Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Topic: English Language Learners (ELLs) and Cognitive Ability

10-second review: Do not equate difficulties in learning English with cognitive ability.

Title: “Mexican American Bilingualism and English Language Development.” Ricardo L. Garcia. Journal of Reading (March 1974), 467-473. A publication of the International Reading Association (IRA).

Quote: “Despite the spirit of the times and a desire to alleviate racial and ethnic tensions, the misconception still persists among teachers of Chicanos that a Spanish home language is a handicap for school success and that Chicanos with a Spanish home language are bound to experience academic failure in school, a self-fulfilling prophecy that has relegated an inordinate number of Chicano students to classes for the educably mentally retarded because many teachers have tended to equate English linguistic ability with cognitive ability.” p. 467.

Comment: A basic principle when working with children whose native language is not English: Do not confuse problems with language and intelligence. RayS.

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