Re: "An English-plan outcry," October 20:
Sent to the LA Times, Oct 20
Both sides are right in the LAUSD debate over English development: Decades of research tells us that we acquire language when we understand what we hear and read. Our goal is thus to provide both comprehensible instruction and peer interaction.
A solution is to provide ESL classes for beginners, while including these students in classes that are highly comprehensible (PE, art, music). Subjects that are harder to make comprehensible for beginners are taught in the first language.
As Norm Gold mentioned in the Times article, students are moved to classes than require higher levels of English "in a timely manner" as their English improves, first participating in classes that require less abstract language (science, math) and later those that demand more abstract language (social studies, language arts).
Cheryl Ortega pointed out that this plan makes classes much easier to teach, and promotes the development of academic language, not just social English.