Mainstreaming English Language Learners: Does It Promote or Hinder Literacy Development?

  •  Esther Some-Guiebre    


This study examines the interaction between African immigrant students and their mainstream teachers. I am particularly interested in the influence of classroom practices on the literacy development of Francophone African immigrant children in the U.S. classroom. The student participants in this study (two French speaking African students) were all permanent residents in the United States. They were all born and schooled in their home countries and were fluent in French (the language of instruction in their home countries). Since their immigration to the U.S. with their parents, the children have been confronted to several linguistic, social, cultural, and economic challenges that slowed down their academic progress and achievement. This paper uses Krashen’s (2005) discussion on language acquisition to argue that specific classroom practices can hinder the literacy development of immigrant children. The data used for this discussion was collected through the observation of a 5th grade classroom, informal conversations with two French speaking African students and interviews with their mainstream teacher as well as their English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers.

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