Practice Bi-Lingual Theory and Practice of Multicultural Term Paper

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Theory and practice of multicultural and bilingual education

The demands of the competitive marketplace have caused a fundamental shift in the needs of ESL learners and will change the structure of ESL education. During the 1980s and 19980s, the predominant emphasis in ESL instruction was on social graces and basic fluency "Those objectives are now outdated and inadequate to meet the pressing needs of today's children. Increasingly complex, high-tech demands from industry and commerce mandate that every graduate, including those for whom English is a second language, acquire knowledge and skills to compete for jobs" (Beckett & Haley 2000). The goal is for ESL students to graduate not merely with a grasp of English, but with knowledge of subject areas commensurate with their non-ESL peers. Demands for strong ESL student performance are growing amongst parents as well as school administrators, who wish to give a more equitable education to this underserved population.

Increasingly, ESL standards for language are being linked to state academic standards for all children, demanding that ESL educators "ensure that students with limited English proficiency receive consistently high quality English language and academic instruction" (Beckett & Haley 2000). It is also hoped that "linking the two sets of standards will also address the dropout problem among English language learners" (Beckett & Haley 2000). If students receive inadequate preparation in academic subject areas and do not believe that their education is propelling them forward into a potential job or degree, they will be less likely to take their education seriously. Although academic instruction must be tailored to the classes' and to the students' levels of English fluency, it should not be 'dumbed down' or diluted in favor of stressing English vocabulary and social niceties alone.

Teachers can use team-based teaching to aid ESL instruction, creating an enhanced level of comfort for students by reducing the pressures that they might feel in a more conventional classroom layout. "Cooperative" learning encourages students to "rely on positive interdependence. Interacting with others in a positive way will help to make the classroom a comfortable, friendly place where LEP students will feel safe in using their newly acquired English language skills and help them see that there are personal rewards for communicating in English" (Beckett & Haley 2000).

Rather than isolate English from other academic areas, ESL teachers must strive to reinforce English words constantly in a classroom setting, not merely in social dialogue. Instead of merely asking students to talk to one another in English during class, teachers can "label classroom items such as desk, globe, and map," and put up visual pictures spelling out the names of English places or academic concepts (Beckett & Haley 2000). "Use newspaper or magazine ads for familiar items, such as NIKE products, to provide a link to prior knowledge and help develop vocabulary" when learning about advertising or business concepts (Beckett & Haley 2000). The flexibility of this type of instruction also enables teachers to alter…

Sources Used in Document:


Beckett, E.C., & Haley, P.K. (2000). Using standards to integrate academic language into ESL

fluency. The Clearing House, 74(2), 102-104.

Son, J. (2008). Using web-based language learning activities in the ESL classroom. International Journal of Pedagogies & Learning, 4(4), 34-43.

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