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Crossing the language divide

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FPG Snapshot #49
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Publication Date: 
1 Oct 2007


Snapshots are summaries of research articles, books, and other publications by researchers at the FPG Child Development Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill. Snapshot #49 is based upon Gillanders, C. (2007). An English-speaking prekindergarten teacher for young Latino
children: Implications of the teacher-child relationship on second language learning. Early Childhood Education Journal. 35(1), 47-54.


This case study was designed to describe how an effective English-speaking prekindergarten teacher develops strategies for communicating with and teaching young English language learners. The teacher's classroom practices to enhance her own relationship with the children promoted opportunities for the Latino children to become full participants in the classroom community. At the end of the year, the Latino children showed progress in formal and informal measures of receptive vocabulary in both English and Spanish. Findings from the study suggest the importance of the affective and social nature of second language learning in young children. Implications for practice and research are discussed.