Cultural Pluralism || Keeping Communication Clear

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    Keeping Communication ClearAuthor(s): Nancy WohlgeSource: Learning Disability Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 4, Cultural Pluralism (Autumn, 1983), p. 538Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.Stable URL: .Accessed: 18/06/2014 14:52

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    CLEAR Clear communication is crucial for teachers

    working with limited-English proficient (LEP) students. The following suggestions provide some guidelines and ideas for keeping com- munication clear.

    1. Whenever possible, interact with students on an individual or small-group basis. A one-to- one setting allows students to hear the English language clearly and distinctly, to watch how words are formed, and to ask questions in a nonthreatening environment.

    2. Speak clearly and use simple sentences. Allow students time to assimilate potentially confusing English language constructions and concepts. Many LEP students' social language level is far above their academic understanding, therefore, do not assume that they understand what is occurring in a formal learning situation even though their social language and behavior appear correct and appropriate.

    3. Provide students with opportunities to hear English sounds. Students often do not recognize all the sounds of the English language; consequently, they mispronounce or omit sounds. For example, since many In- dochinese languages are tonal, consonant and vowel sounds are different from English pronunciations. Students need experience with English words, their meaning, and use within a variety of contexts, before they are asked to use these sounds and words in reading and writing.

    4. Be aware of different alphabets. Some students may not recognize the Roman (English) alphabet system. Some languages, Lao and Cambodian, for example, use the Indic alphabet, whereas Hmong and Viet- namese dialects use a modified Roman alphabet.

    5. Whenever possible, pair written assignments with concrete or practical information. Writing and spelling is difficult for many students because of phonetic and structural differences between languages. The language experience approach, with its visual rather than phonetic emphasis, is helpful in all writing tasks. Language ex- perience reading helps insure that the stu- dent understands what is read.

    6. Avoid rote learning. It lacks meaning for the student.

    Learning a second language is similar to first- language development. However, it may take second-language students several years to effec- tively utilize the English language in conceptual thinking for academic purposes.

    -Nancy Wohlge Boulder Valley Schools

    538 Learning Disability Quarterly


    Keeping lines of communication open be- tween home and school is important, particularly when students are having difficulty at school. The ideal way of helping parents understand the school and the programs in which their children participate is to have parents visit the school. Since this is often not feasible, however, perti- nent school information may be tape-recorded and available for check-out along with a tape recorder, if necessary. For parents who do not speak English audio tape-recordings of this type are particularly effective as they can be made available in several languages. For example, the organization of a junior-high school may be ex- plained to parents whose children are moving from elementary school to this new setting. Other communication, such as report cards, health information, etc., may also be tape- recorded and sent home to parents who do not speak English.

    -Catherine Collier University of Colorado, Boulder

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    Article Contentsp. 538

    Issue Table of ContentsLearning Disability Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 4, Cultural Pluralism (Autumn, 1983), pp. 365-548Volume Information [pp. 543 - 548]Front Matter [pp. 365 - 457]The Concept of Cultural Pluralism: Issues in Special Education [pp. 367 - 371]Bilingualism and Special Education: Program and Pedagogical Issues [pp. 373 - 386]Ethnic Composition of Special Education Programs in California [pp. 387 - 394]Adjustment Problems of Mexican and Mexican-American Students: An Anthropological Study [pp. 395 - 415]Addressing the Learning Disability Needs of Limited-English Proficient Students: Beyond Language and Race Issues [pp. 416 - 423]Trends in Bilingual Special Education [pp. 424 - 431]Hispanic Parents' Perspectives and Participation in Their Children's Special Education Program: Comparisons by Program and Race [pp. 432 - 439]Detecting Predictive Bias: The WISC-R vs. Achievement Scores of Mexican-American and Non-Minority Students [pp. 440 - 447]Minority Overrepresentation: A Case for Alternative Practices Prior to Referral [pp. 448 - 456]Assessment and Instruction of Reading Skills: Results with Mexican-American Students [pp. 458 - 467]Implications of Psychological and Educational Research for Assessment and Instruction of Culturally and Linguistically Different Students [pp. 468 - 478]Identification of Learning Disabled Bilingual Hispanic Students [pp. 479 - 488]A Second-Language Approach to Mathematics Skills: Applications for Limited-English Proficient Students with Learning Disabilities [pp. 489 - 495]Instructional Media for the Culturally and Linguistically Different LD Student [pp. 496 - 505]ReportsEthnicity, Exceptionality, and Teacher Education [pp. 506 - 512]Linguistic Analysis of the "Wepman Auditory Discrimination Test" and the Appropriateness of Its Use with Black-English Speaking Children [pp. 513 - 516]Overrepresentation of Low-Socioeconomic Minority Students in Special Education Programs in California [pp. 517 - 525]The "Draw-A-Person Test": Validity Properties for Nonbiased Assessment [pp. 526 - 534]

    Application of Research and Theory in the ClassroomConcepts from Content [p. 535]Getting the Picture [pp. 535 - 536]Sensitivity Is the Key [p. 536]S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g the Experience [pp. 536 - 537]Secondary Sense [p. 537]Read and Draw [p. 537]Keeping Communication Clear [p. 538]Aiding the Home-School Connection [p. 538]1-2-3 Succeed! [p. 539]Talk, Talk, Talk [p. 539]A Cross-Cultural Experience [pp. 539 - 540]What's a Tongue? [p. 540]Technique Potpourri [p. 541]Helping Everyone Belong [p. 541]Classification: A Thinking Tool [pp. 541 - 542]

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