<i>Con cariño</i>: Exploring program options for Latino immigrants in East of East Los Angeles School District
Many studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of bilingual education in the cognitive arena; this study differs in its qualitative approach to ascertain the cultural and affective characteristics that contribute to the success of bilingual education programs. The ethnographic methods employed allow for an intimate perspective on the lives of immigrant families and the manner in which the school personnel might assist them in their process of acculturation. The dissertation considered the East of East Los Angeles School District's approaches for meeting the needs of the Latino language minority students served in its community.
The findings indicated: (1) Students in both programs (transitional bilingual or English immersion) that performed at grade level or above in language arts and mathematics also had high levels of socio-cultural support. (2) Transitional bilingual education positively affects the linguistic, academic, cognitive, and socio-cultural development of Latino English-language learners. (3) Those teachers in either program (transitional bilingual or English immersion) that provided satisfactory levels of support for Latino English-language learners (a) taught English language development daily, (b) empathized with their students, and (c) understood socio-cultural dynamics. (4) Those families with children in either program (transitional bilingual or English immersion) that provided high levels of socio-cultural support (a) were involved in the school or community, (b) ensured their children completed homework, and (c) maintained Spanish as their language of communication.
The loss of culture and language is not required to participate successfully in mainstream culture. Rather, acculturation, as opposed to assimilation, is a superior, healthier outcome for the schooling of minority students. School personnel can facilitate acculturation by acknowledging, utilizing, and promoting the valuable culture and language that each student brings from home.
In order to improve the schooling of language minority students, the solution is not to eradicate bilingual education programs, but rather to offer both English immersion and bilingual education programs. When there are options parents and teachers can collaborate to determine which program best meets each child's individual needs.
0282: Multicultural education
0737: Hispanic Americans