The Somali and secondary school choice





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The three most common learning environments for secondary ESL programs are bilingual instruction, mainstreaming, and sheltered, content-based instruction. This paper looks more closely at one sheltered, content-based instruction school where the majority of students served are Somali. Students, graduates, and parents of students in the school were interviewed to answer the question: What educational and social factors play into students' and parents' choice of a content-based, sheltered English program for high school students rather than a mainstream environment where ESL students are placed in classes along with the native-speaking population for some or all of the day? Interviewees chosen had some experience in the mainstream environment before transferring to the sheltered environment. The results of the study suggest that factors such as a comfortable classroom climate, ease and convenience, and the ability to maintain cultural and religious practices influence the choice of a content-based, sheltered school.

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