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Educating English Language Learners in an Inclusive Environment

Youb Kim and Patricia H. Hinchey

As the number of English language learners across the United States – and indeed, the world – increases exponentially, it is critical that pre-service teachers be prepared. Many currently available instructional materials are written primarily for practicing teachers, not for pre-service teachers of the millennial generation who are likely to encounter cultural and linguistic diversity in their classrooms, but who are unlikely to have had experience interacting with diverse groups of children. This engaging and accessible text is specifically designed to help tomorrow’s teachers anticipate the diversity of contemporary classrooms and to understand and meet the needs of English language learners. Key topics are aligned with typical state standards for teacher preparation and include: culture, language, literacy development, effective instruction and assessment, programs, policies, politics, and teacher professionalism. In addition to distillations of essential information in these areas, the book provides an extensive directory of relevant resources that points the way to further study. Teacher educators, school district administrators, home school education programs, and pre-service teachers will all find Educating English Language Learners in an Inclusive Environment an invaluable addition to their professional libraries.
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6. The Politics of ELL Policy and Programs: What Does It Mean to Be “American”?

Extract

CHAPTER SIX

The Politics of ELL Policy and Programs

What Does It Mean to Be “American”?

Many people are drawn to teaching because they believe they will be free agents in the classroom, able to draw on their own skills and creativity to meet the needs of their students. While it’s true that the standards and standardized testing movement discussed in Chapter One have tightened controls on classrooms, the reality is that teachers have never had the kind of freedom that many imagine. At one time, for example, female teachers signed contracts stipulating they would wear at least two petticoats, refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, and not leave town without permission of the school board. They were, in short, to model what the school board considered moral behavior. Later, science teachers were not allowed to discuss evolution, as the Scopes Monkey Trial famously affirmed. And in 2010, the state of Arizona banned ethnic studies courses in public schools, making courses in Mexican-American history illegal there.1 As a result, several texts were removed from classrooms.

Because what students do and don’t learn in school shapes their adult thinking and skills, various government bodies have always monitored curriculum and other parts of the school experience. This is true not only for the United States, but for all governments that provide public education. To take an obvious example, educators in democracies do not discuss possible advantages of communism, and those in communist countries do...

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