Misleading Research Harms Latinos

According to a September 15th nprEd article, “Research Shows Spanish Speakers Take Longer To Learn English. Why?,” studies out of Philadelphia, as well as the National Academies of Science and Medicine, found a proficiency gap between Spanish-speakers learning English and other groups.

What really takes longer….. is for teachers to stay within ABC content guidelines.

Some professionals disagree that there is a lack of proficiency. Professor Nelson Flores counters, “We’re not talking about the ability to communicate in English. We’re talking about the ability to do grade-level content in English.” They can handle English, but not the various content phases of learning.

In my opinion, based on 30 years as a LAU primary teacher, ABC (content) instruction has been set aside by ESL. Traditional, English-only ABC examples, B is for BEAR/oso, invite ESL. Sadly, there are many, many ABC pictures for Latinos’ to identify on their way to literacy.

On the other hand, SPANISH/ENGLISH visuals, BOAT/barco, BICYCLE/biciceta, are genuine ABC examples without any need for ESL intrusions. Latino students are learning English fine. Whatever gap exists, it is in the content phase of their education.



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