CRISTINA DE NOVAIS
Department Head, 9-12
The Brockton Public School System has a diverse student population and currently services students from a variety of countries, including Albania, Angola, Brazil, Cambodia, Cape Verde, China, Haiti, India, Korea, Laos, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, and several Spanish-speaking countries. The system is committed to offering the highest quality of educational services to all students, including English language learners. The Department of Bilingual/ESL Services administers programs for English language learners with the goal of developing English language proficiency and achieving state content-area standards, while simultaneously valuing their native languages and cultural backgrounds.
The mission of the Brockton Public Schools' programs for English language learners is to enable students of limited English proficiency to develop the linguistic, cognitive, cultural, and self-concept skills necessary for success in the Brockton Public Schools and beyond. The students will accomplish this development in an atmosphere of understanding, cooperation, and support.
Limited English proficient students require the ability to understand, speak, read, and write English with near-native fluency to realize their full potential within the English speaking society.
The most successful programs are those that develop a positive self-concept in each student, while they continue to develop their English proficiency.
Teachers should have high expectations of all students, regardless of the student's background or academic preparation.
Teachers must help students in adjusting to cultural, language, and attitudinal difference.
Students in heterogeneous groupings learn from each other as well as from the teacher.
The ability to speak more than one language is a valuable asset, and one that should be recognized as such.
Organization and Structure of the Brockton Bilingual Department
The Brockton Public Schools offers a variety of programs for English Language Learners. At the elementary level, English language learners receive sheltered instruction in structured English immersion classrooms. In structured English immersion classrooms, all curriculum materials and instruction are in English, and native language may be used to help clarify concepts and skills when necessary. Teachers make use of specific teaching techniques that assist students in learning English and content skills and concepts. Immersion classrooms with native speaking teachers are available for Cape Verdean Creole, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Spanish. In immersion classrooms with low incidence populations, or in classrooms where the teacher does not speak the student's native language, native language support may be provided through teacher aides or liaison personnel.
At the junior high and high school levels, a variety of courses are available to English language learners. These include English as a second language, structured English immersion, and transitional bilingual education classes. English as a second language classes concentrate on the development of English language skills, including reading and writing. Immersion classes teach subject matter using instruction and instructional materials in English, and native language may be used to help clarify concepts and skills when necessary. Transitional bilingual education classes have instructors who speak the students' native languages and may use native language materials to support the attainment subject matter and English language competencies.
Benefits of Knowing Two Languages
Brockton Public Schools programs for English language learners promote mastery of the English language in a culturally and linguistically sensitive environment. However, it is important not to neglect a student's first language. Continuing to develop native language at home does not interfere with English language acquisition. In fact, the research shows that it helps the process.
There are many benefits of knowing more than one language. Economically, there is an increased demand for bilingual employees throughout the world. Socially, the United States is a diverse society with many languages and cultures represented. In addition, research shows that knowing more than one language increases a person's thinking abilities. Bilingual students have greater cognitive flexibility, and that flexibility can transfer into academic success.