ERIC Number: ED343425
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: 0
The Many Voices of Bilingual Students in Massachusetts.
Brisk, Maria Estella; And Others
The stories of 12 bilingual children in Massachusetts public schools, aged 6-14 and born in 9 different countries, are presented. The case studies were compiled through classroom observation and interviews with the children, their teachers, and their parents, and were conducted both in the child's native language and in English. The purpose was to understand bilingual children better. The case studies illustrate two major themes: (1) the value the children's families place on bilingualism; and (2) the importance of using the native language in school to reduce the stress of cross-cultural adjustment and enhance the school's ability to understand individual children. Two additional themes emerging are the strong desire of all of the children to do well in school, regardless of socioeconomic background or parents' education, and their eagerness to make American friends. The cases are portraits of individual children, not school programs, but do reveal many ways in which school systems approach the challenge of educating non-native English-speakers. Half of the children adjusted to school smoothly, and the other half had more difficulty. The study's recommendations for schools call for: reinforcing the value of bilingualism; careful planning for mainstreaming; innovative assessment; encouragement of intercultural friendships; and establishment of a multicultural school environment. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Massachusetts State Dept. of Education, Quincy.