Language Minority Students in American Schools
An Education in English
Routledge – 2005 – 268 pages
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.
"Language Minority Students in American Schools is a comprehensive, balanced, and timely view of language education in the United States that is appropriately contextualized in the often heated social, cultural, and political climate of U.S. classrooms"
--Juliet E. Hart, TESOL Quarterly
"Given its clear and informative discourse as well as its breadth and scope, this book should definitely be included on any ESL student's essential reading list."
--Fiona Cromarty-Lawtie, TESL-EJ (December 2005)
"…I thoroughly enjoyed this book and gained a great deal from Adamson's insights, explanations, and well-crafted arguments. This book will be an excellent core or supplemental textbook for TESL foundation and methods courses for both ESL specialist and content-area teachers. It is also a book I hope school administrators and policy makers will read as this information can help inform better policies and more effective programs for language minority students in American schools."
--Wayne E. Wright, Language Policy (2006)
"This innovative introductory text provides trainee ESL teachers and teachers of other disciplines with a highly readable and topical introduction to the major issues in language minority student education."
--Louisa Willoughby, The LINGUIST LIST (9/16/05)
"Intended for pre-service ESL and mainstream teachers who will work with culturally and linguistically diverse learns…[this] book provides readers with an informed survey of second language acquisition theory wrapped in an engaging narrative chronicling the author's experiences working with diverse learning in multilingual settings in the U.S. and abroad….[It] fills a gap in the professional literature by offering a user-friendly introduction to second language theory without compromising scholarly rigor."
--Adrian J. Wurr, The Reading Matrix (April 2007)
"This book is a considerable contribution to the field of the education of language minority students in the United States."
--Na Liu, Language and Education (2008)
"Indisputably, the textbook is recommendable for all educators because it is informative and formative in matters of the education of ELLs." –Robert L. Torres, Studies in Second Language Acquisition (2007), 29: 503-504
Contents: Preface. A Personal Introduction. First and Second Language Acquisition. Language Teaching. Standard and Vernacular English. Learning in a Second Language. School and Family. Bilingual Education.