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More Teaching Demand for the Influx of English-Language Learners

Apr 22, 2008
The population in America is growing slowly. Although with overall slow growth, the growth that there is, is mainly among immigrant minority groups. The growth leans more toward the large immigration of those coming from Mexico and Central/South America, who are mostly Spanish speakers. With the new families that come, they will be seeking the resources to learn English if they haven't already -- especially the children, whose speaking is essential to advance in elementary and beyond.

There are an estimated 5 million new immigrant children more than what was polled from 1993. Many of the new prospective English-language learners are found heavily in central U.S -- A bit of a shift from where mainly the coastal regions saw most of this. Not only are you seeing those children come from immigrant families whose origins are in Mexico, but you will find refugees with children who are once Cambodian, Hmong/Laotian, and African nationals.

The immigration rush of new students has created some obstacles for local schools. What was considered to be normal for large city center areas like Miami and Los Angeles, many suburban and rural schools are faced with the demand for teachers to help transition children to speak and perform well in both their own native and English language.

There are more complex issues that go beyond simply teaching English. There are socio-economic issues that are substantial roadblocks as well.

Training Currently Used for English-Language Learners

There are several programs that are being implemented in the classroom across the U.S. For the most part, educators and policy makers are not keen on funding and creating a bilingual classroom, even in the overwhelming consensus that some of the states in the southwest are growing at a huge rate of immigrant children with Spanish as their first language.

But one of the main language program standard setters, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), created a general outline of where progress markers should be and have some general gauging for primary English teaching. They basically have three main stages and are divided between speaking and writing.

The big difficulty is simply finding the separate time and resource during the day for teachers to do further teachings. Many bilingual teachers and translators are needed for the movement. The children will often need special attention since their native language is not necessarily looked at favorably among their younger peers. Many schools now cannot fiscally fund special programs designed to better blend English-language learners in with regular primary school goers. Until much of the U.S.'s cultural and political landscape changes, more ingenious teaching methods with teachers and other educators are needed.
About the Author
Scholastic (http://www.teacher.scholastic.com/products/zipzoom/index.htm) helps primary schools and English-language learners by publishing books and other educational materials to make learning English as a second language easier. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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