Myths and realities: best practices for language minority students

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Heinemann, 1999 - Education - 127 pages
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Language minority students, including Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students, constitute the fastest growing segment of the U.S. student population today. Still, the controversy around how best to educate these students continues to swirl, with programs across the nation under attack. Now, just in time, Katharine Davies Samway and Denise McKeon have crafted an easy-to-use, exhaustive handbook to debunk the myths and describe the proven best practices in language-minority education.

Written with mainstream educators in mind, "Myths and Realities" provides fundamental background information on issues such as second language acquisition; legal requirements for educating linguistically diverse students; and placement, program, and assessment information. Chapters are organized in broad topic areas, each presenting a commonly held, seemingly plausible, yet ultimately false notion about the education of language minority students. Then, in a straightforward review of the research, myths like these are dispelled:

  • MYTH: School districts are not obliged to enroll students who are not legal residents of the United States.
  • MYTH: Younger children are more effective language learners than older learners.
  • MYTH: Intake assessment tools such as the Bilingual Syntax Measure (BSM) and the Language Assessment Scales (LAS) provide sufficient information for the appropriate placement and teaching of L2 students.
Adding to the practicality of the text are realistic vignettes that ground the research in day-to-day scenarios; commonsense tables and figures offered in reproducible format (perfect for meetings and trainings); a glossary that defines the often confusing array of acronyms and jargon; and a thorough list of resources, including websites.

In a climate of high-stakes accountability, this guide will be invaluable to busy school administrators, curriculum supervisors, inservice and preservice teachers, and policymakers at all levels.

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Enrollment Myths
L1 Instruction Myth
Placement Myths

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Common terms and phrases

About the author (1999)

KATHARINE DAVIES SAMWAY is associate professor in the College of Education at San Jose State University. She is particularly interested in how children from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds develop language and literacy and what teachers can do to enhance that development.DENISE MCKEON is Senior Professional Associate at the National Education Association. Previously, McKeon served as Director of Outreach for the American Educational Research Association.