Meeting the Needs of English-Language Learners – Meet Michael Matsuda, 2016 Leader to Learn From
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Meeting the Needs of English-Language Learners – Meet Michael Matsuda, 2016 Leader to Learn From


I have a real connection, not only with
the sort of the immigrant journey, but the English-language journey and the
journey of navigating through poverty. So I really am connected to our student
population in that respect. My parents were born in America. They
were brought up in a Japanese-speaking household. My mother was a freshman at Anaheim High School on December 7, 1941, which was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. (Television Broadcast) “We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin. The Japanese have attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by air, President Roosevelt has just announced.” (President Roosevelt speaking) “December 7, 1941. A date which will live in infamy.” A lot of the hundred and ten thousand
Japanese-Americans, these were American citizens, were subsequently put into
concentration camps all across the Western states. And because their education was
interrupted, their English and their Japanese was pretty weak. Very similar to our student population today. (Classroom) “It’s important to know the whole story, right? The whole story. Like maybe it’s good not to feel alone. That other people maybe have some same challenges.” One of the key understandings about English learners is understanding the difference between long-term English learners and newcomer English learners. The long-term English learners are those students who often were born here in the United States, but whose parents have a very low-level primary language
acquisition. (Classroom) “Stand if English is not spoken at home.” “If you speak Spanish at home.” What that means is really an attention to their language development, giving them opportunities in class in a very intentional way, every day, to speak and to write so that they can start building
their language and their context for English. I think about my parents and their
struggle on behalf of their kids when I interact with parents today.

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