"My Trouble is My English": Asian Students and the American Dream / Edition 1

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Can the whole language approach adequately prepare minority students, especially those with different backgrounds, for the literate world? With "My Trouble Is My English," Danling Fu joins the current debate over this issue, examining the learning experiences of four Laotian students at a mainstream secondary school. Her study not only describes and interprets the students' learning situations, it also helps us understand their perspectives, along with those of their teachers.

Fu introduces us to the Savang family, refugees who left Laos, spent time in a settlement camp in Thailand, and finally escaped to the United States. Her book is about their dreams of integration, and the ways their school often tracked them into classes where the focus was on isolated vocabulary and language skills.

Fu shows, in graphic detail, how difficult this "simplified" approach is for those new to a culture. And she shows how open journal writing assignments began to tap the rich stories this family had to tell.

Fu, a native Chinese teacher with her own unique learning history, brings her firsthand experience of second language acquisition to this book. Her treatment of the issues of inclusion, multiculturalism, and students "at risk" is especially personal and insightful.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[This book] is a very readable and timely book for mainstream teachers and ESL educators; its authenticity makes one smile, cry, cringe, clap.”–TESLEJ
Fu (elementary education, Towson State U.), a native Chinese speaker, examines the learning experiences of four Laotian students at a mainstream secondary school, describing their learning situations and their perspectives along with those of their teachers. Lacks an index. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867093551
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 3/20/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 230
  • Sales rank: 666,691
  • Age range: 11 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

"When I started my work in the New York City schools with ELLs," writes Danling Fu, "I identified with students struggling to write in English." A Chinese immigrant, Danling learned to write in English as a graduate student. Her experience continues to motivate her to teach other English learners and to discover effective teaching methods to support them. "Determining the best way to help ELLs develop their writing skills while they were learning English was a puzzle," she writes, but in her latest Heinemann book, Writing Between Languages, she shares insight from a decade's work in schools populated with ELLs, where she "gradually learned-through observing them in classrooms, examining their writing samples, and listening to teachers and students-how ELLs developed as writers in English." Danling is currently Professor of Literacy Education at the University of Florida, and she is the author of two other books with Heinemann: An Island of English and "My Trouble Is My English."
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Table of Contents

The Story of the Savang Family

At the Edge of the New Culture: Tran; Paw; Cham; Sy

Tran: Reading; Writing

Paw: A Real Reader and Writer; Start with a Joy and End with a Loss; Study for Tests and Write for Grades

Cham: "Typically, Cham Would Fail"; "I Want to Be like an Eagle"; "I Want to Make a Book to Tell the Stories of My Past Life"

Sy: Reading-Discussion Writing; Free Writing; Journal Writing

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