Cognitive Skills and English Language Learners

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Cognitive Skills and English Language Learners

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Cognitive Skills and English Language Learners


Today, more schools than ever are challenged with providing an education to children who speak little or no English when they enter the school system. We hear more frequently of districts, schools and even individual classrooms with multiple foreign languages being spoken. Integrating students who speak a foreign language into mainstream classrooms is complicated by the difficulty of teaching language to large groups, especially those that are culturally diverse, and by the requirements for knowledge acquisition for standardized tests.

An individual’s ability to achieve fluency in his/her native or a second language depends on an integrated activity of diverse systems in the brain. For example, while the sounds of language are heard in the auditory area of the brain, they must be responded to by the speech area. The speaker must listen to his or her own speech in order to tell whether the intended sounds have been produced correctly. This coordination is intensified when practicing speech in a foreign language.