The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Cultural Diversity and Early Education: Report of a Workshop
this role effectively? What supports in children's communities and schools facilitate their efforts to move between their home and school environments? Is successful adaptation gained at a cost to children's identity development or to their relations with their families? Is there a set of brokering skills that benefit children in ways that extend beyond their experiences in negotiating between home and school?
BILINGUAL LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION
Language instruction is among the most politically sensitive facets of educating children from diverse backgrounds. Bilingual education is typically associated with controversial issues, such as U.S. language policy regarding the official status of English and policies regarding access of immigrant families to public education and other services (August and Garcia, 1993; Hakuta, 1986). This context serves to underscore the critical importance of having a solid knowledge base as input to policy discussions about language- minority children.
There is no dearth of researchable issues regarding bilingual education. Three were prominent among the workshop discussions. First, there is virtually no research available to guide decisions that are being made regarding the treatment of language-minority children in the context of education reform. Pressing issues range from effective means of ensuring language-minority students access to high-quality curriculum content to identifying valid assessment methods for these students.
Second, there is a set of unanswered questions regarding the relationship between a child's home language and English acquisition: When and how should English be introduced? Should instruction in the native language be phased out once children can benefit from English instruction? What adjustments need to be made regarding instructional language for bilingual special education?
Third, it is important to place research on language in the context of children's lives at home and at school. For example, very little is known about the conditions in homes, in schools, and in communities that influence variation in language acquisition and retention. Similarly, effective language instruction cannot occur in isolation from other aspects of an instructional program, yet questions regarding school and classroom environments that facilitate and sustain successful educational outcomes for language-minority students have not been addressed by research.
EFFECTIVE EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES
The workshop drew into sharp focus the dearth of research that is available to inform teachers' efforts to provide effective instruction in the con-