EL students’ experience of schooling in other countries can be extensive and consistent. Or it can be limited and inconsistent. Jorge, the student in the Introductory Challenge, had very little formal schooling. In effect, though, so do American students who attend under-resourced schools.
So, ELs—especially those served in the stressed schools we described above—are a lot like everyone else. And a lot of us are a lot like ELs.
With this perspective in mind think about these questions:
- Do you feel uncomfortable hearing a foreign language? Why?
- What languages did your ancestors speak? Do you speak any of them? Why?
- Was your education interrupted? Why? What effect did it have on you?
- Did language have anything to do with that interruption? In what ways?
- Did other factors play a role? If so, what were those factors? What role did they play?
These are short questions, but they connect to difficult and even controversial dilemmas about how education and schooling connect to our lives and what types of education and schooling we all deserve. If you’re working in a group, the discussion should be lively!