Mainstreaming Students Whose Primary Language Is Not English: A Research

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How Much More Will Be Lost? One of the seemingly perennial debates in American education is how students who speak a language different from English at home (and perhaps exclusively) and how best to help them acclimate to a country in which English in the dominant language. Most of this debate centers on Spanish speakers, since there are so many Spanish-speaking students in American schools, and this is certainly a legitimate focus. However, this paper examines a related topic that gets far less attention. What should be educational policy regarding mainstreaming students whose primary language is not English when their language is a threatened one? This is an important question because, while there are a number of key elements to culture, language is arguably the most important of all, providing not only a way to communicate but a way in which to prioritize what should be communicated and one of the most potent tools in creating a group identity. Giving up a native language is always a loss, but it can be an especially difficult one when the family understands the issue of learning English as a threat to a language in its declining phase. The purpose of this research is to determine how school staff interact with students speaking endangered language and what (if any) accommodations they make as a result of the language's status. Social workers who address the adjustment issues of bilingual children will also be included as subjects. Whenever a researcher talks directly

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