What is Project GLAD?

The Guided Language Acquisition Design

Project GLAD is a model of professional development in the area of language acquisition and literacy. The strategies and model promote English language acquisition, academic achievement, and cross-cultural skills. Project GLAD was developed and field tested for nine years in the Fountain Valley School District and is based on years of experience with integrated approaches for teaching language. Tied to the Common Core State Standards and State Standards, the model trains teachers to provide access to core curriculum using local district guidelines and curriculum.

Project GLAD is an instructional model with clear, practical strategies promoting positive, effective interactions among students and between teachers and students. Project GLAD develops metacognitive use of high level, academic language and literacy. During the staff development, teachers are provided with the instructional strategies, the theory and research that support the model, and the curriculum model that brings these all together in the context of district and state frameworks and standards. The second part of the training is a demonstration session in the classroom where the model is demonstrated with students.

Project GLAD training results in teachers’ renewed commitment to high expectations and high standards for all students. The results for students have been continued gains in standardized test scores, as well as renewed involvement in a classroom that is, not only student-centered, but fosters a sense of identity and voice.

Project GLAD is a United States Department of Education, OBEMLA, Project of Academic Excellence; a California Department of Education Exemplary Program, a model reform program for the Comprehensive School Reform Design, and training model for five Achieving Schools Award Winners. It was the recommended K-8 project by the California State Superintendent of Schools for teachers of English learners. It is also highlighted as a California Department of Education “Best Practices” program for Title III professional development funding.

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Project GLAD stands for and promotes an educational setting that produces effective, literate citizens of a global society. It is a model of respect for diversity not only in language and ethnicity, but, also, in thinking, learning, and personal experiences. It provides support for teachers and students alike to face change and success effectively and confidently.

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In summary, the following features make the Guided Language Acquisition Design promote successful, involved teachers and students:

• A unique blend of academic language and literacy that marries the research from many fields and organizes the strategies and classroom implications into a process.

• The model is not only firmly rooted in research, but it has been field tested both in district and out for the past 18 years. It has been found useful as a trainer of teachers and as a trainer of trainers.

• A classroom environment that values the student, provides authentic opportunities for use of academic language, maintains highest standards and expectations for all students, and fosters voice and identity.

• Primary language can be provided by trained bilingual teachers, trained bilingual aides, trained parents, or cross-age/peer tutoring. The unique aspect is that with this model both languages complement each other through integrated themes.

• The amount of oral language for negotiation for meaning and cross-cultural interaction is extensive.

• The training model is successful because it values teacher’s time, viewpoints, and expertise of the teachers, as well as promoting collaboration and peer coaching.

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Project GLAD is a model of staff training for language acquisition. Teachers are trained to modify the delivery of instruction of students to promote academic language and literacy. ProjectGLAD has two components.

1. The first component is the “what” of the language acquisition model

The “what” is that the Guided Language Acquisition Design (Project GLAD) provides an organizational structure for an integrated, balanced literacy approach. The integration, of listening, speaking, reading, and writing into all content areas and the interrelating of science, social studies, and literature with each other, underscores research that language is acquired most effectively when the emphasis is on meaning and the message. Language, any language, should be acquired while studying something of interest or real life use.

Writings in the field of brain research and standards-based instruction reinforce that by integrating the content areas and direct teaching of metacognitive strategies, learning is made more relevant and meaningful, thus insuring more efficient and effective learning. The strategies and classroom implications foster a risk-free, cross-culturally sensitive environment within which students are able to acquire academic language and concepts. Although, as written, the Project GLAD model is intended for English language acquisition for English language learners, it is valuable for acquisition of language for all students. The structure, strategies, and classroom implications, are invaluable in a multilingual setting.

2. The second component is the “how” of the staff training

STEPS IN TRAINING (Team of Teachers)

Element 1: Theory and Research

The Project GLAD Training is available to anyone in the profession of education.  It involves the Two-Day Research and Theory Workshop where participants will have the opportunity to dialogue and learn with other professionals in the field about the research that supports the model and its development, planning support connecting with the Common Core State Standards, an introduction to Project GLAD units, and exposure to about thirty effective teaching strategies. It covers the works of educators across the disciplines: reading, writing, brain compatible teaching, language acquisition, cross-cultural respect, primary language, and coaching. Research is directly tied to specific classroom implications, strategies and organization.

Element 2: The Demonstration Session

Following this training will be the Four or Five Day Demonstration Lesson. The demonstration is a unique opportunity for teachers to observe students utilizing the strategies with a Project GLAD trainer. The participants will be supported by a Project GLAD coach who will facilitate a deeper understanding of the strategies, their variations, and engage participants in meaningful conversations around the model. During the afternoons of the demonstration, participants will be able to start planning and preparing materials to use in their classroom right away to effectively support application and implementation. Seeing successful strategies with students is the most effective method of promoting change.

Element 3: Follow-up and Coaching

The trainers and leadership team develop a customized plan for Follow Up support. Trainers will provide customized follow up coaching to Project GLAD trained teachers. Teachers will receive individualized and grade-level team support around Project GLAD strategies to increase implementation of the use Project GLAD strategies. This differentiated model will provide and encourage collaboration, support, modeling of strategies, reflection and goal setting. Follow-up coaching might include classroom modeling, co-teaching, planning sessions, time to create standards-based lessons and prepare strategies.

Element 4: Gladiator

Teachers and district staff deepen their knowledge of the GLAD model and strategies to develop support for sites and districts. Districts can create model classrooms at each site to be a resource for GLAD trained staff.

Element 5: Trainer-in-Training (TnT)

Teachers and district staff increase their comprehension of the GLAD model to become certified trainers to conduct trainings within their own district. This supports districts to sustain implementation of GLAD in their district. TnT's build internal capacity for future GLAD trainings in their district.


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Based on current areas of research, a brief summary of some strategies and classroom implications follows:

1. Teach to the Highest

• A classroom environment that values the student and provides authentic opportunities for use of academic language and maintains the highest standards and expectations for all students (Goodman, Shefelbine, Cummins, Smith, and Collier).

2. Brain Research--Metacognition

• A time to activate and focus prior knowledge; inquiry charts, brainstorming, and clustering (Costa, Rico, Kovalik).

• An opportunity to insure a common base of understanding and scaffolding, direct experiences, films, visuals, teacher read alouds (Krashen, Collier, Swain, Long, Vygotsky).

• Students taught how and encouraged to organize thoughts and texts utilizing multiple intelligences: graphic organizers, summaries, visuals, or contextual and semantic clues (Costa, Rico, Krashen, Long, Marzano, Gardner, Lazear).

• Metacognitive aspect of teacher and students modeling of how an answer was arrived at, not merely what the correct answer was (Costa, Farr, Sagor).

3. Brain Research and Second Language Acquisition

• A student set purpose for learning; motivating, stated result or goal; student choices; connections made between personal background knowledge and new learning, inquiry charts (High Scope, Hunter, Cummins, Wolfe).

• Chances to negotiate meaning from language and text; cooperative activities for problem-solving and social skills; heterogeneous homogeneous flexible groupings (Long, Kagan, Vygotsky, Cummins, Shefelbine).

4. Reading and Writing To, With, and By Students

• Reading that stresses the purpose and joy before the skills; beginning with writing and reading one’s own language; immense amounts of being read to; time for silent sustained reading and silent sustained writing with oral book sharing and quickshares (Goodman, Krashen, Flores, Traill, Shefelbine).

• Direct teaching of concepts, vocabulary, and necessary skills; text patterns, academic language, writing patterns; decoding skills (UCI Writing Project, Bettances, Chall, Reading Task Force, Marzano, Beck, Shefelbine, Adams).

• Writing that stresses the metacognitive use of reading and writing as a process; use of clustering/brainstorming to initiate writing; acceptance of developmental level of writer; editing and revising done in appropriate places in the process. No over-editing in early drafts; not all writing brought to editing stage; use of conferencing methods to guide student through the process; use of logs for personal responses to texts or issues; use of interactive journals (Goodman, Graves, Calkins, Rico, UCI Writing Project).

• Language functional environment; language charts, poetry kept on walls - read and used by students; reading and writing the walls daily. Big Books on walls, shared reading/writing experiences (Traill, Cummins, Flor Ada).

5. Active participation in all components of the unit, negotiating for meaning, comprehensible output personal interactions and 10/2 (Long, Cambourne, Cummins, Swain, Goldenburg, Costa)

6. A theme, year planning, and strategies that foster standards-based learning respect, trust, identity, and voice. The use of personal interaction values oral ideas and cross-cultural respect. (Cummins, Wiggins and McTighe, Berman, Baron).

7. Ongoing assessment and evaluation using a variety of tools to provide reflection on what has been learned, how it was learned and what will be done with the information. Assessment, ongoing and summative, based on strengths as well as needs. Direct teaching of test language and test taking skills. (Costa, Wiggens, Farr, Treadway, Lazear)

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An unsolicited quote by a teacher at one of the adopting schools’ district board meetings:

“I teach a 4/5 combination at Finley, and I formerly taught at Fryberger, and when I taught at Fryberger, I had, I would say, between 6 and 10 English learners and maybe one would be non-English speaking. When I started teaching at Finley last year, I had about 25 English learners. Of those, I’d say 16-18 were levels 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s, 8 were non-English speaking. And I suddenly discovered that the way that I had taught before simply didn’t work. I was really frustrated. I was really floundering, and then, we received the GLAD training--the entire staff received GLAD training. I ran right back to the classroom, developed the first GLAD thematic unit, and all I can say is I, I mean I feel like a born again GLAD convert because it’s totally changed my teaching. I think that it is the single most important and valuable and effective teacher preparation that I’ve received--and I include in that student teaching--I wouldn’t trade all of the conferences that I’ve had in the last six years for the GLAD training. And I don’t want you to think that it’s only for English learners, or that it’s only for low-ability. I would happily and with great conviction teach a class of GATE students using the GLAD methodology--it’s plain old, good teaching, and I wish every teacher in the our school district could have the training. It’s wonderful. Thank you.”

A student quote:

“I like how you always use charts, so if you forget something overnite, you can come back and remember, also sitting in groups because if you need help, they are there for you.” (Jeff--4th grade)

An administrator’s quote:

“The feedback was wonderful. Both trainers said things that validated what we were doing and things that led us to improve our work.”

A parent and board member quote:

“ Project GLAD is a phenomenal program. Our teachers in our Dual Language Program here in Travis Unified have all been trained in the GLAD strategy, effectively apply it in their classrooms, and their walls are rich with vocabulary. They are awesome!”

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Project GLAD has over 30 years of data and personal testimony to its effectiveness.

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For further information, please contact: Toll Free 1-844-GET-GLAD (844-438-4523)

Noshaba Afzal, Certified Key Trainer

 (408) 439-6597


Jabbar Beig, Certified Key Trainer

(510) 205-3060




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updated 11/21/2014

Independent Project GLAD Trainers not affiliated with any state, county or district.