Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Maximizing comprehensible instruction and peer-interaction for English learners

Sent to the Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 22

Re:  "Los Angeles schools' plan for non-English speakers: Segregation or solution?" (Oct 21),
The purpose of the Los Angeles schools' plan for English learners, as I understand it, is to maximize comprehensible instruction while also maximizing opportunities for meaningful interaction among students. 

Beginning English learners will neither acquire English nor learn subject matter if they are placed in regular subject matter classes right away. We only acquire language when we understand what we hear and read. 

The most logical plan is to provide special ESL classes, and include them in subject matter classes that are comprehensible for beginners in English and that encourage comprehensible interaction with classmates, eg art, music and PE.  Classes that require higher levels of English are taught in the child's primary language. 

As students acquire more English and subject matter knowledge, they can participate in regular subject matter classes, those requiring less English at first (math, science) and those requiring more English later (social studies, language arts).

There is a great deal of evidence supporting the principles underlying this plan, as well as evidence showing that this kind of plan works.

Stephen Krashen

Krashen, S. and Biber, D. 1988. On Course: Bilingual Education’s Success in California. Ontario, CA: California Association for Bilingual Education.
Crawford, J. and Krashen, S. 2007. English Learners in American Classrooms. New York: Scholastic.

original article:

1 comment:

  1. What do you think about push-in models of providing ESL instruction?