I hope that when you access this new issue of ¿QUE TAL? you will have had a pleasant and restful holiday. I thought that focusing on what is new in publications in the field of language and cultural diversity would fit the theme of “ beginning”. Therefore, the information presented below constitutes what I have found to be NEW and UPCOMING in those areas. As you will note, some of the information has already been released, while other information is forthcoming. For the past two years, I have had the privilege to write this column with very limited feedback from readers. I hope that with the beginning of my third year as editor of the ¿QUE TAL? Column, the content of this column and others to follow will constitute a platform for discussion on issues related to services to English Language Learners (ELLs), and to individuals with diverse language and cultural backgrounds.
Even though I feel excited about what is NEW, I would like you to consider that what appears to be NEW may not be entirely new. Some of the concepts that are discussed in the described publications are founded on important work that served as a foundation for the current thinking about assessment and intervention issues related to second language learners. The information cannot be divorced from research in related fields which include bilingual and second language acquisition, psychology, sociology, and anthropology, to name a few. Therefore, I strongly encourage all of you to refer to the seminal research that served as foundation for the current discussions about the most appropriate assessment and intervention strategies for English language learners (ELL).
As professor and clinician devoted to issues concerning the assessment and intervention for second language learners with various language-learning disabilities, I feel that anyone involved in the welfare of those individuals, needs to study Cummins (1981; 1984) and Krashen (1981; 1982) among other researchers who carved paths to understand the intricacies of second language acquisition and learning.
Specific references will be provided upon request.
What Has Been Recently Published?
1. Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (2006). Language Disorders in children: A multicultural and case perspective. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. This book includes 12 different chapters concerning various issues related to assessment and intervention of children who have one or more disabilities. The focus of the book is on recognizing the impact of culture and linguistic differences.
2. An entire issue of Topics in Language Disorders Vol. 26, (October-December 2006) English Language Learners: Language and Literacy Development and Intervention was written by researchers representing various fields that include communication disorders, education, literacy, language and learning. Although the issue centers on recent research on primarily Spanish-speaking children, some of the discussions may also apply to children of other home languages. The issue includes information on language and literacy and the importance of addressing their connections.
The introduction by the journal Editor Nickola Wolf Nelson and Emerita Editor Katharine Butler summarize some key information that we need to remember.
- Assessment of second language learners should expand beyond determining proficiency in the two languages, to include observations, modalities and situations.
- Parents and families of ELL students should continue communicating with them in their preferred language, often the home language.
I encourage all readers to review all five articles included in the issue.
3. A new articulation/phonology test for Spanish speakers titled Contextual Probes of Articulation Competence (CPAC-S)(Goldstein & Iglesias, 2006) available from Super Duper Publications. The test is based on the Contextual Probes of Articulation Competence in the Secord Contextual Articulation Tests (Secord & Shine, 1997). At this time, I have no specific comments about this test because I have just purchased the test, but I am looking forward to using it.
What Is In Store for 2007?
Thus far, I have been able to identify three books that would be of interest to all of us working with individuals with second language backgrounds and/or different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds who also have challenges in acquiring English and related communication, social and academic skills.
- Roseberry-McKibbin, C. (June 2007). Increasing the language skills of students from low-income backgrounds: Practical suggestions for professionals. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.
- Kohnert, K. (June 2007). Language disorders in bilingual children and adults.
San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.
- Langdon, H.W. (July 2007). Assessment and intervention for communication disorders in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Learning.
At this time it is not possible to provide any opinions about these three upcoming publications because I am the writer of one of them and I have not had a chance to review the others. I can only say that the added number of publications related to adequately assessing and working with individuals whose primary language is other than English has finally captured the attention of research funding agencies and publication agencies. However, it is my hope that all of us who are deeply involved in research, writing and working with individuals who have diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds continue to collaborate with one another and acknowledge each other’s contributions in a fair manner. As the saying goes: “It takes an entire village to raise a child.”
Coming up in the QUÉ TAL issue of February 2007
Using Celebrations in February in the US and the World As a Theme for Intervention