Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Misconceptions about ESL

Two misconceptions about ESL students: “The first misconception entails drawing [negative] inferences about children’s ability to think logically on the basis of their familiarity with and command of English.” P. 37.

[Comment: In other words, because ESL students do not have command of English, they are considered “dumb.” RayS.]

“The second misconception is in many respects the converse of the first. In this case, ESL students’ adequate control over the surface features of English(that is, their ability to converse fluently in English) is taken as an indication that all aspects of their ‘English proficiency’ have been mastered to the same extent as that demonstrated by native speakers of the language. In other words, conversational skills are interpreted as a valid index of overall language proficiency.” P. 38.

[Comment: In other words, because ESL students are fluent conversationally does not mean they are able to use the English language in academic settings. I think this description of the two misconceptions about ESL students is useful. RayS.]

Title: “The Acquisition of English as A Second Language.” Jim Cummins. Pp. 36-62. In Kids Come in All Languages: Reading Instruction for ESL Students. Eds. K Spangensberg-Urgschat and R Pritchard. Newark, DE: IRA. 1994.

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