English Language Learners in the United States

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The cultural mix of America has long been diverse, however, the education system has always been trying to play catch-up in regards to how second language children should be taught. This is one cultural issue that impacts minority-language students throughout our nation. America was seen as a place where English was to be the dominant language and its use epitomized being a true American. This viewpoint eventually changed as the growth of diverse populations began to drastically change; no longer were minority languages isolated to small communities throughout the United States. As the diversity and quantity of immigrants coming into the U.S. educational and employment systems increased so did the need to address bilingualism. One might think that the diversity bilingualism brings to the U.S. should have been seen as a positive for a country dubbed the “Melting Pot”. However, there was still a push to make non-English speakers into Anglicized citizens, to become and be seen as more American. This focus on appearing more American was due, in part, to the language shift across the states depending on where certain immigrant groups migrated. Despite this growth, English was still seen as the dominant language, although there were some areas of forced Anglicization, such as when Native Americans were strongly compelled to practice English as their dominant language. Policies began to change as the needs for educating bilingual students and students who still spoke only their heritage language became the political spotlight. This focus varied between the viewpoints of policymakers who focused primarily on census data, and those of educators who wanted to focus on the unique challenge of educating English language learners: the impact ...

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...’s struggles for equality, and were able to create a positive bond with new classmates. On the other hand, the Nigerian students were able to feel like their culture mattered and were eager to share their viewpoints and experiences with the class. Our ESL team, per my suggestion, is also considering building a unit lesson plan around the non-fiction text Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team That Changed a Town by Warren St. John. This is a story about a young woman, born in Jordan but educated in the U.S., who became a youth soccer coach at a federal refugee camp in Clarkston, Georgia. These lessons should prove interesting to students as the camp features youth from over fifteen countries (St. John, 2012). America’s educators are culturally diverse; our students are culturally diverse, so of course our lesson selections should reflect this diversity.
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