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ERIC Number: EJ867872
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
Emergent Bilinguals and TESOL: What's in a Name?
Garcia, Ofelia
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v43 n2 p322-326 Jun 2009
One of today's most misunderstood issues in education throughout the world, and particularly in the United States, is how to educate students who speak languages other than English. In the United States, these students are most often referred to as English language learners (ELLs) by educators or as Limited English proficient students (LEPs) by legislators and the federal government. In this article, the author argues that "emergent bilinguals" might be a more appropriate term for these children. Labeling students as either LEPs or ELLs omits an idea that is critical to the discussion of equity in the teaching of these children. When officials and educators ignore the bilingualism that these students can--and must--develop through schooling in the United States, they perpetuate inequities in the education of these children. Putting bilingualism at the center in speaking of these students is important for (a) the children themselves; (b) teachers and teaching; (c) educational policy makers; (d) parents and communities; (e) the field of language education and TESOL; and (f) societies at large. This article argues for the use of the term "emergent bilinguals" in referring to these students. (Contains 2 footnotes.)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 700 South Washington Street Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 888-547-3369; Tel: 703-836-0774; Fax: 703-836-7864; Fax: 703-836-6447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A