Dr. Noguera tackles the gross assumption that ELLs are all Spanish-speakers: “We need to just first of all acknowledge that English language learners are a large, diverse population. They don’t all speak Spanish.” In overlooking the vastness of other world languages, educators can further marginalize their ELLs and hinder their acquisition of English. That is, as Dr. Noguera states, “…the basic level of working with a child who’s learning English, there’s a need for patience…It takes an ability on the part of the educator to understand the learning challenge,” which is only accessible if the educator acknowledges the complexities of ELL’s first language and how the first language (L1) influences acquisition of the second language (L2).
Moreover, Dr. Noguera suggests that educators should recognizes the nuances of vocabulary:
“[Educators must] recognize that there is a vocabulary that is related to the particular content of what you teach, and unique to that content.” Science vocabulary, for instance, varies a great deal from English vocabulary, and English vocabulary differs from greatly from terminology used in History classes.
If we ignore these nuances of languages, the differing vocabularies in a given academic subject and the variations of L1, then ELLs may suffer academically in the classroom. In fact, Dr. Noguera proposes that, “[some schools] actually perceive them to be less capable… [and] think of them as having a kind of learning disability,” because there is a failure to teach ELLs sufficiently. In turn, educators can further marginalize ELLs from their peers
Dual language (DL) education can be tricky, but a purposeful and mindful outlook on ELL curriculum may foster a better learning environment for these students. At TWIN-CS, we remain mindful of our students’ varied backgrounds, their cultures, and their environments in order to provide the best kind of DL education.
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher