Dr. de Oliveira looks at language-based content instruction

Spotlight on SOE faculty research

Larger headshot of Dr. Luciana de Oliveira.
Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D.

The amount of knowledge being generated by VCU School of Education faculty in published research goes beyond merely enhancing the school’s reputation – it is helping to shape the future of education itself. One recent example of this is the study below, co-authored by Luciana C. de Oliveira, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and professor in the school, which looks at a language-based approach to content instruction.


Dr. de Oliveira along with co-authors Loren Jones, Ph.D., assistant clinical professor and TESOL programs coordinator at the University of Maryland, and Sharon L. Smith, Ph.D., a kindergarten teacher at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, examine the importance of teacher discourse in scaffolding instruction for multilingual learners (MLs). The authors present a language-based approach to content instruction (LACI), a guiding framework comprised of six scaffolding elements that teachers can use to support their MLs during classroom instruction. The six scaffolding elements are: Connection, Code-Breaking, Community and Collaboration, Culture, Challenge, and Classroom Interactions.

Using an in-depth case study, the authors explored how a first-grade teacher used the LACI framework to support her linguistically and culturally diverse students in their development of academic language and access to English language arts content. Demonstrating overall positive findings, the framework provided the teacher with various scaffolding moves to facilitate learning and to validate students’ unique cultural and linguistic resources.

This study contributes initial findings regarding this framework and showcases practical implications for both elementary teachers and teacher educators.


de Oliveira, L.C., Jones, L., & Smith, S.L. (2021). A language-based approach to content instruction (LACI) for multilingual learners: Six Cs of scaffolding in first grade. Journal of Language, Identity, and EducationDOI: 10.1080/15348458.2021.1885409