National Writing Project

California English: Building Bridges with English Learners

Publication: California English
Date: Summer 2006

Summary: Writing project teachers authored eight articles for an edition of the journal California English. This issue focuses on helping teachers meet the challenges of teaching the growing numbers of English language learners.

 

Preliterate English Learners: Refugee Camp to the U.S. Classroom
by Beverly Alsleben
Despite high motivation to learn English, Hmong students, like all new arrivals, present educators with unique challenges. How can teachers begin to understand these students, their backgrounds, and their needs?

Time Is Not on Our Side: Literacy and Literature for High School Language Learners
by Dana Dusbiber
Given that teachers often have too much to teach, and too little time, Dana Dusbiber suggests an alternative approach to teaching literature for secondary English language learning students.

Cultural Citizenship and Latino English Language Learners
by Maria Franquiz and Carol Brochin-Ceballos
A student's image of a teacher devouring his failing students is a strong metaphor of Latino students' sense of powerlessness in the classroom. Fostering "cultural citizenship" can make classrooms a safe place.

La Pluma es Lengua del Alma: Using Writing to Chronicle the Soul's Journey
by Bobbi Houtchens
Teachers must lead their students through literature by authors from many cultures to provide the inspiration and models necessary to master the written word.

Building Bridges: Supporting English Language Learners in AP English Literature and Composition
by Jennifer Pust
When enrollment in an AP English program doubles, how does a teacher help those students succeed? These strategies proved successful for one.

Love Ties My Shoes: Long-term English Learners as Thoughtful Writers
by Lynn Jacobs
Every now and then someone would ask Lynn Jacobs if she thought her class could really make a book. After much hard work, they did.

Flipping the Educational Script: Teachers as Learners
by Rosa Jimenez and Marjorie Orellana
If teachers learn to recognize and value the translation work that students do with their immigrant parents, they can better build those skills into academic literacies.

Academic Language: Everyone's "Second" Language
by Norma Mota-Altman
If English language learners are never engaged critically with the curriculum or taught to use higher order thinking skills, how can they be expected to effectively express themselves in academic settings?

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