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What are the similarities and differences among English language, foreign language, and heritage language education in the United States?

What are the similarities and differences among English language, foreign language, and heritage language education in the United States?,Ann Kelleher

What are the similarities and differences among English language, foreign language, and heritage language education in the United States?  
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This brief describes the importance of developing proficiency in languages in addition to English, whether a student is a native speaker of English, a native speaker of a language other than English, or bilingual. It also addresses social, political, pedagogical, and curricular differences among K-16 English language, foreign language, and heritage language programs in the United States. These differences have important implications for how we approach the teaching and learning of languages other than English. Social and political factors in language education English language and literacy development, as a first or a second language, is one of the fundamental goals of public education in the United States. Development of literacy in English takes place both explicitly in language arts classes and implicitly as a medium of instruction in content courses. For students who come from English-speaking homes, there is often a relatively high degree of continuity between the language spoken in the home and the language of schooling. At the same time, even for English-speaking students, fostering literacy development is not without social complexity. Research shows that the norms of English language use that children develop in the home and community vary a great deal based on social factors such as ethnicity, class, and region (Heath, 1983; Zentella, 1997, 2005a). Students who grow up speaking varieties of English that differ from the academic standard face barriers to achieving school success for a number of reasons. These include the beliefs and values that are tied to expectations about academic English literacy (e.g., Gee, 1996). Authors such as Delpit (1995) argue that academic success does not have to be predicated on accommodating to majority discourse norms at the expense of home and community language use. Rather, the focus in school should be on expanding students' abilities to use language across the full range of social contexts in which they need or wish to participate.
Published in 2010.
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