The terminology that we use to refer to English learners has shifted over the past two decades, from limited English proficient to English language learner to what is now the preferred term in California and, increasingly, other states: English learner. Yet, what has not changed is how this category continues to limit our thinking about bilingual/multilingual students. English learner is a label that conceals more than it reveals. It emphasizes what these students supposedly do not know instead of highlighting what they do know. As a category, “English learner” constrains our ability to perceive the many strengths that bilingual/multilingual students bring to the classroom—strengths on which we might build to support their language and literacy learning. The author describes how this label distorts our view of bilingual/multilingual students and proposes an alternative perspective that highlights the richness of these students’ linguistic repertoires.
The Reading Teacher – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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