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NCTE Position Statement

Resolution on English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education

1982 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Washington, DC


Continued debate on the question of how best to effect second-language learning without causing students to lose the richness and cultural values inherent in their first language prompted NCTE to form a committee of specialists in language to study the issues involved in two different instructional approaches. The following resolution distills the central ideas of the report of the NCTE Committee on Issues in English as a Second Language and Bilingual Education. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English

  1. emphasize the desirability of preserving a student's first language and its cultural ties, since the first language is considered a base upon which the student adds control of English and some familiarity with its literature and the culture within which that literature developed;
  2. reaffirm the values and continuity of English as a national language and support the English language as a basic component within bilingual education;
  3. support the rights of students with limited English proficiency to receive equal educational opportunity;

     that NCTE

  1. urge that teachers of English in bilingual-education programs have preparation, if not certification, for teaching English as a second language;
  2. encourage English teachers of any non-English speaking students to become familiar with the aims, methods, and materials of bilingual education;
  3. urge that teachers in bilingual-education programs be proficient speakers/listeners and readers/writers of each language for which they have a teaching responsibility;

     that NCTE disseminate the position statement of the Committee on Issues in ESL and Bilingual Education which explains and elaborates these statements of belief and principle; and

     that NCTE assume a wider responsibility for working constructively with other organizations concerned with bilingual education and teaching English as a second language.

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