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The Relationship of Gender to Second Language Acquisition

), and may account for a degree of social alienation.

Government figures developed during the 1990s found that some 2.6 million children in American public schools were classified as LEP, or limited English proficient, and that 66% of them are in elementary school. The first language of the "vast majority" of them is Spanish, and 75% of them speak Spanish only at home (Perez 45). Guzman, et al., note that language is "one of the most controversial issues in the education of Hispanic children," and point to "public misunderstanding that bilingual and English-as-a-Second-Language education methods are somehow a threat to American culture and values." Meanwhile, Hernandez, et al., say that 80% of Hispanics (minimum age 5) speak Spanish at home, and 40% either speak Spanish only or do not speak English well.

The practical effect of these demographics is that elementary-school teachers--particularly though not exclusively in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois--have become de facto ESL teachers, being obliged to convey both curriculum content and language-acquisition skills to a significant student population. Reading instruction is especially challenging. Methods of engaging the LEP/ESL student in comprehension exercises have evolved, such as pairing LEP students with native English speakers and inviting each in turn to "say something," or react orally to a given text, or initiating classroom discussions from which LEP students can benefit because of what other students say (Perez 47).

How gender figures into classroom dynamics like these has to be connected to observations that, in general, teachers tend to prefer male to female students, i.e., inviting male participation much more than female participation in class. That preference has been found to be unintentional (Sadker and Sadker passim). However, the effect may still be striking. It has been noted, for example, that engagement is a key feature of second-language...

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The Relationship of Gender to Second Language Acquisition. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:45, August 21, 2017, from
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