Borrero & Yeh (2011) just published some interesting exploratory research on 269 ethnically diverse high schooler’s opinions on what helps them learn English and be academically successful in the journal Educational Researcher. Among the findings is that the students reported that their English classes in school, their teachers, and studying on their own were the most helpful in learning English and in being academically successful – beating out “reading with English speaking friends”, “help from my family”, and “programs in the community,” for example. More importantly, the study shows that for these students, there were 4 kinds of English learning, each separately ranked: educational or school-based learning, community-based learning, family-based learning, and friend-based learning. Given that students ranked school-based learning highest in terms of helping them learn English and be academically successful, the authors imply that schools need to draw upon the assets of family, community, and friends more often in their teaching of English in order to bring the multiple worlds and resources of students into the learning process.
Everyday ELL is now Every Language Learner.