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English Language Learners - Essay Example

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Interaction between ELL families and schools has a great impact on language acquisition and education achievements. As a result of familial and community upbringing, foreign born students acquire a self-identity, perceptions of the world, and ways of communicating, thinking, and interacting within the world as they perceive it…
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English Language Learners
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Download file to see previous pages The major education reform issue stemming from this perspective is that "bridges" must be created between the repertoire of students and forms of knowledge and behavior accepted within classrooms and the school.
Building connections between schools and homes and communities is likely to be a necessary component in improving schooling success. There is a need to build multiple forms of connections. Two important goals are to strengthen parents' and community members' participation in the education of children and to improve the quality of instruction offered students. Yet a third goal may emerge as very important and that is to devise learning opportunities for parents so that they may improve their literacy and schooling knowledge and opportunity to help their children progress in school (Baker, 2001). This focus is not meant to imply lesser importance to parental and community involvement in schooling decisions and indeed the latter deserves separate attention in a broader, more systematic discussion of interventions. Everyday survival is dependent upon "funds of knowledge" or sociocultural capital that is exchanged among community members as they go about everyday activities. Funds of knowledge are exemplified by skills required in everyday activities and chores of life, such as childcare, purchasing goods and appliances, repairing equipment and cars, dealing with institutions such as hospitals, banks, etc (Crawford, 1995). The survival of family and community in the everyday world requires making sense out of the world and requires cooperation among community members in resolving everyday needs and problems. Schools are critical.
Many educators advise bilingual families avoid a native language usage and help their children to master a new language. They are settings where many of the skills for real world survival are learned (Crawford, 1995). This appreciation is missing for students because of the failure of schools to draw these connections into the curriculum and because bilingual students do not see the ways in which their own family-community experiences are related to schooling. Building ties between funds of knowledge in families, communities, and schools appears promising in that it can provide bilingual students with a way to see how school learning fits into the everyday experiences of family and community members. Extensions of such work to bridge connections between foreign students and other communities and institutions would also appear to be just as promising. Other institutional contexts worthy of attention include college and university connections to elementary and high schools and industry connections to home and community settings (Baker, 2001).
Resources for language acquisition involve peer groups and roles models, home support and classroom interaction, motivation and community programs for bilingual children. Recent years, more attention to ways in which the everyday world of students is connected to schooling in and of itself will not ensure that students learn in classroom settings (Baker, 2001). The very nature of classroom activities needs to be reconceptualized and cast from within more effective models of teaching and learning (Crawford, 1995). While research on effective instruction has ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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