ESL/LEP Module
SUNY Cortland

Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education: does it help or hinder the LEP student?

Activity #1.

The week of January 5, 1998,  National Public Radio's Morning Edition show broadcast a 5-part series on Bilingual Education (BE).

Listen to each segment below (by clicking on the link), write out responses to each question, and be prepared to discuss these accompanying questions and issues in class.

1.  Monday, 1/5/98  Bilingual education in the US (8 min. 24 sec.)

For discussion:

1.  Is bilingual education (BE) new in the United States?  Explain.
2.  What is the “Unz Initiative”?
3.  What caused the upsurge of BE in the 1960s?
4.  Explain Lau vs. Nichols and its importance.
5.  Outline the various shifts of public opinion vis-à-vis BE over time in the U.S.

2.  Tuesday, 1/6/98  Different instructional approaches in Orlando (8 min. 48 sec.)

For discussion:

1.  Explain the “fast track” and “slow track” instructional approaches to BE.
2.  What are some arguments in favor of developing L1 literacy?
3.  What is “Sheltered English”?
4.  Some critics of BE decry bad teachers as a major problem.  What does “bad” refer to in this situation (i.e., what is the problematic issue w/these teachers)?

3.  Wednesday, 1/7/98  Miami's Coral Way program (8 min. 35 sec.)

For discussion:

1.  Describe the BE program at Coral Way Elementary School in Miami, FL. (type of students, how long in existence, success rate, etc.).
2.  Why do you think this program has been so successful?
3.  Why might parents choose to send their children to this school?

4.  Thursday, 1/8/98  Instruction of LEPs in California (8 min. 39 sec.)

For discussion:

1.  Describe the BE program in Calexico (type of students, how long in existence, success rate, etc.).
2.  What are some of the reasons for the success of this program?
3.  What are some of the problems/negatives with BE as reported in this interview?
4.  What is the “English for the Children” initiative and what are its provisions vis-à-vis BE ?

5.  Friday, 1/9/98  Bilingual students, poverty, and special needs (8 min. 24 sec.)

For discussion:

1.  What is meant by “academic language” and why is this so important to acquire?
2.  What are some other problems (besides language) that some LEP students face?  How might these affect their academic performance?

Activity #2.

Unz and Bilingual Education:  What's the big deal?

Pick any one of the links below, go there, and read an article on BE.  Then write a one-page summary and critique to turn in to your professor.  Be prepared to discuss your reading in class.

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Jean W. LeLoup
Modern Languages Department
Copyright © 2000, 2014 Jean W. LeLoup; technical modifications Bob Ponterio