059MS California/Spain Visiting Teachers Program Participants Opinions about the Use and Effects of Students Primary Languages in the Classroom

Francisco Ramos


The present study examined opinions about some theoretical and practical tenets of bilingualism and bilingual education, as well as about the instructional use of students native languages in the classroom, of seventy-seven teachers from Spain working in California as part of the California/Spain Visiting Teachers Program. In their responses participants showed strong support for the tenets of bilingual education and for the use of English Language Learners (ELLs) primary languages in the classroom, agreed that primary language instruction contributes to the academic and English acquisition progress of ELLs, and favored maintaining ELLs primary languages after they had learned English. The results of the study show that, seven years after the passage of Proposition 227, which aimed to eradicate the presence of languages other than English from California public schools, participants continued to acknowledge the value of the primary language in the linguistic and academic progress of ELLs.