The education of young emergent bilingual children: An update and call for action

David B. Yaden, Mileidis Gort, Camille C. Martinez, Robert Rueda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we adopt the term emergent bilingual (EB) to more accurately index and designate those whose bilingualism is still emerging. In spite of a significant increase in recent asset-based national policy statements aimed at recognizing the language diversity of young children, much of the language research on emergent bilinguals still emanates from a deficit perspective. Nonetheless, we advance the hypothesis that the reasons for lower performance are less likely to be due to learner-based deficits and more likely to be due to policy, programmatic, and instructional factors. We also suggest that a reconceptualizing of traditional research categories is needed since these categories are socially constructed and descriptive, not theoretical or explanatory of language learning. Similarly, as scholars have identified a “special education symbolism” that is evoked about individuals with various “dis/ability” labels that marginalize them, we suspect there is also an emergent bilingual symbolism or mindset that is evoked about young multi-language learners in schools or research settings, creating an overall negative ideology about their performance outcomes. Finally, we advocate for a “contrapuntal” theoretical approach for studying young emergent bilinguals in hopes of generating improved research designs that result in deeper insights into children’s language learning abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on the Education of Young Children
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780429810244
ISBN (Print)9781138336834
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The education of young emergent bilingual children: An update and call for action'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this