Alternative Method of Bilingual Education
In this peer reviewed journal article “A Speech Community Model of Bilingual Education: Educating Latino Newcomers in the USA” written by Ofelia Garcia and Lesley Bartlett the authors find a way to address the current problem of bilingual education in the US. They do so by conducting a qualitative case study at a segregated bilingual high school for Latino newcomers. They base their study off of a community high school in New York by the name of Gregorio Luperon High School. This specific school has a majority of Dominican students in a city with one of the highest drug and crime rates, however they were able to find success with their Speech Community Model of bilingual education for immigrant youth. The main key to this success was to “view second language acquisition as a social process building on the speech community itself, and not just as the primary individual process.” (Par.1)
Gregorio Luperon High School is a community high school located in Washington Heights, New York. The school opened back in 1991 when a group of Dominican immigrants joined together to find a way to make acquiring English an easier process for latino immigrant youth. They wanted a solution to the extremely high failure rates of latino youth in the New York City School systems. This school began as just a couple month program before students were put into main stream schools but eventually in 1999 turned into an actually high school. This school comes from a neighborhood that has a majority of Dominicans, as well as one of the highest city crime rates, right behind Harlem. This Schools instructors are also all highly qualified immigrant Dominicans who can relate and connect to their students on a whole different level.
Bilingual Education is a topic that has never fully been supported across the US. According to the most recent numbers available from the U.S. Department of Education There were about 5 million students classified as “English language learners” in the 2009-2010 school year. These English learners are at a distinct disadvantage and are thrown into main stream schools without qualified 2
teachers to instruct them. There is very little consistency in these programs used to educate these students as well as many disagreements with states who favor the “English-only approach.” Gregorio Luperon High School in Washington Heights wanted better for their immigrant youth and found a better alternative method to acquire the language. This specific High School used a method which they chose to call the speech community model of bilingual education. They focus on macroacquisition; which is learning language on a larger scale. The three factors they choose to focus on that have shown to be the most important in acquiring a second language were; identifying with identity and culture, power structure influencing language and the roles the communities play in learning a language. In this study they conducted they focused on specific research questions
The Research conducted by Garcia and Bartlett was taken from a qualitative case study where they introduced an alternative method to meet the needs of latino immigrant youth. In this research these specific questions were addressed; “How does the model of this school differ from and how is it similar to other models now offered for latino adolescents in the US?”,” What are the characteristics of this model that support newcomer latino youths' education as well as their English learning language?” And “What are the limitations of this model?? This article written by Garcia and Bartlett point out the important aspects of this alternative model for bilingual education used and show how and why these unique methods are successful for these latino newcomers.
In this speech community model used by the school they...
References: García, O. and Bartlett, L. 2007. A speech community model of Bilingual Education: Educating Latino Newcomers in the U.S.International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 10: 1-25.
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