Maggie Hawkins in the department of curriculum and instruction at the university of Wisconsin, Madison.
I might answer that question differently than sort of the the traditional teacher ed. stuff in ESL because I come from a very socio-cultural perspective and I think that depending on who the learners are always everything’s always dependent on context and so I don’t want to make absolutes and I’m of course making generalizations. But um I think that for teachers serving these kids it’s really important that they understand the really deep relationships between language, um culture, well inparticularly and identity. Um who these kids are that the kids aren’t other or deficient that’s you know that sort of common wisdom wisdom in the field but it’s really more than that. You can still say well okay they’re not like us and that’s okay but it’s still are job to make them more like us and that and and in some sense that may be true actually that is what happens in schools but to say these kids you know we’re not saving them and we’re not you you know it it’s um it’s saying that what is it saying. It’s hard to do this way. Um it’s saying that these kids culture and language and families and experiences all need to be taken into account and built on not discounted so that we can do some things other and completely different with them. And a lot of times um when I work with main stream teachers who have had these kids in classes before what you get is I’m really sensitive and I really really care about these kids and I really want the best for them and really am a good competent teacher and so I can serve them but to get across the incredible complexity and depth of language, literacy, culture, the ways that we’re socialized into you know language and literacy practices what that has to do with how we are how we see the world how we see the world who we are in the world all of those things is a that’s another matter and so I would say that while yes you have to know something about language and how it works and absolutely about second language acquisition but again not from sort of just internal motivational thing. Does this child want to succeed or not? Things aren’t you know things aren’t that simple. It’s seeing the complexity of the whole picture and then figuring out what that has to do with the individual learners with in that.