There are many myths that you might encounter in the field about bilingual development (Espinosa, 2008). The truth is that most Americans know very little about bilingualism and unfortunately as a society we do not place much value in or have much experience with speaking more than one language. Outside the U.S. over half of the world’s population is bilingual (Grosjean, 2010). As diversity increases in the U.S. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2008) it is important that we get our facts right about bilingualism so that we can better serve one of the fastest and largest populations in the U.S. The following section will address three important “fictions” that influence how teachers might approach the education of young dual language learners (DLLs).
At a national level the demographics of preschool classrooms are evolving such that larger and larger percentages of students represent native non-English speakers, or English Language Learners (ELL). Through efforts to maximize inclusive education practices, we are successfully serving more and more students, and increasingly the needs and languages represented are growing more and more diverse. In fact, a language other than English is spoken in more than 20% of U.S. households (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). As we see classrooms make shifts in demographics, classroom teachers across the nation are asking the question: what do we need to consider when assessing ELL’s?