Breaking Down the Monolingual Wall: Essential Shifts for Multilingual Learners’ Success

C­orwin. Sept. 2023. 304p. pap. $38.95. ISBN 9781071895535.
A collection of essays that reflects a significant shift in teaching multilingual learners in American classrooms. The book starts by discussing why programs should no longer be labeled “English as a second language” or “bilingual,” but instead “dual language education.” In the same vein, “English language learners” ought to be called the more equitable “multilingual learners.” The motivation behind these changes in terms is to respect the linguistic and cultural heritage of learners without erasing the knowledge with which they enter school. Not speaking English was long considered a deficit in American schools. Reformed goals for students in dual language education are bilingualism and biliteracy. Speaking, reading, writing, and listening in more than one language are the basic objectives for all learners in dual language education. The book’s chapters detail how schools can develop existing programs to align with respectful and ethical practices in the field; for instance, through improving assessment practices and collaborative teaching. Development resources for current practitioners are also included. The final chapter discusses historical state and federal policy, then provides updates on current legislation in numerous states moving toward more ethical bilingual education for the more than 10 million multilingual learners in public schools. The glossary is necessary for anyone not familiar with all the terminology related to multilingual education.
VERDICT Necessary for any school teaching multilingual education.

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