ELLs ‘Disconnected’ from Mainstream Content

Research that explores the relationship between school-district infrastructure in new-immigrant destinations and the marginalization of English-language learners (ELLs) in those districts shows that in many schools, the teaching of English as a second language (ESL) and the teaching of academic subjects are separated and disconnected, which can cause ELLs to fall behind academically.

“Organizing Language Instruction in New Immigrant Destinations: Structural Marginalization and Integration” was presented at the Segregation, Immigration, and Educational Inequality Conference in Ghent, Belgium, by Megan Hopkins of Pennsylvania State University and Rebecca Lowenhaupt of Boston College.

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  1. Cognate awareness would definitely help Romance speakers with Academic Language if lexical and syntactic cognates were appropriately unveiled and exploited in ELLs classes. This is not done so because there is an unfortunate lack of applicable research and because cognates sometimes are not regarded as real linguistic assets. Interestingly, cognate understanding has nothing to do with ELLs level or knowledge of the English/target language but with the language learners already possess in their mother tongues. If it is a cognate and they know it in their mother tongue, they need no explanation about its meaning or usage in English, they will just understand it. What learners need is our Validation and Encouragement to keep exploring and exploiting the language they have.

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