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ERIC Number: EJ1002331
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
ISSN: ISSN-0890-6459
Teacher Education and Supporting Immigrant Students in the Standards-Based Education Era
Hamann, Ted
Teacher Education and Practice, v25 n4 p559-561 Fall 2012
The author often teaches a course titled "Teaching ELLs in the Content Areas," including this past summer (2012). Acknowledging that education of English-language learners (ELLs) and immigrant education are overlapping rather than fully synonymous, students in a recent rendering of this class raised a number of interesting issues that connect to the question of what imperatives immigration creates for teacher education. One persistent theme was their sense that teachers faced a choice of being biographically responsive to students (i.e., building on students' background knowledge and paying attention to the context in which they lived) versus teaching to the standards. A second persistent concern related to Lucas and Villegas's (2010, p. 302) contention that teachers should learn (and teacher education programs should teach) how to advocate for ELLs. The author finds both these perspectives instructive but troubling. He says as educators consider how teacher education should respond to immigration, they should be guided by several principles. First, teaching to the standards does not mean teaching against or in obliviousness to student biography. Immigrant students bring understandings and background knowledge to school. The way they are going to most readily and surpassingly succeed in classrooms is if that knowledge is accessed and used by skilled teachers to help learners construct new, more advanced understandings. Additionally, it is "not" OK to "not" advocate for newcomer students. All students count. If some struggle more than others, then perhaps educators should return to one of John Dewey's dictums: If some need more support than others, then some should get more support than others. Democracy has more of a need to assist those currently faring poorly than those who are doing just fine. Of course, successful education of immigrants entails more than just these two points, but these seem like an important place to start.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A