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Journal of Research in Education

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Because of current federal and state educational policies, oral language development is an often overlooked aspect of language and literacy use and development of English Learning (EL) students in K-12 schools in the United States. This article describes a study in which a researcher used an ecobehavioral approach to investigate the conditional probability that young adolescent EL students would produce language in content area classes as they engaged in four different instructional grouping configurations: whole class, small group, one-to-one, and individual instruction. Significant differences emerged between instructional grouping configurations in terms of EL student production of oral academic language. Overall, there was a significant probability that academic talk would not occur during whole class and individualized instruction and a significant probability that academic talk would occur during small group and one to one instruction. Reading aloud was not likely to occur during whole class, small group, and individualized instruction. However, it was significantly likely to occur during individualized instruction. Although further investigation is warranted across multiple contexts, these data suggest that EL students may engage in more academic language production if they are paired with other students during classroom instruction.


This is an electronic copy of an article originally published in the Journal of Research in Education. Archived with permission. The author(s) reserves all rights.