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So, what are the implications for all of you that are listening.


  • English language competence and native language competence are very related. The better the language skills of your students in their native language the better the second language will be learned. Sometimes we have students that we opt for an immersion because we think that that’s how a baby learns a second language by being immersed in it. But that may frustrate a student whose native language skill are impaired.
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  • We know that the evidence right now, for a middle school student or secondary students and even the older students in the elementary grade, learning a second language is done more effectively if the child has direct instructions. The direct instructions should include auditory training on the perceptual differences. They can hear the sounds and see them easily, because that is going to improve their ability to function in a classroom to listen on demand in a classroom. It should also include direct teaching of grammar. Because it is very hard once you are at school age to be able to figure out the grammar of the second language. That can be very confusing when you are in a classroom and the teacher uses something like a passive that may not be used in a native language or someone else. The teacher says, “The boy was hit by the girl”, the student maybe interpreting that in a way their language would be organized, grammatically, that the boy hit the girl, not the boy was hit by. So that can lead to confusion that can lead to frustrations for students. If they don’t have a good understanding of grammar.
  • The third implication, and I want you to think about, is that this idea of this English language learners are also from homes where parents work non-standard hours, where their homes of poverty, or undue stress. Those students are going to need cognitive interventions, you want to include interventions that improve attention, you want to include interventions that build memory skills for those students. Because that will then get them on par with the students that don’t have that if you will double jeopardy that we have been talking about.
  • Implication for Educators, the fourth consideration is that using two languages is a good thing. It is a good thing for the brain to go back and forth between two languages. We talked about Judith Kroll research. There is this other research that says that using Spanish at home and using English in the classroom or using an Asian language at home and using English in the classroom, it is actually a very good thing. So, we want the students to be able to use both languages, but we do want them obviously to focus on the English language when they are in their classrooms.