How English-Language Learners Have an Edge
During my first year of teaching, Samantha sat in the back of my first-period American government class. Having moved from Mexico, she had only been in the United States for two years. Her oral English comprehension was moderate, but she spoke rarely and was embarrassed to speak in front of native English speakers.
Overwhelmed with the task of teaching anyone anything as a first-year teacher, I felt that reaching Samantha was a Herculean task. Describing the challenge in one of my graduate courses, I mentioned that Samantha hardly ever spoke. When she did, it was always in "broken English." I lamented that she seemed to understand next to none of the material, and I received commiserative nods from other new teachers in the room.
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