Meeting the Challenge of Educating English Language Learners Introduction: Historically, the main purpose for education in the United States has been to produce a future generation of productive citizens. Thus, for many educators education has been considered to be the only means of formally preparing students to face the challenges of tomorrow…
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BIBLIOGRAPHY noted that these foreign students are the fastest growing group entering our schools, especially in urban settings. Although there are millions of immigrants in this country and endless resources geared towards their education, the educational performance of our new community members is one of the lowest in the country ( BIBLIOGRAPHY). As an educator for over seventeen years, the author of this paper believes that the challenge of educating English as Second Language learners is without a question a task which has been adequately explored by only a few districts. These districts are the ones that are truly prepared to see the value of language and culture as an opportunity to educate learners and to effectively integrate them into our schools and community at large. Hence, it is imperative for all districts to understand the magnitude of the challenge of teaching language and content to English as Second Language learners within the same hours of a day and in the same number of days per year as English learners. The Challenge Despite the efforts of educational leaders to educate all students it is interesting to analyze the impact of this education on newcomers. Firstly, although school districts continuously develop new initiatives and interventions the end result is usually the same - the initiatives essentially create a lack of access to meaningful education to the newcomer. Thus, one can conclude that school districts are still in the dark about how to specifically and effectively educate newcomers since most of the interventions become new failing attempts to successfully educate these students from foreign countries. A second rationale for the lack of effectiveness of these new initiatives is the fact that former immigrant students were intimately connected to members with the same cultural and language background. The author of this paper believes that it is this network of support which provided a source of strength and acculturation for the continued success of a given group. However, it is evident that the United States is now experiencing a tremendously large increase of students who are new immigrants who are isolated from mainstream society due to the lack of connections, resources and networking experienced by the former immigrants. At an alarmingly rapid rate more and more immigrants from oppressed nations are entering our cities, usually, as refugees. As such the challenges of these immigrant students are more severe than any of the previous groups. Consequently, it is has become critical to bridge the cultural and linguistic gaps of these immigrant students. Educational institutions within the school districts are not prepared or equipped to assimilate the multiple academic and socio emotional needs of these new students and their families. Accordingly, the institutions are faced with the daunting task of educating individuals who not only have diverse language and cultural backgrounds in English but also individuals who have limited exposure to formal education. Moreover, many of these students have experienced trauma in their home land and are now facing the acculturation shock of trying to fit in to our communities. The assimilation process which incorporates student engagement, parent engagement, discipline problems and eventually student exclusion has a significant impact in the culture of the school. Exclusion, the foremost by-product of
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Other points are as follows:
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