Language and Learning: Educating Linguistically Diverse Students

SUNY Press
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This book explores the challenges of teaching an increasingly multilingual and multicultural American school population. Six million American children—one in eight—live in homes where a language other than English is spoken. Most of these children come to school with limited ability in English. Many of them do not succeed in the American school system; two-thirds of immigrant students, and up to one-half of students from non-English backgrounds, drop out of school.

This books shows that transformation of schools to accommodate students from non-English backgrounds would benefit students from all backgrounds. Section One discusses the effects of education reform on students from non-English language backgrounds. Section Two focuses on what and how students are taught. Section Three provides contrasting perspectives on the issue of language development. Section Four outlines approaches, emphasizing meaningful communication, to teaching math and science to students from non-English language backgrounds.
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About the author

Beverly McLeod is the project coordinator of the Student Diversity Study, a U.S. Department of Education-funded effort to identify and study exemplary schools whose students come from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. She is a research affiliate, National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781438412597
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / General
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book gives educators important answers to the urgent question of how teachers and schools can facilitate language minority and immigrant students' progress in school. It offers an innovative and powerful method teachers and students can use to study the situational context of education, providing both the theoretical background and the practical tools to implement this approach.

The situational context of education includes linguistic, economic, social, cultural, and political factors, as well as conditions, such as students' personal characteristics, family support, and quality of instruction. All of these factors influence the lives of students and their academic performance and contribute in many ways, some subtle and indirect, to making the educational experience more or less difficult for different students.

The premise of the book is that objective study of the situational context of education by both students and teachers is beneficial because it leads to a more realistic view of how to facilitate students' progress in school. Designed as a text for graduate courses for preservice and in-service teachers working with students in bilingual, ESL, mainstream, and special education classrooms, the goal is to engage readers in learning not only from the literature but also from studying the situational contexts of their own students. The focus here is on the factors that affect language minority and immigrant students in the United States, but the framework is equally powerful for work with student populations in other social contexts.

*The Introduction includes an overview of the theory behind the study of the situational context of education and the implementation of this approach; describes the context of the pilot lessons included in the book; and explains how to use the lessons detailed in later chapters.

*Chapters 2-6 focus on different factors in the situational context of education: linguistic, economic, social, cultural, and political. A three-part structure is used: "Classroom Implementation" (a rich description of one lesson in a real classroom); "Context Variables" (a theoretical explanation of the specific factor the chapter addresses, providing the research basis for the sample lesson objectives ); "Doing Analysis of the Context" (several sample lessons for implementation). The lessons are addressed to the teacher, with detailed ideas on how to carry out the lesson and evaluate the students' understanding of the situational context.

*Five Appendices provide helpful resources for the implementation of the lessons: an Annotated bibliography of relevant K-12 children's literature; Instructional Approaches; Scoring Rubrics for Content Objectives; Guidelines for a Contrastive Study of Situational Context; and Lesson Template.

The lessons have been thoroughly field-tested with students and teachers. Because these lessons work on multiple levels, Situational Context of Education: A Window Into the World of Bilingual Learners benefits students from first grade through preservice and in-service teachers in university courses. Teachers get to know their students and their predicaments within the social context of the United States, and at the same time, the lesson activities have a great impact on the students in their classes. All are helped to achieve academically while gaining awareness of situational factors affecting their lives.
The focus of this edited volume is on immigration’s effect on schooling and the consequential aspect of illegal immigration’s effect. To understand immigration (legal and undocumented) and K-16 education in Asia, Europe, and the US is to situate both within the broader context of globalization. This volume presents a timely and poignant analysis of the historical, legal, and demographic issues related to immigration with implications for education and its interdisciplinary processes. Arguments based on theories of globalization, socialization, naturalization, and xenophobia are provided as a conceptual foundation to assess such issues as access to and use of public services, e.g., public education, health, etc. Additional discussions center around the social, political, and economic forces that shape the social/cultural identities of this population as it tries to integrate into the larger society. The long-term causes and consequences of global immigration dynamics, and the multiple paths taken by immigrants, especially children, wishing to study are addressed. Summary discussion concludes the volume as well as projections with respect to links between immigration and key national security and international policy issues. Education can and must play an important role in a world that is more global and at the same time more local than it was almost twenty years ago. This volume intends to serve as an ambitious guide to approaching the issues of immigration and education more globally.
Population mobility is at an all-time high in human history. One result of this unprecedented movement of peoples around the world is that in many school systems monolingual and monocultural students are the exception rather than the rule, particularly in urban areas. This shift in demographic realities entails enormous challenges for educators and policy-makers. What do teachers need to know in order to teach effectively in linguistically and culturally diverse contexts? How long does it take second language learners to acquire proficiency in the language of school instruction? What are the differences between attaining conversational fluency in everyday contexts and developing proficiency in the language registers required for academic success? What adjustments do we need to make in curriculum, instruction and assessment to ensure that second-language learners understand what is being taught and are assessed in a fair and equitable manner? How long do we need to wait before including second-language learners in high-stakes national examinations and assessments? What role (if any) should be accorded students’ first language in the curriculum? Do bilingual education programs work well for poor children from minority-language backgrounds or should they be reserved only for middle-class children from the majority or dominant group? In addressing these issues, this volume focuses not only on issues of language learning and teaching but also highlights the ways in which power relations in the wider society affect patterns of teacher–student interaction in the classroom. Effective instruction will inevitably challenge patterns of coercive power relations in both school and society.
Geneva Gay is renowned for her contributions to multicultural education, particularly as it relates to curriculum design, professional learning, and classroom instruction. Gay has made many important revisions to keep her foundational, award-winning text relevant for today’s diverse student population, including: new research on culturally responsive teaching, a focus on a broader range of racial and ethnic groups, and consideration of additional issues related to early childhood education. Combining insights from multicultural education theory with real-life classroom stories, this book demonstrates that all students will perform better on multiple measures of achievement when teaching is filtered through students’ own cultural experiences. This perennial bestseller continues to be the go-to resource for teacher professional learning and preservice courses.

A Choice Magazine recommended title.

“Inspiring! A book every teacher should read. As one of the founders of the field of multicultural education, Gay has updated her exceptional resource for teachers.”
—Valerie Ooka Pang, San Diego State University

“Gay clearly explains how culturally responsive teaching can be used to dramatically influence the academic achievement of students of color and other marginalized students.”
—Carl A. Grant, University of Wisconsin at Madison (of previous edition)

“A comprehensive account of the important role that culture plays in the teaching and learning process.”
—Urban Education (of previous edition)

The concept of "funds of knowledge" is based on a simple premise: people are competent and have knowledge, and their life experiences have given them that knowledge. The claim in this book is that first-hand research experiences with families allow one to document this competence and knowledge, and that such engagement provides many possibilities for positive pedagogical actions.

Drawing from both Vygotskian and neo-sociocultural perspectives in designing a methodology that views the everyday practices of language and action as constructing knowledge, the funds of knowledge approach facilitates a systematic and powerful way to represent communities in terms of the resources they possess and how to harness them for classroom teaching.

This book accomplishes three objectives: It gives readers the basic methodology and techniques followed in the contributors' funds of knowledge research; it extends the boundaries of what these researchers have done; and it explores the applications to classroom practice that can result from teachers knowing the communities in which they work.

In a time when national educational discourses focus on system reform and wholesale replicability across school sites, this book offers a counter-perspective stating that instruction must be linked to students' lives, and that details of effective pedagogy should be linked to local histories and community contexts. This approach should not be confused with parent participation programs, although that is often a fortuitous consequence of the work described. It is also not an attempt to teach parents "how to do school" although that could certainly be an outcome if the parents so desired. Instead, the funds of knowledge approach attempts to accomplish something that may be even more challenging: to alter the perceptions of working-class or poor communities by viewing their households primarily in terms of their strengths and resources, their defining pedagogical characteristics.

Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing Practices in Households, Communities, and Classrooms is a critically important volume for all teachers and teachers-to-be, and for researchers and graduate students of language, culture, and education.
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