Only in recent years has the focus of teaching bilingual students shifted from a reductive emphasis on making them proficient in English to a more comprehensive approach designed to help them flourish in both their languages. The term ‘emergent bilinguals’ brings the two languages into balance and assigns them equal value. This approach tries to reverse the harming effect that schools in the United States historically have had by viewing English as the all dominant lingua franca and not recognizing the importance of students’ native languages. This contemporary understanding incorporates multiple layers, considering cultural background, socioeconomic aspects, parent interaction and all factors that are part of the educational development of a child. The books selected in this collection have all been published in the last ten years and are based on this progressive approach. There is a spectrum of different focuses within this collection, although the fundamental subject is bilingual education for children. Some books specifically discuss strategies for engaging parents from diverse backgrounds, others look at the topic from a stance of applied linguistics, yet the goal of all is to provide ideas and methods to tailor the classroom experience to best meet the needs of bilingual students.
As newly elected President Biden has assumed office and is planning sweeping reforms in support of immigration and multilateralism, the importance of a strong foundation for teaching bilingual students in the United States becomes more and more significant. Historically, this country has always been defined as a nation of immigrants so it is vital that teachers embarking on the journey of educating these students have the support they need.
The hope for this collection is that the books curated will be inspiring and helpful resources for educators at all levels.
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