Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator's Guide

Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator's Guide

Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator's Guide

Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners: An Educator's Guide

Synopsis

Today's public schools are increasingly characterized by cultural and linguistic diversity. Studies show that about 4.4 million students nationwide lack the English skills needed to succeed academically. To help second language learners keep up in the classroom, educators must understand the challenges that bilingual students and schools face. In this concise guide, former bilingual teacher Judith Lessow-Hurley dives right into the language debate swirling in school systems large and small. She examines the popular myths about educating students in a multilinquistic society and introduces the key issues:
• The demographics of second language learners
• The theory underlying language instruction
• Desirable qualifications for bilingual teachers
• Effective teaching methods and programs
• Language and politics
• Language and the lawBy confronting common beliefs about English-only and immersion programs, basic interpersonal communication skills, the influence of culture on language, and more, Lessow-Hurley reveals how schools can successfully educate students from diverse backgrounds--without unintended prejudice. Her passionate and intelligent response in the language debate views every school as the bridge between cultures, helping all students develop academically and equally.

Excerpt

Fueled by immigration, the number of children in the nation's public schools has been increasing steadily over the last 20 years and is also becoming increasingly diverse (Jamieson, Curry & Martinez, 1999). Newcomers to the United States tend to be younger than highly assimilated traditional populations, so schools have felt the impact of population changes in the latter part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st more rapidly and more dramatically than other social and government institutions.

It is difficult to estimate the number of English Language Learners (ELLs) or students who need assistance with English because different states use different tools to measure language proficiency. Recent data from the Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA) of the U.S. Department of Education (2001) indicate that nationwide in the 1999-2000 . . .

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