Teaching English topic of dialogue
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 26, 2006

Laura Houston
Yolanda De La Cruz knows that teachers are confused and classrooms are slighted by often arbitrary methods used to instruct students whose second language is English.

The issue hasn't gone away since De La Cruz arrived in 1991 as a professor at Arizona State University at the West campus. On Saturday, she plans on doing something about it. That's when ASU West professors will sit down with local English as second language school district coordinators and parents to get a better idea of how to tackle the challenges English learners and their teachers face daily.

"They (teachers) don't realize how long it takes to learn academic language.
They think because a student can speak a sentence in English, they're ready to be transferred into the classroom without support," De La Cruz said.

All 100 spots in the free colloquium have been taken, but De La Cruz invites the public, particularly parents, to sit in on the dialogue at the campus at
4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix.

De La Cruz said the colloquium poses a critical step in developing a research center at ASU West that will focus on the best ways to approach ESL instruction. The center would help schools and direct teachers, and it should materialize in the next five years, she said.