The Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP) Essay

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Pedagogical classroom instruction as a means to social change: The Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP)

The Academic English Mastery Program (AEMP) is a groundbreaking approach to ensuring the language and literacy acquisition of speakers of non-standard varieties in parts of the Los Angeles Unified School District. Headed by former speech pathologist Dr. Noma LeMoine, AEMP is a response to an article entitled, “The Children Can No Longer Wait: An Action Plan to End Low Achievement and Establish Educational Excellence,” which outlines the difficulties of nonstandard English speakers and the failure of the school district to successfully address these deficiencies (LeMoine, 1999, p. 4). The program began in 1990 with nineteen
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As a result, the language differences of these students are erroneously classified as speech impediments or learning disabilities. LeMoine states, “rather than throw away their faculty methods, teachers [tend] to throw away their students with language differences” (LeMoine, 1999, p. 67).
AEMP recognizes these invidious blunders and strives to not only demonstrate and foster the neglected academic capabilities of these students but also to validate and encourage children to be proud of their native tongues by using these home languages for classroom instruction.

Much of the public is misinformed about the existence of nonstandard language varieties, regarding them as “improper” forms of English. AEMP aims to change these views, often held by teachers, by validating nonstandard language varieties, thereby placing pressure upon these teachers to change their attitudes toward the languages, those who speak the languages, and the culture of these speakers. Second-language theorist AEMP classrooms are designed to facilitate interactive communication among students and teachers through cooperative groups using the home language of these children. Put simply, “teachers should talk less (LeMoine, 1999, p. 67). And when teachers must communicate with students for instruction, it is imperative that they allow the children to express themselves in the way that is most comfortable to