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Editorial Introduction

What does language have to do with the success or failure of students in urban schools? This is a question we pose to incoming Teacher Education students at UCLA each year. 

In this issue of Center XChange, which focuses on language issues in education, we address this question.  Rather than viewing language as a problem, as is common in educational research and practice, we highlight the linguistic virtuosity of students from non-dominant groups in our urban schools.  We  identify ways to build on the skills that youth bring to the classroom as well as to expand their language toolkits - what some researchers have called their "repertoires of linguistic practice." 

In our XPress feature, we present a taste of the rich and varied research on language issues in education that has been produced at UCLA.

In the Teacher Workroom, we present a series of activities that we developed here at UCLA, aimed to help teachers learn about students' everyday language experiences, and to connect the skills used in these activities to academic literacy skills. We also share links to readings that can support teachers and students in doing this work.

In the Student Commons feature, we feature the work of emerging scholars - UCLA students who are studying such diverse language issues as bilingual youths' writing; exclusionary language practices toward Morrocan immigrants in Spain; codeswitching; teachers' understanding of the language demands of history instruction; middle school students' repertoires of linguistic practice; language ideologies in a dual language program; and the work of translating between cultural contexts as well as between academic and everyday talk.

The final section, On My Shelf, involves an email conversation between the editors of this volume. In our dialogue, we discuss readings that we have found important in our work bridging theory and practice.

Thank you for visiting and exploring our website. We hope this material will help you to appreciate the rich language experiences that your students bring to your classroom each day. We hope you will share your ideas with us by clicking on the various links we have provided for feedback.


Marjorie Faulstich Orellana

Danny Cortez Martínez

Jacqueline D'warte

Fall 2010


Note: As a repository of manuscripts that have been published elsewhere, we are constrained by copyright regulations. Thus we are not able to share all of the articles we might like to share; instead we offer just a small taste of the rich research on language issues in education that UCLA fosters. We thank all contributors to this issue (authors, publishers, students, and artists) for the many hours of hard work that went into the materials we share here as well as for the permission to share it. And a huge thank you to the editorial team of Center X-change for their support in bringing this all together, and especially to Alice Tseng-Planas for her tremendous technical expertise.


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