English Language Learners come from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds and it is the responsibility of the Linden Public Schools to equip these students with the skills necessary to compete in American society. We are mindful that students learn best when their cultural identities are acknowledged and valued.
Language proficiency includes both social and academic skills. In addition to learning basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS), English Language Learners must develop cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP), so that they will achieve success in their academic classes along with their general program peers. While they make the transition from their native language to English, the emphasis must be on developing academic skills that meet the WIDA standards, New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, as well as national standards.
We in the Linden Public School District understand that literacy in the first language facilitates the development of literacy in the second language. Second language encompasses learning the values, norms, and beliefs of a new culture, thereby broadening one’s socio-linguistic competence. It is most impotent for English language learners to be able to function effectively in an academic environment, while retaining their own native language and culture.
Language acquisition is a long term process which occurs over time as learners move through developmental stages and gradually increase proficiency in the second language. Individual learners, however, move through these stages at variable rates. Rates of acquisition are influenced by multiple factors, including an individual’s educational background, first language literacy learning type, motivation, and personality. Socio-cultural factors, such as the relative significance of the English and native language communities in the learner’s life, also play a role in the rate of acquisition.
ELL’s bring their knowledge of their native language to the task of second language learning. The Linden Public School District believes that instruction in content areas should include the use of English LAnguage Learners’ native languages to promote learners’ academic achievement while they are acquiring the English skills necessary to benefit fully from instruction in English. The most valuable and effective environment for second language teaching and learning is one that promotes the English Language Learners’ native language and literacy development as a foundation for English language and academic development.