Title

Supporting Bilingual Learners and their Families: Key Understandings for Pre-Service Teachers and the Institutions that Prepare Them

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

An essential component of successful schooling in linguistically and culturally diverse settings is the active involvement of parents and community members. This is made possible when teachers honor families’ languages and cultural traditions and build upon them. Teacher preparation programs play a critical role in helping preservice teachers reject deficit views and recognize that issues of status, power, and economic circumstances all play a role in shaping outcomes for students. Part of the asset orientation that must be fostered in new teachers is the understanding that primary or home language development contributes to both the academic success of children and the well-being of linguistically and culturally diverse communities as a whole. The article provides specific examples of understandings that preparation programs can instill in new teachers so that they come to see community outreach as essential to creating a positive and supportive school environment for all learners.