This book addresses questions of language education in the United States, focusing on how to teach the 3.5 million students in American public schools who do not speak English as a native language. These students are at the center of a national debate about the right relationship among ESL, bilingual, and mainstream classes. Bilingual education has been banned by constitutional amendment in California and Arizona, and similar amendments are being considered in other states. Language Minority Students in American Schools: An Education in English places this debate and related issues of teaching standard English to speakers of nonstandard dialects, such as black English, within the larger context of language acquisition theory and current methods of language teaching.
Adamson draws from the large body of sociolinguistic, psycholinguistic, and educational research, and on his own experience as an English teacher in the U.S. and overseas, to shed light on some of these controversies and on the cognitive, cultural, public policy, and practical issues involved in educating English language learners. Presenting all sides of the issues fairly, he offers a strong endorsement for bilingual and bidialectical education based on programs designed and administered according to the principles discussed in the book and supported by language acquisition theory and classroom research.
A strength of the book is the inclusion of original research conducted in a middle school enrolling a majority of Latino students. This research contributes to the field of language education by providing a detailed description of how English language learners study content subjects. Examples from the study are used to illustrate a discussion of Vygotskian learning principles and the relationship between the students' home and school cultures.
Language Minority Students in American Schools: An Education in English is intended for students who are preparing to become teachers of English as a second language, and for teachers of other subjects who work with English language learners.
1. A personal introduction -- Introduction -- Orientalism versus Anglicism -- Anglicism in bilingual education -- Operation SER -- Language minority students in public schools -- Joel -- Marielena -- George -- Conclusions -- Suggested reading -- 2. First and second language acquisition -- Introduction : three stories of language acquisition -- Behaviorist approaches to language acquisition -- Nativist approaches to language acquisition -- Plato's problem -- Generative approaches to first language acquisition -- Generative grammar -- Universal grammar -- Inside the black box -- Generative approaches to second language acquisition -- The critical period hypothesis -- Perspectives from Pidgin and Creole studies -- Description -- Bioprogram theory -- Articles in Creoles and child language -- Perspectives from cognitive psychology -- The nativization hypothesis -- Information processing approaches -- Summary : the computer metaphor -- Social/cultural approaches to language acquisition -- First language acquisition -- Communicative competence -- Learning speech acts -- Learning a language variety -- Learning to tell a story -- Second language acquisition -- Illocutionary competence -- Sociolinguistic competence -- The acculturation model -- Reconciling cognitive and social/cultural accounts of language acquisition -- Suggested reading -- 3. Language teaching -- Introduction : three approaches to language teaching -- Language teaching before Chomsky -- Traditional education -- Grammar-translation method -- Progressive education -- John Dewey -- The direct method of Berlitz and deSauze -- Behaviorism -- Audio-lingual method -- Language teaching after Chomsky -- The monitor model -- The natural way -- Community language learning -- Content-based instruction -- Teaching communicative competence -- Research on language teaching, focus on form -- Swain and Lapkin's study -- Doughty's study -- Summary -- Teaching other subjects -- Reading -- The reading wars -- The whole language approach -- Teach your baby to read -- Whole language theory -- The language experience method -- The phonics method -- Evaluation of reading methods -- Teaching mathematics -- Conclusions -- Suggested reading -- 4. Standard and vernacular English -- Introduction -- Language variation -- Anniston English -- Double modal verbs -- A-verbing -- Done -- Negative agreement -- Anniston as a speech community -- The grammar gurus -- The rise of standard English -- Standard English in England -- Standard English in the United States -- Black English -- Description -- Ebonics in the schools -- The Oakland School Board resolution -- Classroom aspects of the Ebonics controversy -- Conclusions -- Suggested reading -- 5. Learning in a second language -- Introduction -- Models of learning -- Philosophical background -- Teaching implications -- Experiential realism -- A cognitive study of learning -- A social/cultural study of learning -- Discussion -- Vygotsky -- Activity theory -- The zone of proximal development -- Teaching within a Vygotskian framework -- Academic discourse -- Register variation -- Douglas and Selinker's study -- Rhetorical discourse conventions -- Access to academic discourse -- Academic strategies -- Suggested reading -- 6. School and family / H.D. Adamson, Ellen Courtney -- Introduction -- School -- Family -- Language classes and mainstream classes -- Spanish for native speakers -- Advanced English as a second language -- Mainstream language arts -- Bilingual classes -- Interviews -- Observations -- Bilingual social studies -- Bilingual engineering -- Learning -- Juan studies chemistry -- Joel studies history -- Conclusions -- Suggested reading -- Appendix : a review of the periodic table of the elements -- 7. Bilingual education -- Introduction -- Bilingual education abroad -- The Netherlands -- Sweden -- Quebec -- Bilingual education in the United States -- Richard Rodriguez -- Nuria -- Coral Way Elementary School -- Types of bilingual education programs -- Transitional bilingual education -- Maintenance bilingual education -- Two-way bilingual education -- Methods of bilingual teaching -- Legislative and legal history -- Philosophy of education -- Bilingual education legislation -- Bilingual education legal history -- Lau v. Nichols -- Lau remedies -- Arguments for and against bilingual education -- Bilingual education theory -- Program evaluations -- Large-scale evaluations -- The AIR study -- Baker and de Kanter's study -- Willig's study -- Thomas and Collier's study -- Evaluations of individual programs -- Porter's critique -- Woodward and Gersten's study -- Rock Point study -- Krashen and Biber's study -- California update -- Conclusions -- Suggested reading.