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One of every ten students enrolled in the public schools was of Limited English Proficient (LEP). The LEP is process of identifying the student for a program in which a bilingual specialist determines the language of instruction based on parallel assessment of reading, writing , speaking and comprehension abilities. The language of instruction is a key issue when developing an individualized educational program for the student. If the key language of instruction was the primary language, it is advised that the same language should be used to establish the linguistically appropriate goals and objectives in special education.
As with any large subpopulation, a portion of these LEP students has been identified as needing special education services. The purpose of this paper is to describe briefly an empirically supported theoretical rationale for the education of that theoretical viewpoint for the education of LEP pupils who require special education services.
If a Limited English Proficient pupil has been appropriately identified as requiring special education services, educators must then decide which language, English or the home language, to use for instruction. Many educators believe that some of the bilingual instruction would be of greatest benefit to such students while others contend that instruction in two languages will only exacerbate the student's learning problems. This latter group holds that LEP special education students should be schooled exclusively in the language most used in this country.
The options of the regular program were considered and were appropriately utilized. If there has been no progress in terms of the student's ability to learn within the academic setting of the program and then a formal referral for special education should be made. Once the formal referral has started, the 50 day deadline is in existence that governs the student's movement through the process to a development of the Limited English Proficient and for the limited English Second Language proficient student.
Few educators or parents deny the importance of English Second Language proficiency for LEP students requiring special education services. How to best assist these students to develop communicative language proficiency in English Second Language should be an issue of concern to educators.
Research has shown that several factors influence the level and rate of Second Language development. Factors that influence second Language development are age, instructional method, attitudes, and aptitude. The question of the role of second language aptitude, which is strongly related to general intelligence and academic achievement, seem especially related in deciding upon instructional approaches for LEP special education students (Collier, V. P).
The Second Language Acquisition is used to be able to express this common underlying proficiency in the English Second Language. Limited English Proficient (LEP) students need to acquire communicative language proficiency in English Second Language. The literature in the Second Language development identifies those processes by which an individual might develop communicative proficiency in a Second Language: learning and acquisition (Stevick & Krashen,).
When learning a language, students consciously attempt to grammatically correct utterances. On the other hand, the second Language acquisition is more of a subconscious process and similar to the natural process of acquiring one's first language. People who have acquired a second language often report that they have acquired the language while living in another country or by exposure in the home. Although they are quite fluent in the language, they are often unable to describe the rules that govern the use of the language.
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