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English Language Learning in the USA

A Brief History
by

Cecilia Ndura

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of English Language Learning in the USA

A Brief History ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING IN THE USA Languages
America was largely multilingual due to the growing numbers of immigrants.
German, Dutch, French, Swedish and Polish were some of the major languages and Spanish was dominant in several soon to be acquired territories. Schools
Vernacular education was the rule, whether in English or another tongue because America was under British rule
German-speaking Americans were operating schools in their mother tongue as early as 1694 in Philadelphia. One Attempt
In the 1750s Benjamin Franklin, promoted a project to make Germans adopt English in schools under the pretense of propagating Christian knowledge, but German parents discovered his treachery and refused to enroll their children in such schools . Daily Life
Bilingualism was still an accepted fact of life and the continental congress at the time accommodated politically significant groups of non-English speakers. For example, it published official documents in German and French, including Articles of Confederation 17th Century 18th Century American Revolution
It aroused anti-British sentiment which inspired proposals to discard English in favor of German, French, Greek or Hebrew as the national language.
However, notwithstanding the persistent legend that congress came within one vote of adopting German as the official tongue, no alternative language was seriously considered. Another attempt
In 1780, John Adams proposed the establishment of an American Language Academy "for refining, correcting and improving and ascertaining" the English tongue but the continental congress ignored him Yet Another Attempt
Benjamin Rush proposed having a federally funded bilingual higher education in order to promote the assimilation of Pennsylvania Germans by making them realize the importance of the English language in education .
At the same time American Nationalism made people push for ramification of the American language . Noah Webster led efforts to develop standards for "Federal English" distinct from those of the "stuffy British." 19th Century Schools
Schools increasingly adopted English as the medium of instruction or continued to offer it as a class.
German schools which were already operational since 1694 were also adopting English as a medium of instruction in addition to German.
By the mid 1800s, public and parochial German-English schools were operating in cities such as Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis. Laws Regarding Bilingual Education
During the 19th Century, bilingual education in the United States was implemented in three languages other than English. These languages were Spanish in the Southwest, French in Louisiana, and German in the Midwest.
Ohio, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Oregon passed laws sanctioning instruction in other languages in addition to English.
Even without legal authority, local officials often bent the law to permit native language classes as a way to promote parental support. Introduction Some Definitions
Bilingual Education- a form of education in which information is presented to the students in two languages. It is a blanket term that includes many programs.

Bilingual education must include the following characteristics:
1.The continued development of the students primary language (L1)
2.Acquisition of the second language (L2)
3.Instruction in the content areas utilizing both L1 and L2. Aftermath
Years after the Revolution however, some people felt the need to make English the sole language of instruction in schools and the official language, therefore several attempts were made in this regard. English Expansion
Things changed in favor of English from 1790 to 1815 because there was a hiatus in immigration that expanded English greatly at the expense of rival tongues.
Ethnic schools began to offer English either as a class or used it as the medium of instruction. Americanization Effort
The years towards the end of the 19th century marked the beginning of a gradual decline for bilingual education.
Mandates for English as the basic language of instruction were therefore enacted in Wisconsin, Illinois and other states. After 1900, Jews, Italians and Slavs
began to outnumber Irish ,
Germans and Scandinavians
in the immigrant stream. 20th Century The Assimilation Period (1900-1960)
At the turn of the 20th century America began to embrace assimilation, led by the hero of San Juan Hill, Teddy Roosevelt.
States that had mandated bilingual education during the 19th century started repealing those laws and enacting laws mandating English as the language of instruction. For instance, in 1900, the United States declared English as the primary language of instruction in the public schools of the newly acquired territory of Puerto Rico.
In 1906, the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization established the ability of speaking English as a requirement for citizenship.
The first movement to make English the official language of the United States started in Michigan in 1915 by the National Americanization Committee.
Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 which required literacy in English or the native language of the immigrant in order to obtain legal immigration. The Reactionary Period (1994-Present)

The Reactionary Period started in September 1994, when President Clinton signed the Title VII Reauthorization Act. This act called for the establishment of bilingual education programs that would produce bilingual and bi-literate students. This victory was short lived. In November 1994, the voters of California passed Proposition 187. This proposition denied education rights to undocumented children as well as any other public service. Even though most parts of Proposition 187 were declared illegal by the Courts, much damage was done. The spirit of Proposition 187 was still alive in California in 2004 when a group of citizens collected signatures to include a similar proposition in the November 2004 election.

The Californian voters did not stop with voting to deny educational services to undocumented students. In 1996, Californians passed Proposition 228 eliminating affirmative action programs in the public sector. The backlash against the California minority population continued, and in 1998, California voters approved the elimination of bilingual education in their state by passing Proposition 227.

Proposition 227 has made it difficult for school districts in California to offer bilingual education programs. Non-English-speaking children in California were required to enroll in English immersion programs for all-English instruction. Bilingual education in California was permitted solely by parental request, which led to the establishment of an increased number of dual language bilingual programs.

More restrictive anti-bilingual education legislation was passed in 2001 by the voters of state of Arizona when Proposition 207 made it almost impossible for school districts to offer any form of bilingual education. Preposition 207 established so called "Language Patrols." "Language Patrols" are supervisors who monitor school districts for compliance with English-only instruction, and report findings to the state's education department.

A victory by bilingual education proponents was achieved in 2002, when voters in the state of Colorado rejected an initiative to prohibit bilingual education. Unfortunately, the voters of Massachusetts approved a similar initiative in their state Some Definitions
TESOL- Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
ESL- English as a Second Language
ESL a system of instruction which enables students who are not proficient in English, ELLs, to acquire academic proficiency in spoken and written English.
It is an essential component of bilingual education especially when first language instruction is not feasible e.g. when there are too few speakers of one language for bilingual education to be provided. Some Definitions
LEP: Limited-English-Proficient
Students who are monolingual in their home language or have some English proficiency but are still more fluent in their home language.

This term was common in previous decades but critics argued that it reflected on what a student cannot do rather than what he can do, therefore it was replaced with ELL.

ELL: English Language Learner
The student is in the process of learning English without having the connotation that the student is somehow defective.

However, the debate continues as ELL conveys that the student is in the process of learning English without acknowledging the child’s proficiency in L1. German Immigration
Between 1830 and 1910 however, more than five million Germans immigrated to the UsA making German a popular and extensively used language once again. During the 20th Century, bilingual education can be divided in three major periods or eras:
The Assimilation Period (1900-1960)
The Re-Birth Period (1960-1994)
The Reactionary Period (1994-Present) Anti German Feelings
Anti-German feelings escalated because of Germany's involvement in WWI. Therefore, the German influence on educational issues and bilingual education ceased with the beginning of World War I.
These growing sentiments paved way for the wave of the English-only movement which led states make laws prohibiting the use of a language other than English for instruction at the elementary schools.
For example, in 1917, Nebraska passed a law that prohibited the teaching of foreign languages to any students who had not graduated from the eighth grade. The Nebraska law stated: Meyer v. Nebraska (1924)
Meyer, a teacher, was accused of tutoring a child in German.
The Supreme Court ruled that the state could not prohibit the teaching of foreign languages; however, the state can dictate that academic instruction must be conducted only in English.
The Court also declared that the states have the power to set-up the curriculum and any other requirements.
Meyer v. Nebraska marked the official end of bilingual education as we knew it from the 19th century. Impact of Meyer v. Nebraska on bilingual education
The Supreme Court ruled that states could mandate English-only instruction in the elementary years.
From 1917 to 1969, several states enacted laws prohibiting the use of a language other than English in the elementary years. Impact of Meyer v. Nebraska on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Public Schools.
The teaching of foreign languages declined. For instance, in 1915, twenty-four percent of secondary students were studying German, but by 1922, the percentage dropped to less than one percent.
German was not the only foreign language that declined. Nationwide, by 1938, secondary school enrollment in modern languages (i.e., French, Spanish, and German) decreased from 36 percent to 14 percent. English as a Second Language
Initially developed in the 1930s to meet the needs of foreign diplomats and university students.
Language minority children began adopting it.
"Pullout classes" were the most common form of ESL(Students were removed from the regular classrooms two to four times a week for a period of English instruction).
However, this method discouraged academic achievement because it did not take advantage of the students' L1. The Re-Birth Period (1960-1994)
Bilingual education was revived during this period.
Rebirth was triggered by two major events:
1. In1957 the Russians launched Sputnik which shocked the USA so it responded to the scientific challenge by passing federal legislation with an emphasis in mathematics, science, and foreign languages.
2. In 1959, Cubans fled to Miami after a revolution in their country. Most of the early arrivals were from professional classes so they brought with them education and job skills.

Cuban refugees who were teachers back in Cuba were recertified as teachers.
To serve this group, ESL instruction was provided at Coral Way Elementary School in Miami .
In 1961, the county initiated a Spanish-for-Spanish-Speakers program then two years later established a fully fledged bilingual program, the first in American public school history in nearly half a century.
TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), a professional organization, was established in response to the increased demand for ESL materials and methodologies due to the influx of immigrants, refugees, and international students to the United States. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)

Championed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and banned the use of Spanish.
Johnson, the first education president, had a special place in his heart for education, especially educating children from poverty backgrounds. He was convinced that speaking in Spanish, even at play, would retard a child's academic progress.
In spite of the English-only rule in Texas, three bilingual education programs were established by 1965 in Edinburgh, Laredo, and San Antonio, Texas because the Texas legislation that banned the use of Spanish in the classroom had a proviso stating that border towns with a population of over 5,000 could offer bilingual education programs.
Later on however, President Johnson signed the Bilingual Education Law legitimizing the use of a student's native language as a tool to develop academic achievement. The Tucson Survey on the Teaching of Spanish to the Spanish-Speaking
A study done by a group of educators from Tucson, Arizona, and funded by the National Education Association (NEA).
Aimed at discovering what practices were being used in the Southwest United States to educate Spanish-speaking students, particularly at the high school level.
Entitled The Invisible Minority, the report of the survey was presented at a Symposium held in Tucson, Arizona in 1966.
A young senator from Texas, Ralph Yarborough, attended the Symposium and later in decided to introduce federal legislation to call attention to the educational neglect of Spanish-speaking children.
He introduced his proposal requesting an amendment to Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965.
His bill was not accepted, but a similar bill introduced in the House of Representatives was signed into law by President Johnson on January 2, 1968. It was officially titled The Bilingual Education Act of 1968, and was commonly known as Title VII until 2002 when it was renamed Title HI. Bilingual Act of 1968
Following its passage many states began lifting the restriction on the use of a language other than English in elementary school classrooms. Massachusetts was the first state in the nation to require bilingual education for non-English-speaking children. In 1969, Texas repealed the 1917 law, not mandating bilingual education in Texas, but making bilingual education legal.

Because relaxed state and federal laws allowed local school districts to develop and implement various types of bilingual education models, bilingual education flourished in the United States from 1968 to 1994. Court Cases

Lau v. Nichols (1974)

The most significant and pivotal case impacting bilingual education legislation.

A poverty lawyer filed a case on behalf of Kinney Lau and 1989 other Chinese children who were failing in school because they could not understand the language of instruction. The Supreme Court ruled that the Chinese children were entitled to special assistance to enable them to participate equally in the school program. In the end, the United Sates Supreme Court ruled in a 9-0 decision that school districts must take necessary steps to ensure that non-English-speaking students have an equal educational opportunity. The Reactionary Period (1994-Present)
Started in September 1994, when President Clinton signed the Title VII Reauthorization Act.
It called for the establishment of bilingual education programs that would produce bilingual and bi-literate students.
Marked by varying political views towards bilingual education. For and Against Bilingual Education
The victory was of Title VII was short lived.
In November 1994, the voters of California passed Proposition 187 which denied education rights to undocumented children as well as any other public service.
Even though most parts of Proposition 187 were declared illegal by the Courts, much damage was done.
In 1996, Californians passed Proposition 228 eliminating affirmative action programs in the public sector.
In 1998, they approved the elimination of bilingual education in their state by passing Proposition 227 which has made it difficult for school districts in California to offer bilingual education programs. Non-English-speaking children in California were required to enroll in English immersion programs for all-English instruction and Bilingual education was permitted solely by parental request, which in turn led to the establishment of an increased number of dual language bilingual programs.
Arizona followed suit in 2001 and Massachusetts too.
Proposition 207 established so called "Language Patrols" (supervisors who monitor school districts for compliance with English-only instruction, and report findings to the state's education department).
Fortunately, Colorado voters rejected an initiative to prohibit bilingual education. The Assimilation Period (1900-1960) The Rebirth Period (1960-1994) Reactionary Period (1994-Present) English Language Learning Today Therefore, ESL is just one of the programs used to teach ELLs English. Programs that use English and another language
Two-way Immersion or Two-way Bilingual
Includes students with an English background and students from one other language background
Instruction is in both languages, typically starting with smaller proportions of instruction in English, and gradually moving to half in each language
Dual Language
When called “dual language immersion,” usually the same as two-way immersion or two-way bilingual
When called “dual language,” may refer to students from one language group developing full literacy skills in two languages – L1 and English
Late Exit Transitional, Developmental Bilingual, or Maintenance Education
Instruction at lower grades is in L1, gradually transitioning to English; students typically transition into mainstream classrooms with their English-speaking peers
Early Exit Transitional
Instruction begins in L1, but rapidly moves to English; students typically are transitioned into mainstream classrooms with their English-speaking peers as soon as possible
Heritage Language or Indigenous Language Program
Content taught in both languages, with teachers fluent in both languages Programs that use English only
Sheltered English or Sheltered Instruction Observational Protocol (SIOP), Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE), or Content-based English as a Second Language (ESL)
While there are some minor differences across these, the overall goal is proficiency in English while learning content in an all-English setting.
Students from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be in same the class
Instruction is adapted to students’ proficiency level and supplemented by gestures, visual aids
May be used with other methods; e.g., early exit may use L1 for some classes and SDAIE for others
Structured English Immersion (SEI)
The goal is fluency in English, with only LEP students in the class
All instruction is in English, adjusted to the proficiency level of students so subject matter is comprehensible
English Language Development (ELD) or ESL Pull-out
Students leave their mainstream classroom to spend part of the day receiving ESL instruction, often focused on grammar, vocabulary, and communication skills, not academic content
There is typically no support for students’ native languages
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