Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Older Students Who Need Basics Pose Challenge

This was a very interesting article about the difficulties of teaching foreign language students who, in addition to speaking little English, suffer from very poor educations in their native countries.

At a time when No Child Left Behind requires that educators ensure that all students are literate, the plight of this group illustrates the hurdles faced by even wealthy school systems such as those in Montgomery and Fairfax counties as they attempt to meet the law's mandates. Somehow, educators must help students with little formal schooling read, write and do math at the same level as the kids who arrive at school as kindergartners fluent in English.

Yes, schools must somehow figure this out. That was more or less the point of the law.

The story also contained this bizarre little nugget:
The process of teaching this group can be difficult and frustrating for students and teachers, experts say. Older teenagers such as Velasquez are so far behind that educators are trying to cram nine to 10 years' worth of learning into just a few years.

And students unaccustomed to the rigors of U.S. schools sometimes find themselves struggling with a new set of expectations.

"I like school," [Jose] Velasquez said through a translator. "There's much more opportunity here, so I want to work hard."

This kid doesn't seem frustrated at all. He seems quite enthusiatic about the opportunities a proper education can provide. But don't believe him, deep down he's "struggling" with this "difficult" and "frustrating" process.

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