Monday, September 22, 2008

Language Learning Alphabet Soup

Most people know that ESL is an acronym for English as a Second Language but there are a couple other terms and phrases:

ELLs = English Language Learners. This phrase refers to any non-native speaker of English.

SEI = Structured English Immersion. English immersion refers to pulling children out of regular classes for two to three years, teaching all of their subjects in English (hence, English immersion, sometimes called sheltered English), and then having the children enter regular classes with the rest of the students (Guerrero 2002).

Dual or Two-Way Bilingual Education = Placing children who know another language that is not English into a classroom with native English speakers and teaching all of the children both languages. This often happens with Spanish, in which schools place native Spanish speakers in classrooms with native English speakers and all of the children learn both languages (Ramos 2007). Such an educational program may help give children an edge in employment opportunities later if they know both languages. Often, dual language programs involve splitting each day in half and teaching English and Spanish in the separate halves or splitting the week in half and teaching an entire day in one language and using the other language the next day (Barnett, et al. 2007).


Barnett, W. S., et al. (2007). Two-way and monolingual English immersion in preschool education: An experimental comparison. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22, 277-293.

Guerrero, M. D. (2002). Research in bilingual education: Moving beyond the effefectiveness debate. Language, public policy, and schooling: A focus on Chicano English language learners. In R. R. Valencia (Ed.), Chicano school failure and success: Past, present, and future. (170-192). London: Routledge Farmer.

Ramos, F. (2007). What do parents think of two-way bilingual education? An analysis of responses. Journal of Latinos and Education, 6(2), 139-150.

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