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Home arrow Economics arrow Bilingualism in Schools and Society: Language, Identity, and Policy


  • •—Migration Policy Institute has an online ELL Information Center with videos, fact sheets, and maps of the ELL student population across the United States.
  • •—The Working Group on ELL Policy brings a research perspective to developing recommendations, sharing information, and fostering dialogue among educators, policy-makers, and other stakeholders about current policy issues affecting ELs.


  • 1. Explain the “maximum exposure hypothesis” in your own words and explain how this view is not supported by existing linguistic and social evidence. Present an alternate, more linguistically sound conceptualization of the bilingual capacities of children learning two or more languages and research findings that support it.
  • 2. Describe specific ways in which teachers and school administrators can promote the continual development and maintenance of ELs’ native languages and why doing this is necessary. In addition, explain ways in which your suggestions can benefit non-ELs in your schools.
  • 3. How is academic English different from conversational English? Analyze a paragraph from a content area textbook and identify vocabulary, grammar, and discourse features that might be difficult for ELs. What can teachers do to help students learn these successfully?
  • 4. Observe a content area class (e.g., math, science, history) in which ELs are present. With the permission of the teacher, talk to the ELs about what they find hard to understand. Do you suspect any of the students’ difficulties might be due to their lack of understanding of academic English? Share your findings with the teacher and ask for his/her ideas.
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