ERIC Number: EJ704104
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Preparing Secondary Subject Area Teachers to Teach Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students
Dong, Yu Ren
Clearing House, v77 n5 p202 May-Jun 2004
More and more subject matter area teachers find themselves working with students whose native language is not English. A report from the National Center for Education Statistics (2003) showed that close to four million students nationwide were classified as English language learners (ELL) in the school year of 2001-2002, a 30 percent increase from a decade ago. In Queens, New York City, one in every six high school students is an English language learner (New York City Department of Education 2003). To better prepare preservice teachers for working with non-native English speaking students at the secondary school level, New York State's Department of Education requires teachers to have teaching credentials in this area. This requirement ensures all teachers at this level have the knowledge, skills, and sensitivity necessary to work with students whose native language is not English. Secondary teacher education programs at Queens College, an inner city public institution serving one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse cities in the nation, also established competency requirements and developed a course entitled "Language, Literacy, and Culture in Education." As a required course for all preservice teachers, the course focuses on "knowledge about the principles of first and second language acquisition and sensitivity to the needs of their students with limited English proficiency, and an awareness of the differences in language, backgrounds, expectations, needs, roles, and values held by the teacher and the students in their classrooms" (New York State Department of Education 1999). In fall 2002, twenty-six graduate students enrolled in the author's Language, Literacy, and Culture in Education course. These students had backgrounds in various academic disciplines but were all working toward the New York State initial teacher certification (grades 7-12). A majority of the students (85 percent) came from European backgrounds and had no knowledge about other languages except English. Students were required to do a 25-hour field observation in one of the secondary ESL/bilingual classes. Course readings included Carson (1991), Herrell (2000), Fu (1995), Matalene (1985), Richard-Amato and Snow (1992), and Shen (1989). Through the course readings, fieldwork, discussions, and writing reflections, students critically examined how second language students' home culture, language, and previous education come into play in their learning of both English and curriculum content. Students also addressed how working with these learners impacted their classroom practices. Key concepts and issues included: the relationship between language and culture; the comparison of first language and second language acquisition and learning; language policies, bilingualism, and bicultural identity; and the integration of language and content in various subject area classes.
Descriptors: English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Urban Areas, Required Courses, Preservice Teacher Education, Education Courses, Credentials, Teacher Education Programs, Knowledge Level, Cultural Awareness
Heldref Publications, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, 1319 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Web site: http://www.heldref.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York; New York (New York)