WWB Training Kit #2
Understanding the Impact of
Language Differences on
Classroom Behavior
Why is Understanding the Impact of
Language Differences Challenging
for Teachers?
• Second language learners and dialect speakers may
exhibit social interaction patterns along with limited
communication abilities similar to children with
• The time it takes to learn a new language may vary
from child to child depending on age, motivation,
knowledge of first language, personality, and
exposure to new language.
Stages in Children’s Second
Language Learning
1. The continued use of the home language
2. The silent or nonverbal period
3. Sound experimentation and use of
telegraphic speech (e.g., the use of a few
content words as an entire utterance)
4. Productive use of the new language
Tabors, P.O. (1987)
Getting to Know English
Language Learners
Look closely at child’s strengths and needs when
developing curricular ideas. Investigate the following:
• The child’s abilities (cognitive, social emotional, and
physical development)
• The child’s abilities in the first language
• The child’s capabilities in the second language
Supporting Young English
Language Learners
• Provide a ________ and _____ environment
in which children can use their home
language and English
• Promote meaningful ___________ in
classroom routines and activities
• Encourage parents to continue using their
_______ _____________ with their
young children (including with children
with disabilities)
Supporting Young English Language
• Build on what children _____ and engage them in
situations that at the beginning do not require them to give
_______ ________(e.g., low-demand situations)
• Use _______ __________, such as:
• Promote children’s engagement in ________ ________ in
English and the home language
• Ask parents for _______ _________ in the child’s native
• Invite family members to the ___________/
Continued use of
home language
Silent or non-verbal
telegraphic speech
Productive English
Support Strategies
Additional Resources
Coltrane, B. (2001). Working with young English language learners:
Some considerations. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No.
De Houwer, A. (1999). Two or more languages in early childhood:
Some general points and practical recommendations. (ERIC
Document Reproduction Service No. ED 433697)
Delpit, L. (1997). Ebonics and culturally responsive instruction.
Rethinking our Classrooms, 2, 22-26.
McLaughlin, B. (1998). Assessing and fostering the development of
a first and a second language in early childhood: Training manual.
Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.
Tabors, P. O. (1997). One child, two languages: A guide
preschool educators of children learning English as
second language. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes