English Learners : Language Diversity Essay

English Learners : Language Diversity Essay

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Educating English Learners: Language Diversity in the Classroom takes a clear stance on the superiority of bilingual education over English only education methods. The research and empirical evidence seems to support Crawford 's opinions to a large extent. As a mother of two boys and someone who understands the value of multilingualism, a two-way bilingual educational model makes sense. However, in Colorado where I intend to spend the next twenty years or so teaching, the opportunities for bilingual education are limited at this time. Further, as a white woman who struggles to speak even basic Spanish, I would likely have a difficult time finding employ in a bilingual school. Therefore, I chose to look at the research of bilingual education from the perspective of what can I learn and use daily in the immersion and ESL classroom.
The modern English-Only movement began as a push against the bilingual movement that took hold in the 1960s and 1970s. The bilingual movement was steeped in the idea of equal opportunity for all. In contrast, English-Only activists felt bilingualism was putting internal security at risk by encouraging civil strife. They felt the battle of languages encourages a power struggle between language groups and obstructs assimilation. Interestingly, a proposed federal constitutional amendment for English-Only proposed by S.I. Hayakawa of California did allow for one exception that would allow the use of native languages as a transitional tool in education. It seems even they understood that English-Only in the classroom may have some problems. The proposed amendment and other similar proposals never got very far in Congress. (2738, Crawford) However, thirty-one states have some form of an English-...

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...e. We have a misguided public that often believes that a sink-or-swim approach is good enough. Faced with this reality, educators can take a more moderate and palatable approach than full-on bilingual approach. We can do this by allowing for some use of L1. This will promote a welcoming and respectful environment, activate and encourage first language associations to promote deeper and more meaningful learning, and enhance lessons that engage the learners. As an added bonus, native English speaking classmates can see how rich a multilingual world can be and learn to respect others with differing backgrounds, language and culture. In an increasingly diverse world economy and mobile population, it will not only benefit the LEP students but the nation as a whole to develop a population who can communicate and interact on the world stage with respect for all.

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