Title

Responding to Linguistic Diversity

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2008

Abstract

Second language learners arrive at every grade level with a variety of experiences and differing academic backgrounds. Responding to their learning needs means accommodating the entire range of students from monolingual English speakers to monolingual speakers of other languages, and a variety of bilingual profiles in between. This article discusses how schools adopt a "blue pathway" mindset for improving instruction for all learners. The blue pathway, which also leads to academic competence, represents best practice for second language learners--strategies and approaches that from the outset account for language proficiency and cultural diversity. Instruction on the blue pathway can be summed up as follows: (1) Makes intentional connections among the different dimensions of academic activity--conceptual understandings, how one talks about concepts and ideas and the text one uses to represent them--through the use of visual images, movement, modeling, and demonstration; and (2) Does whatever is necessary to make the content accessible and comprehensible while providing students with the opportunity to interact with, connect to, act on, and talk, read, and write about important ideas and information.