I’m at the 51st conference of the Learning Disabilities Association. I have booth duty for Tixlers Letters, but I’ve been able to attend the keynote talks, and also a few sessions. Yesterday was day 1, and Catherine Collier, of Cross-Cultural Developmental Education Services, gave the keynote. She talked about some of the challenges of educating students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The most surprising page and point of her talk is that it takes five to seven years for a student to acquire the proficiency in English necessary to succeed in school. She recommended native-language education, as well as English-language education, for the English language learners. The slide and point in her talk that really got my attention is that by failing to provide appropriate instruction for the required time, the students are likely to not do well in school, and are likely to never achieve proficiency in English. As a result, they cannot fully participate in and contribute to the rich opportunities of our nation.
Dr. Collier’s slides can be viewed here on SlideShare.