Running Head: Overcoming Language Barriers in NC Pre-K Classrooms
How to Overcome Language Barriers in NC Pre-K Classrooms
FCS 711- Research and Inquiry in Family and Consumer Science
Dr. Rosa Purcell
April 28, 2014
Being a teacher at a Head Start/ Early Head Start program I have experienced the language barriers between teachers and students from different ethnic groups. I can say it is not easy when you and your students cannot communicate. Dealing with the situation makes you question yourself and how you can fix the language ...view middle of the document...
Throughout this paper I will be discussing the history of language barriers in education and how we as teachers, educators, administrators, and support professionals can help accommodate our children who came from different ethnic backgrounds.
The growing number of non-English speaking immigrants to the United States has caused language to become an increasing barrier in the classroom. The Hispanic population is growing in the schools and teachers have to deal with having more non-English speaking children in their classroom. Different schools employ different tactics on how to educate and integrate students who speak English as a second language. Some schools separate ESL students in separate classes while other schools pair the students with English-speaking students. Not all schools are able to separate the students. America’s Hispanic population is growing three times faster than the population as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The fastest-growing segment of this group is younger than seventeen; by 2025, Hispanic children are expected to make up twenty-five percent of the school-age population. Though the majority of these children are bilingual, many of their parents are not. As a result, parent groups increasingly face the challenge of reaching out to parents who don’t speak English (Beck, 2013). From the school years 2000–2001 to 2004–2005, Latino students accounted for fifty seven point three percent of the total growth in the North Carolina public schools (UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Education, 2005). Language barriers make communication and education difficult, and Latino students and their parents have different expectations of schools than others in U.S. schools. By understanding the cultural background and expectations of their Latino students, teachers can better connect with them and help them learn.
Preschool programs have operated on the myth that children must learn English early and quickly in order to be successful in school. This myth has also been conveyed to families. However, current review of literature reveals that research on dual language acquisition (DLA) cites that young children can and will learn two or more languages at the same time. In order to begin the shift towards multicultural and multilingual education of young children, programs are now challenged to prepare families, teachers, administrators, and other program professionals to educate children in a multicultural and multilingual way.
The first step towards making this shift is for staff to take a self assessment in order to determine their strengths and areas needing improvement towards promoting cultural competence. Self assessments are tools that can assist staff in meeting cultural and linguistic competencies. This is an ongoing process that is beneficial towards one’s professional development plan. The National Center for Cultural Competence has developed an assessment tool for staff providing...