Language Support for in the Home and in the School

Language Support for Students
in the Home and in School

Students in bilingual and ESL classrooms manipulate more than one language and are influenced by more than one culture. Their experiences with these languages and cultures influence their learning. The more we understand the personal, socio-cultural, and linguistic backgrounds of bilingual students, the better equipped we will be to provide these students with an effective learning environment. This environment should be one that supports learning in a second language and culture, while fostering a positive attitude and respect for the other language and culture.

The responsibility for English language learning, academic progress, and integration of bilingual and ESL learners into the school community should be assumed by all personnel at the school, not just by the bilingual and ESL staff. School administrators should make certain that bilingual students have opportunities to integrate both socially and academically with monolingual English speakers (Brisk, 1998). The following practices promote the inclusion of all students in a supportive, educational environment:

  1. Create participatory, inquiry-based classrooms
  2. Maintain high expectations for all students
  3. Teach ESL through content-area instruction
  4. Use thematic units
  5. Incorporate culturally familiar learning strategies
  6. Use a variety of strategies when teaching literacy
  7. Provide appropriate and valid assessment
  8. Recognize that students use both languages to learn



Brisk, M. (1998). Bilingual education: From compensatory to quality schooling. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.

Brisk, M., & Harrington, M. (2000). Literacy and bilingualism: A handbook for all teachers. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Peregoy, S. F., & Boyle, O. F. (1993). Reading, writing, & learning in ESL: A resource book for K-8 teachers. New York: Longman Publishing Group.