You might want to read Claude Goldenberg’s commentary published in the United Kingdom’s Guardian Weekly this week while keeping in mind the fact that a study was just released showing that Spanish-speaking students learn to read in English by the 4th grade equally well regardless of whether they are in bilingual education or English-immersion programs.
Goldenberg, an education professor at Stanford University, writes in his commentary that a “near-exclusive focus” by researchers on the language of instruction used for English-language learners has resulted in a limited understanding of other issues affecting such students. Other crucial questions that need to be answered by researchers are what does effective instruction look like and how can English-language development be accelerated, he writes.
He says in his concluding paragraph: “As educators who care about the future of ELLs, the question we face is whether we can somehow hold the ideology at bay and let other factors—such as data about effectiveness of alternative approaches—play a significant role in determining policies and practices.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.