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Why are non-English Speaking students mistakenly being placed in special eduction classes - Assignment Example

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The decision to place students in special education for learning disabilities is complex and requires a great deal of understanding about the nature of the problem. A number of strands of thought can be identified in attempting to determine the reasons why learning capable…
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Why are non-English Speaking students mistakenly being placed in special eduction classes
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The decision to place in special education for learning disabilities is complex and requires a great deal of understanding about the nature of the problem. A number of strands of thought can be identified in attempting to determine the reasons why learning capable students are divided from their classmates along these lines. One line of thinking is that children learn second languages quicker so that their failure to do so in an academic setting is indicative of learning disabilities. While research points to this being true in regards to pronunciation, most linguists now believe that the greatest contributor to second language acquisition is the social environment and pressures this encompasses. As a result, children will experience language acquisition at varying degrees of proficiency according to family circumstances. Things such as use of language in the home environment, access to television and the internet, and the level of outside classroom speaking practice the students partake in are all factors that contribute to their success in school. Perhaps too much emphasis has been placed on sequential acquisition of language, viewing it in the same regards as math or science skills, with the result the student’s second-language deficiencies being mistakenly labeled learning disabilities.
Another possible instance is that of the student’s academic ability being obscured by their language ability. As sociolinguistic studies will attest, there is a connection between grammatical usage and the perception of competence and intelligence. What educators are interpreting as incompetence are actually higher forms of cognitive functioning. For instance, a student may display poor grammatical formulations in an essay, but exhibit exceptional analytic, research, or communicative competence. Teacher’s with an untrained eye for these traits are mistakenly labeling these students as learning disabled, because of their language mishaps, when higher level cognitive functioning is taking place. This is a form of linguistic imperialism that should be resisted in education. Read More
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