pre/post) w strict
Appendix – District ESL Director – permission to use trained assessor to pre/post test ESL
students using the most current and widely used Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-4)
of receptive language development w strict confidentiality.
Appendix- District ESL Director – permission to randomly and infrequently observe in ―treatment‖
classrooms (to check fidelity to the treatment).
Appendix – Checklist / rubric of observed behaviors indicative of training received June 2008 using
Educational Productions‘ Good Talking with You: Oh Say What They See, An
introduction to indirect language stimulation techniques www.edpro.com. Sample:
9 – RESEARCH PROTOCOL
PHASE ONE – Completed Summer 2008
Participants in this pilot study were randomly selected from the entire group of ESL preschool
teachers of four-year-olds in Lufkin ISD for the two-day language training workshop on language
stimulation techniques. Additional funding from the Department of Elementary Education at
Stephen F. Austin State University was secured to provide ESL Teacher participants with a $100
daily stipend to attend the workshop training. Five (half) of the ESL preschool teachers of four-
year-olds from the Lufkin School District in East Texas received the two-day training at SFA‘s
university lab school in June of 2008.
PHASE TWO – Current Study
Trained ESL teachers will integrate learned language development strategies into their teaching
during the 2008 – 2009 school year. Pre/Post assessments of English language development in
the ESL students will be obtained from both treatment and control classrooms using the most
recent version of the Woodcock Munoz Language Survey (WMLS-R) given by this school district.
Data will be kept strictly confidential at all times. Pre/Post scores will also be collected by a retired
teacher not involved in this study who will use the most current version of the Peabody Picture
Vocabulary Test (PPVT-4). This trained teacher will be paid for her services with
compensation provided through the Department of Elementary Education.
To maintain fidelity to the treatment, the researcher with whom the treatment preschool teachers
are most familiar will randomly visit the treatment classrooms a minimum of four times during the
school year to ensure newly language stimulation techniques are being used in these
classrooms. If found to be necessary, a refresher course will be offered during the course of the
year to be certain ESL preschoolers are receiving the desired treatment and that language
stimulation techniques are being integrated into the daily instruction in those classrooms.
The university‘s Director of the Center for Applied Social Research Education (CASRE) has
agreed to support the team in analyzing data to determine degree of impact and significance of
C – BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this pretest-posttest randomized clinical trial is to determine the effect of ESL
preschool teacher training in language stimulation techniques on the English language
development of their ESL preschool four-year-old students. It is expected these teachers have
developed sufficient understanding and skill in language simulation techniques during a two-day
summer training, to effectively integrate the strategies into their teaching during the following
school year to improve English language development in their ESL preschool students.
English Language Learners (ELL) comprises one of the fastest-growing groups among school-
aged children in the nation. According to the Pew Hispanic Center‘s data based on the 2006
Census, 1 in 5 students in public schools today is Hispanic; this growth of Latino students, driven
by immigration and higher fertility rates, poses challenges for educators, especially in
kindergarten where the populations are increasing most rapidly and particularly in Texas
classrooms where more than half of these children are enrolled (Fry & Gonzales, 2008). This
report also states that half of these children live in poverty, and it is well known that a low
socioeconomic status (SES) can contribute to lack of school success which in turn is often
explained by limited early language development support from the home (Hart & Risley, 2003).
It is widely known that language supports reading which holds the key to future learning and
success in school (National Reading Panel, 2000). Language develops best in a rich
environment with many opportunities for practice (Dickinson, 2001). Children who do not develop
basic language skills by age 3 are most likely to be at risk of failure when they enter kindergarten
With over 500 different languages being spoken in today‘s schools, and preschools reporting the
highest enrollments of these ELLs (Morrow, 2008), it becomes increasingly difficult to offer
instruction in the first language to support even those whose first language is well developed, and
there is increased concern for those who are already at risk in the first language when they begin
school. While schools cannot control for skill level development in the first language, schools can
attempt to influence how these children learn English.
It is well known that transfer occurs from a person‘s first language into the newly acquired
language, but it is also now recognized that ―reverse transfer" also may occur (National Literacy
Panel, 2006). This suggests that with proper and early support, ELLs may learn English that
would then transfer into the first language. The ultimate impact could be improvement in both
languages and most importantly, these young preschoolers would have a ‗jumpstart‘ in English
before serious instruction in first grade would begin.
Early childhood educators are aware that when young children are exposed to a sensitive
nurturing environment, where adults comment on what the child says and model and extend the
language the child uses, language development is facilitated (Morrow, 2008). The present study
investigates whether a similar positive impact can be made for Spanish-speaking children when
these simple language development techniques are used to encourage them to learn and use
The language stimulation techniques taught in the training during phase one of this study are
grounded in social interactionist theories of language acquisition which recognizes that language
learning is facilitated through social interactions with mature language users (Bohannon &
Bonvillian, 2000; National Reading Panel 2000). The training program of five sequential video
tapes from Educational Productions demonstrates how to stimulate language development in
normally developing and language-delayed children who are three, four, and five years of age.
These language stimulation techniques are developmentally appropriate in their use of strategies
that relate directly to what the child is interested in and extends what the child says (Snow, 1983).
These techniques are currently being used in many developmentally appropriate training labs
across the country for regular and language-delayed preschoolers and are recommended by the
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services for building positive child outcomes for Head
The training selected for this research shares some similarities with a recent study using
―recasting‖ with ESL students. Recasts are replies to children‘s utterances that provide syntactic
revisions of statements children make while maintaining the central meaning (Nelson, Welsh,
Camarata, Butkovsky, & Camarata, l996). While that study demonstrated modest gains, it
attributed a tendency in adults to become overly complex in their responses to children‘s attempts
at communication to explain the study‘s disappointing results; it was recommended that future
studies correct for this problem (Tsybina et al, 2006). The training given to a random half of the
ESL preschool teachers during phase one of this study, more closely follows the child‘s lead and
limits extensions of the child‘s language using indirect and less complex language stimulation
techniques during the earliest levels of language development.
Assessment of Language Development Training on ESL Preschool Students
Pre and Post language assessment data using the most recent and highly regarded versions of
the WMLS-R and the PPVT-4 will be collected and analyzed, keeping all names strictly
confidential. Researchers will note impact on treatment vs control classrooms to determine the
effect of training on ESL preschool four-year-old students. The WMLS-R (Oral Language Cluster)
will be given as it is given each year in this school district—by trained personnel (when children
enroll and before April). The PPVT-4 will be collected by a paid trained retired external teacher
during late September 2008 and late March or early April of 2009. The new receptive language
growth index provided by the newest version of the PPVT-4 has particular value for this study.
Building Capacity for Future Research
This research will follow the trained teachers directly into their classrooms to determine impact, if
any, on language development in the ESL students they teach. Future phases will look into the
impact language development strategies may have on learning any language, in general, and will
inform the development of Spanish learning modules currently being created at this university.
Additional studies will seek to determine any long term impact on study participants‘ students‘
future reading success and will consider ways to integrate language development strategies
determined to be effective into training for teacher candidates, classroom teacher aids, bilingual
teachers, and parents of ELL.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This study seeks to determine the impact of a 2-day language stimulation training workshop
provided for a random half (five) of the ESL preschool teachers in a large rural school district in
East Texas on the English language development of their four-year-old ESL students as
compared to the classrooms of ESL children whose teachers did not receive the training.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research study is to determine to what extent a two-day training workshop in
language stimulation techniques impacts English language development in their ESL preschool
four-year-old students. It is expected trained teachers will integrate newly learned language
stimulation techniques into their regular classroom teaching and improve English language
development in their English Language Learners which will ultimately improve overall school
success for this population of students.
THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS
To what extent does ESL teacher training in language development techniques demonstrated in
Educational Productions‘ Good Talking with You influence English language development in their
ESL preschool students as measured by Pre and Post assessments using the WMLS-R and the
During June 2008, five randomly selected ESL preschool teachers from Lufkin School District in
east Texas were trained in language stimulation techniques via face-to-face two-day seminar/s
conducted by the three researchers utilizing Educational Productions‘ videos and training
materials (June 26 – 27, 2008). Data sources included ESL teachers‘ pre-survey information to
provide data on treatment and control groups, pre/post scores from multiple choice assessment
of participant knowledge of language strategies, and anonymous participant feedback following
the training. All participants were assigned a code number for all documents to maintain strict
confidentiality. Names with numbers are being kept by the Principle Investigator, locked in a
cabinet in the Department of Elementary Education at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Over the summer, attrition occurred in the ESL teacher population in both treatment and control
groups. One treatment and two control teachers did not return to become part of phase 2 of this
project. Since one Bilingual-ESL treatment left and one Bilingual-ESL control left, this kept things
even. The research team simply chose to replace the missing ESL preschool control teacher with
the new replacement in that room in an attempt to preserve the randomness of the trial.
Pre and Post scores using the school‘s WMLS-R will be analyzed for any impact of training on
ESL preschool treatment and control groups following a full year of integration of training
techniques in treatment classrooms. The PPVT-4 pre and post will also be given by a trained
external retired teacher and analyzed by the researchers.
Phase of Research Study Data Collection Treatment Controls
ESL Teachers, TRAINED ESL Teachers, NOT
Random selection Trained
Phase 1 – June ‘08 M/C Test demonstrated 4 ESL 4 ESL
Knowledge of Language
TEACHER TRAINING Techniques (pre/post) [1 left]
[1 replaced 1, Ph2]
1 B-ESL [left for Ph2] 1 B-ESL
Phase 2 – 2008-09 [compare trained vs not
school year trained]
All ESL Students = 31 All ESL Students = 33
IMPACT on English Researcher Checklist
Language Devlpmt (fidelity to treatment)
[4-yr-old students] Pre/post Woodcock Munoz
Language Survey, Revised
(Lang Cluster by school)
and Peabody Picture
Vocabulary Test-4th edition
UPDATE: Data will be analyzed by our new team member, Dr. Lee Payne, Director of the
Center for Applied Social Research (CASRE), also faculty here at SFA. Please visit the
BRIEF to see revisions due to attrition. Essentially, we will be comparing TREATMENT
with 2 types of CONTROLS—one ESL, similar and random to Treatment—the other, a
BILINGUAL control group.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is the intent of this study to determine the impact of quality training in basic language
stimulation techniques provided to randomly selected ESL preschool teachers during summer
2008 (Phase One) on their preschool students following a year of integration of these techniques
into their regular classroom teaching during the 2008-2009 school year. It is anticipated these
simple techniques will give ESL preschool students a jump-start in English which will facilitate
their English language development and improve future reading and academic success in school
(subsequent phases to be studied).
The results of this project may be applied to training of other school personnel such as teacher
candidates, existing classroom teachers and aides, and even parents. It might also inform our
delivery of second language learning for adults. Results will improve our knowledge about
effective alternative educational settings for Limited Language Proficient (LEP) students in east
Texas and, in the future, may generalize across the state of Texas and the nation.
D – POTENTIAL RISKS
We do not anticipate any physical, psychological, legal, or other risks to the ESL preschool
teachers or their students who will participate in this study. However, all consent forms and
permission signatures have been secured and all names associated with individual scores will be
E – CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUES
All data surveys, pre/post assessments, fidelity checklists, and feedback surveys will remain
strictly confidential. The Principle Investigator will keep matching names and numbers under lock
and key in the Department of Elementary Education at Stephen F. Austin State University.
ADDITIONS OR CHANGES in procedures involving human subjects, as well as any problems
connected with the use of human subjects once the project has begun, will be brought to the
attention of the IRB for human subjects.
Progress of our study may be monitored here and any new changes as of this date will be
noted in GREEN at this site after updating Angela Ford firstname.lastname@example.org and the new director,
Michael Walker email@example.com
DISSEMINATION includes but is not be limited to the following / summary page of all events &
publications plus photos and copies of submitted documents & handouts are located on this page
PHASE ONE - completed
BRIEF - www.education.sfasu.edu/ele/classes/abel/language/abel_brief_081609.doc
Accepted / Delivered: APR 24, 2008 – Poster / Bright Ideas Conference and Paper,
Stephen F Austin State University; Nacogdoches, Texas
Gottshall, Dottie; Nerren Jannah; Abel, Carolyn. Impact of Language
Development Training for ESL Preschool Teachers in Rural East Texas
Invited / Delivered: May 1, 2008. Faculty & Staff Appreciation Reception and Department
of Elementary Education Tour; ECE university lab school; Stephen F. Austin State
University; Nacogdoches, Texas.
Gottshall, Dottie; Abel, Carolyn; Nerren, Jannah. Impact of Language
Invited / Delivered: MAY 20-21, 2008 – Poster and Paper / Research in Reading
Seminar: Culturally Responsive Reading Education and English Language Learners;
Higher Education Collaborative. Austin, Texas.
Nerren, Jannah; Gottshall, Dottie; Abel, Carolyn. Language Development
Training for ESL Preschool Teachers
Training Delivered: June 26 – 27, 2008 Early Childhood Lab; Stephen F. Austin State
University; Nacogdoches, Texas.
Gottshall, Dottie; Nerren, Jannah; and Abel, Carolyn Davidson. Language
Stimulation Training Workshop. Early Childhood Lab; Stephen F. Austin State
University; Nacogdoches, Texas. June 26-27, 2008.
FINAL PAPER: AUG 15, 2008 – to seek publication in peer reviewed journal(s)
See Phase 2 below (ACEI – phase 1)
Abel, Carolyn; Gottshall, Dottie; and Nerren,Jannah. Study of the Integration of
Language Development Strategies into ESL Preschool Classrooms in East
Texas: Training the Teachers
PHASE TWO – this study
Invited / Presented / OCT 16-17, 2008 – Presentation / Higher Education Collaborative.
Austin, Texas. Seminar on Reading Comprehension
Gottshall, Dottie; Nerren, Jannah; Abel, Carolyn. Research Update: English for
Sumbitted / Accepeted - NABE 38 Annual Conference of the National Association for
Bilingual Education – Feb 18 – 21, 2009 Bilingual Education: Strengthening America
Through a Multilingual Society Austin, TX. http://www.nabe.org/conference.html
Nerren, Jannah; Gottshall, Dottie; Abel, Carol. Professional Development:
Training Teachers to Teach English to English Language Learners
Will Submit – ACEI – March 2008 - ACEI Virtual Presentation
Abel, Carolyn; Gottshall, Dottie; and Nerren, Jannah. Teaching English to ESL
Preschoolers in ALL Classrooms
Will Submit – FINAL PAPER for Phase 2 & Presentation – AERA Annual National
Meeting; Disciplined Inquiry: Education Research in the circle of Knowledge – April 13 –
17, 2009 San Diego, CA http://www.aera.net/meetings/Default.aspx?menu_id=22&id=50
Presentors: Nerren, Jannah; Abel, Carolyn; Gottshall, Dottie Integration of
English Language Development Strategies into ESL Preschool Classrooms
in Rural East Texas (A Two Phase Project)
Final Paper: Abel, Carolyn; Gottshall, Dottie; Nerren, Jannah Fully co-authored
Integration of Language Development Strategies into ESL Preschool
Classrooms in Rural East Texas: Impact on English Language
Submitted - NAEYC - 18 National Institute for Early Childhood Professional
Development - June 14 -17, 2009 Charlotte, NC Play: Where Learning Begins
Presentors: Gottshall, Dottie; Abel, Carolyn; Nerren, Jannah. Research
presentation / paper to be named.
12-01-08 - All publications will be fully co-authored and will include our new team
member, Dr. Lee Payne.
Bohannon, J. N. and Bonvillian, J. D. (2000). Theoretical approaches to language acquisition. In
J. B. Gleason (Ed.). The development of language (pp. 254-314). Needham Heights,
MA: Allyn & Bacon. In Tsybina I., Girolametto, L., Weitzman, E., and Greenberg, J.
(2006 October). Recasts Used with Preschoolers Learning English as their Second
Language. Early Childhood Education Journal, 34(2), 178-179.
Dickinson, D. K. (2001). Large group and free-play times: Conversational settings supporting
language and literacy development. In D. K. Dickinson and P. O. Tabors (Eds.).
Beginning literacy with language (pp. 223-255). Baltimore: Brookes. In slide 3 of
Kindergarten Oral Language and Vocabulary Development: Overview. Retrieved
February 29, 2008 from
Fry, Richard and Gonzales, Felisa (August 2008). One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of
Hispanic Public School Students. Washington, DC: Pew Hispanic Center. Retrieved on
September 1, 2008 from http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/92.pdf
Good Talking With You Series (2007). Oh say what they see—an introduction to indirect
language stimulation techniques. Portland, OR: Educational Productions. Retrieved
February 29, 2008 from
Hart, Betty and Risley, Todd (2003). The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.
American Educator, Spring 2003. P. 8.
Morrow, L. M. (2008). Language and vocabulary development. P. 98-116. In Literacy
development in the early years: Helping children read and write. (6 ed). Columbus, OH:
Allyn & Bacon Publisher.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000). Report of the National
Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: an evidence-based assessment of the
scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction:
Reports of the subgroups (NIH Publication No. 00-4754). Pp.4-1, 4-3, 8, 16, 20.
Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Nelson, K. E., Welsh, J., Camarata, S. M., Butkovsky, L., & Camarata, M. (l996). Effects of
imitative and conversational recasting treatment on the acquisition of grammar in children
with specific language impairment and younger language normal children. Journal of
Speech and Hearing Research, 39, 850-859.
Snow, Catherine (l983). In Literacy and language: Relationships during the preschool years. P.
210. In Manami, M. & Kennedy, B. P. (l998). Language issues in literacy and
bilingual/multicultural education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Educational Review.
Tsybina, I., Girolametto, L., Weitzman, E., & Greenberg, J. (2006, October). Recasts Used with
Preschoolers Learning English as their Second Language. Early Childhood Education
Journal, 34(2), 177-185. Retrieved May 14, 2008, doi:10.1007/s10643-006-0110-2