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ERIC Number: EJ712236
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: Author
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ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
What English-only Really Means: A Study of the Implementation of California Language Policy with Cambodian-American Students
Wright, Wayne E.
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v7 n1 p1-23 2004
This study focuses on an urban school district in Southern California with a large Cambodian-American student population. Ten Cambodian-American former students of the district were interviewed to examine the nature of their educational experience in terms of federal, state and district policies for language minority students. All entered school as recently arrived refugees, with little or no English language skills. The district's failure to fully implement federal and state policies meant that the majority of students were placed in English-only classrooms with teachers who were not certified to provide instruction for ELL students. For the former students in this study, the result has been weaker primary language skills, without the full mastery of English. In addition, the participants described difficulties at home, at work, and in college, and problems with their self-identity as a consequence of English-only education. The findings provide evidence that English-only programmes fail to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of ELL students, and may lead to negative consequences for students in their adult lives. The implications are discussed in light of recent legislation in California, Arizona and Massachusetts that essentially mandates the type of English-only instruction the students in this study received.
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Identifiers - Location: Arizona; California; Massachusetts