Understanding the Impact of Language Differences on Classroom Behavior

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingCommissioned report


This brief discusses the challenge of learning English as a second language and the social interaction patterns these children exhibit, along with limited communication abilities, that are similar to those exhibited by children identified with specific language impairments or with speech impairments. It is not uncommon for many of these children to be labeled as having challenging behaviors or communication disorders, when in fact they are following a fairly typical developmental path in acquiring a second language. This brief uses a question and answer format to address the following issues related to working with preschool-aged children who are second language learners: (1) Why is understanding the impact of language so confusing?; (2) How can I tell if it is really a behavior problem?; (3) What behaviors can I expect from young English-language learners?; (4) What can I do?; (5) Who are the children who have participated in research on this topic?; (6) Where do I find more information on the topic of second-language acquisition?; and (7) What is the scientific basis for this practice?. Examples of how specific practices might be used and a one page summary handout for practitioners and families are included
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCenter on Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2002

Publication series

NameWhat Works Briefs


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