An argument for multilingual higher education, The

linguistic inaccessibility of U.S. higher education and the inherent inequity of U.S. IEPs: An argument for multilingual higher education, The

Friedenberg, Joan E


Should a diploma from a U.S. university imply that the recipient received instruction only in English? If there is bilingual and multilingual education in the K-12 system, why not in higher education? While custom dictates higher education in only English, ithas significant, if rarely discussed drawbacks. This article critically examines the popular practice of requiring higher education students inthe United States to first demonstrate English proficiency before pursuing a degree and proposes abandoning this practice in favor of a model in which university professors employ sheltered techniques, translated portions of their lecture notes, and bilingual teaching assistants to impart their instruction. In addition, concurrent English for academic purposes (EAP) instruction, closely coordinated with the academic classes, is proposed. Such a model serves language minority and international students more equitably and efficiently and provides numerous benefits for U.S. universities as well.


The number of international students choosing to study in the United States has been declining. According to a recent survey by the Institute of International Education and National Association for Foreign Student Affairs (NAFSA), enrollment by Asian students in intensive English programs in the United States has been down sharply. But this decline is not, apparently, limited to Asian students. According to the international director of the College Board, “In the past, when the supply of students from one part of the world went down, there was always another region that opened up to provide more students. But now, I’m not sure there is anybody to fill in. The situation is different from anything we’ve seen in the past 20 years” (Desruisseaux, 1998; p. A48).

While economic crises in Asia can account for some of the decline in international student enrollments, several other factors are likely coming into play: the amount of violent crime involving guns that is associated with the United States; reduced spending on international recruitment by U.S. agencies; increased recruitment of international students by competing English-speaking countries, such as Australia, Britain, and Canada (Desruisseaux, 1998), and more recently, terrorist attacks, which are resulting in increased scrutiny of international students and a potential fear of traveling to the United States. At the same time, there are immigrants and other language-minority populations already in the United States who have neither financial, academic, nor linguistic access to higher education, resulting in underemployment, unemployment, and poverty. Indeed, according to the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) (1990), Hispanics in the United States are almost twice as likely as the majority White, English-speaking population to live in poverty, are considerably less likely to be employed in technical or professional jobs, and have the highest high school dropout rates of any major population group in the United States. In addition, NCLR states that Hispanics with limited English proficiency are more likely to drop out of high school. Indeed, the U.S. General Accounting Office (1994) reports a negative relationship between English proficiency and high school dropout, ranging from 9.4% for English-dominant Hispanics, to 24% for Spanish-dominant Hispanics, to 52% for Hispanics who speak little English. Although these statistics address high school populations, it seems clear that linguistic accessibility, whether it is at the primary, secondary, or tertiary level, makes a great difference in educational attainment and subsequent career opportunities for Hispanics and, logically, other language minority populations in the United States.

In many respects, U.S. higher education is actually less accessible to domestic language minority populations than to international students in that college requirements in the United States are different for each group. International students with an appropriate grade-point average are required only to pass the TOEFL, a standardized entrance exam designed for non-native speakers of English; however, language minority U.S. residents and citizens must take the same college entrance exams as native English-speaking Americans, making it nearly impossible for them to compete. Obviously, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, Miller Analogy Test, and Graduate Record Exam were not developed for non-native English speakers. Despite facing greater barriers to higher education than English-speaking Americans and even international students, Campbell (1987) demonstrated that Hispanics in the United States can actually benefit more from a college education than members of the majority White, English-speaking population, in that, with a four-year degree, Hispanics in the United States earn 25-37% more than Hispanics who have only completed high school, while completing a four-year degree only helps the majority White, English-speaking population earn 17.5% more. Additionally, Hispanic women with a four-year degree earn 25% more than majority White men without a college degree and earn a little more than majority White men with a college degree. And during the early 1980s, when unemployment was very high in the United States, unemployment for both Hispanics and majority Whites who had gone to college remained under 3%. This research demonstrates strongly that it is critically important to make higher education linguistically accessible to Hispanics and other language minority populations, particularly during economic downturns, and that higher education is the single best way to avoid Hispanic and minority-group poverty.

Perhaps low college enrollments or low retention by domestic language minority and international students will force higher education in the United States to take a fresh look at its “product” and consider alternatives to the IEP model, alternatives that demonstrate a true commitment to multiculturalism and what I call “diglossic” globalization. I propose a model that eliminates or significantly reduces dependence on Intensive English Programs (IEPs) and includes enrollment of international and domestic language minority students in credit-bearing academic courses in which the content instructors (i.e., university professors or lecturers) use sheltered instruction techniques along with translation (i.e., bilingual or multilingual instruction), while ESL teachers assist by providing concurrent English for academic purposes (EAP) courses related specifically to the credit-bearing courses. Before outlining the model, I will review literature relevant to it.

Current Options and Attitudes

Most international students who study English in EPs in the United States hope to take university classes and get a degree. Adamson (1993) presents several principles for helping people for whom English is a second language develop academic competence. Among them are that authentic text should be used; content should be studied in depth; there should be contact with native speakers; and that content should be appropriate and useful. In addition to these principles, I propose two additional ones: Students should be making direct progress toward their degrees (i.e., receiving credit), and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers should not be the only ones responsible for their academic success. In this way, the university makes a true commitment to the authenticity of all its courses, students will take ESL classes more seriously, and professors in academic disciplines will share responsibility for the success of students for whom English is a second language.

Although ESL experts in higher education might generally agree that helping ESL students get U.S. degrees (rather than mere language training) is most students’ ultimate goal, the literature suggests varied strategies to achieve that end. Adamson (1993) discusses several such strategies, the most popular of which is the IEP. In the IEP model, students take about 25 hours per week of intensive ESL instruction for about a year (if they enter the program with low English proficiency). They then enter an English-medium university after scoring suitably on the TOEFL or other standardized test. Sometimes English for specific purposes (ESP), EAP, or theme-based ESL is offered at advanced levels of an IEP, but generally no authentic academic text is used. There is no contact with native speakers and there is no direct progress toward a degree. The following generalizations about EP students can be made:

1. They receive no credit nor do they make progress toward their degrees.

2. They are isolated from regular university students and, therefore, do not have opportunities to meet Americans.

3. They are not studying in their academic areas of interest.

4. They mostly just want to pass the TOEFL and begin their degree programs.

5. They are mostly international students.

6. They take at least 25 hours per week of English classes.

7. They have little or no opportunity to use authentic materials from their disciplines.

8. They easily spend an entire year studying English in the IEP.

9. They spend large amounts of money learning English.

10. They study in programs that frequently struggle to have enough students.

11. They are prohibited or strongly discouraged from using their native language in class.

In addition, the EP Model makes the assumption that only ESL instructors are equipped and responsible for supporting the academic development of English language learners (ELLs) while other professors need only employ traditional methods for imparting academic material.

The limitations imposed by university IEPs reflect a larger system of higher education in the United States that maintains deeply rooted English-only attitudes, subscribes to mistaken beliefs that speakers of non-standard dialect simply speak bad English, and that non-English speakers are not qualified to pursue a college education in the United States, which consequently imposes language policies that effectively exclude large portions of our population from participation. These practices result in a higher education system that is elitist, inequitable, inaccessible, and inefficient. As inaccessible as higher education is to international students, as stated earlier, it is even less accessible to our own domestic language minority students. Unlike international students, U.S. language minority students cannot gain college entrance based on the TOEFL. U.S. language minority students must take the same college entrance tests as native English-speaking students, tests that have been neither designed nor “normed” for non-native speakers of English or dialect speakers. This suggests that college entrance requirements in the United States are based not on linguistic or educational factors, but on political and economic ones, discriminating between wealthy or sponsored international students and poor resident and citizen minorities. Few universities provide services to accommodate domestic language minority students; however, they do accommodate international students. In order to receive the 1-20 visa to get into the United States, international students have to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds in advance to cover their tuition, fees, and living expenses for many years. Given such students’ ability to pay, universities accommodate them with special foreign student advisors, conversation partner programs, host families, and, of course, IEPs. Domestic language minority students, on the other hand, are frequently poor, and few universities provide the support services necessary to make higher education accessible to them. For example, IEPs are often not financially accessible to domestic language minority students. Further, integrating such students through bilingual or multilingual programs, though an established practice in the K-12 system, has never been seriously considered in U. S. higher education.

The Politics and Practicality of Multilingual Higher Education

Not every language professional subscribes to this English-only, language-deficit approach, and many see the use of a learner’s first language (L1) as not only an instructional tool, but as a basic human right, regardless of whether students are domestic language minorities, domestic speakers of non-standard English, or visiting international students. Some researchers have gone as far as to raise concerns about the overall morality of a field (i.e., ESL or EFL) that promotes English around the entire globe, being concerned that this inevitably leads to linguistic and cultural genocide. Indeed, Ricento and Hornberger (1997) discuss how institutions such as universities help maintain tenacious English-only policies:

One need not subscribe to theories of cultural and linguistic hegemony to believe that attitudes towards languages and their speakers are deeply embedded in institutional structures and practices…. Institutions [such as] schools and universities, also play important roles as policymakers, arbiters, watchdogs, opinion leaders, gatekeepers, and most usually reproducers of the existing social reality… The preeminent status of English in the United States, Canada, England, New Zealand, and Australia is apparent because it is embedded in every aspect in virtually every important public and private institution. (p. 415)

Similarly, Wiley and Lukes (1997) discuss how dominant language policies are used by institutions to define social status and apply control:

The dominant ideologies and the language policies influenced by them tend to be used as instruments of control that result in the reproduction of unequal social boundaries among groups. (p. 516) Access to an elite language education is an essential component of social mobility. Thus, educational language policies such as college entrance requirements are significant gate keeping mechanisms for other social, economic, and political domains…. Schools stratify students based on their ability to use the standard [language] by assigning those who speak English as a second language or non-dominant varieties of English to remedial [e.g., IEP, my addition] educational tasks. (p. 527)

In her article, “The Politics of the ESL Classroom,” Auerbach (1995) points out that seemingly neutral ESL classes also serve as vehicles of power and dominance:

ESL teaching is often normally perceived of as a neutral transfer of skills, knowledge, or competencies by trained professionals, and language acquisition is seen as little more than a tool in service ofother goals [e.g., a university degree from the United States, my addition] to be used for whatever purposes the learner chooses, but generally leading to greater economic success. But although the dynamics of power and domination in classrooms may be invisible, they permeate the fabric of classroom life. (p. 9)

Auerbach argues that dominant (social) classes exercise power in two basic ways-through coercion and through consent-either by force or by convincing learners that it is in their best interest to do something. Consent is not necessarily the result of conscious choice, but rather unconscious acceptance of institutional practice, thereby legitimizing and further strengthening the existing power relations. In other words, IEPs and the TOEFL reflect the assumption that higher education in the United States must be only in English. Auerbach also claims that educators (in this case IEP instructors) serve either to perpetuate existing social relations or challenge them.

Although bilingual education programs have been in operation in U.S. public schools for over 30 years, translation is rarely seen as a possible strategy for imparting academic content to international or domestic language minority university students. Indeed, one reviewer of an abbreviated form of this article (for an opinion column of the TESOL Quarterly) stated, “What university professors would translate [TESOL Quarterly reviewer’s emphasis] their notes into different languages? This article is too far-fetched.” Needless to say, the article was rejected. Even the bilingual education literature generally limits itself to K-12 student populations. Perhaps attempting to promote bilingual education at the tertiary level is seen as unrealistic since it is difficult enough to defend bilingual education at the primary level to an uninformed and unsympathetic public (in the United States). But translation could save international university students a lot of time as they could integrate into the regular academic curriculum almost immediately and could pay for the translation services with some of the movies they would have spent on an IEP. In addition, multilingual higher education would make college more accessible to U.S. language minority populations.

Griffeath and Jewell (1997) contend that ELLs can successfully start college classes in the United States and study ESP classes, even at a beginning language level if certain conditions are present, and that requiring arbitrary scores on standardized tests of English proficiency before allowing them to begin academic study just delays their academic progress. Over 15 years ago, Edwards, Wesche, Krashen, Clement, and Kruidenier (1984) found in their Canadian studies that university students could successfully be immersed in a psychology class taught in second language when sheltered techniques are employed effectively.

Preece (1996) discusses strategies that content instructors implemented to make academic, credit-bearing courses comprehensible for ESL students. These strategies include various sheltering techniques (such as increasing the use of gestures; using comprehension checks; controlling syntax, idioms, and vocabulary; adjusting speech volume and speed; increasing visual aids); general academic skills instruction (such as lecture-listening, note-taking, reading strategies, and academic writing); and adapted academic materials to make them more comprehensible. However, Preece indicates that the single most effective coping strategy among the students was translation.

But not all ESL professionals acknowledge the importance of translation or any kind of support by content professors. Indeed, Ferris, and Tagg (1996) examined the aural and oral communication needs of EAP university students by surveying several hundred professors from various universities across a variety of academic disciplines. These professors’ ELLs consisted of exclusively international students (30%), exclusively domestic language minority students (27%), or a combination of both (43%). Although the article presents several useful findings and suggestions for EAP teachers (based on content professors’ perceptions of the oral skills needed by students to be successful in their classes), the point of view of the article assumes not only that English is the only possible medium of instruction in academic classes, but that only ESL or EAP teachers are equipped and responsible for helping international and language minority students achieve success in their content classes. This business-as-usual approach is especially perplexing given the authors’ assertion that, based on voluntary comments on their survey, “our respondents were, in general, interested and concerned about their ESL students and had strong opinions about their needs (p. 38)” and even voluntarily discussed special strategies they employed to make the content more comprehensible to students. But despite evidence that content professors were interested and apparently willing to take an active role in modifying their instruction for ELLs, the authors make no use of this in their conclusions and even ignore the role that ESL teachers can play in helping content professors become better equipped and responsible for their ELLs’ academic success, as evidenced by their conclusions:

To equip EAP students for the variety of challenges awaiting them, EAP instructors, materials developers, and teacher trainers need to be aware of what is really happening in university classes today. Information about, and descriptions of real world academic tasks, provided by those who actually assign and implement them, are an important source of this crucial knowledge. (p. 53 )

Although Auerbach does not address the issue of content instruction, she nevertheless contends that ESL teachers who refuse to allow any Li use in the classroom not only violate best-accepted practice from the research but also exert unnecessary power and dominance over students.

In her discussion of the paradox that English is both coveted as the language through which advances in science, technology, medicine, commerce, and politics are attained, yet also resented as the language of domination and exploitation, Tikoo (1996) also advocates strong LI use in bilingual education for Asian students and discusses ways to strike an appropriate balance between bringing English and the learners’ native languages into the learning environment.

Baker and Jones (1998) outline strategies used to increase bilingualism in higher education in Europe. Although their focus here is, perhaps, more on achieving bilingualism and less on academic (i.e., content area) competence, their strategies include “teaching part of a course through a foreign language, using foreign language textbooks to help teach a subject in the other tongue, and appointing foreign nationals to academic posts (p. 342).” Bilingual higher education also exists to some extent in other areas of the world, as shown in the Appendix.

Multilingual higher education makes a positive political step toward making higher education accessible to language minority populations in the United States as well as helping to advance “diglossic” globalization-that is, helping less developed parts of the world build needed capacities in areas such as science, medicine, technology, agriculture, and education, while at the same time diminishing the danger of such globalization resulting in language and culture shift (to only English). Not only is this politically desirable, multilingual higher education is actually feasible to implement.

While the research reviewed here suggests that English-only policies (such as TOEFL requirements) present unnecessary obstacles for non-native English speakers in higher education, that sheltering and translation can be effective in higher education, and that there are precedents for multilingual higher education in many parts of the world, this research, unfortunately, rarely goes beyond small isolated studies and rarely proposes significant changes system-wide. The model for multilingual higher education proposed here does.

Proposed Model

I propose a six-component model, based on an adaptation of the bilingual vocational training (BVT) Model, which meets Adamson’s principles of helping students achieve academic competence, accommodates my principles of allowing students to make direct progress towards their degrees and making other university professors equally responsible for their academic success, and potentially enhances the college or university environment and experience for everyone involved.

The BVT Model

BVT was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Education in 1976 as a way to provide limited English proficient (LEP) adults with the training needed to begin skilled jobs as quickly as possible. To do this, the program implemented a model that included vocational English as a second language (VESL) instruction taught by a trained ESL instructor and focusing specifically on the students’ vocational areas (e.g., automotive ESL, food services ESL, cosmetology ESL), bilingual vocational training (e.g., using bilingual or multilingual instruction and materials to impart vocational training), and coordination of both components so that each supports the other (e.g., assuring that VESL and vocational instruction are coordinated so that the VESL addresses vocabulary and grammar used in the vocational classes) (Bradley & Friedenberg, 1982). The model was later expanded, as described by Bradley and Friedenberg (1988) and Friedenberg (1995), to include targeted recruitment (e.g., providing promotional information in the potential trainees’ native languages and advertising in the ethnic mass media); diagnostic rather than exclusionary intake and assessment procedures (e.g., including testing of English proficiency, vocational interest in the L 1, and literacy in the L 1); counseling and support services that take the special needs of LEP individuals into account (e.g., referrals to immigration counseling and bilingual social and health services, bilingual and culturally sensitive personal and professional counseling); and job development and placement geared to the special needs of LEP individuals (e.g., foreseeing and counseling for employability problems resulting from cultural differences and preparing employers for LEP and culturally different employees). In addition, this later model changed the strictly bilingual vocational-instructional orientation to adapted vocational instruction, recognizing that English-speaking vocational instructors could also make valuable contributions to the success of their language minority vocational students by learning sheltered techniques and by learning how to facilitate and support bilingual and multilingual instruction in their classrooms.

Although all components are necessary, Friedenberg (1995) contends the most critical, yet most complicated to implement is adapted vocational instruction because of the potential for a variety of both languages and trade areas to be addressed. Friedenberg describes a number of possible approaches to meeting this challenge for both bilingual and multilingual situations. For example, for bilingual vocational instruction, programs could employ bilingual instructors, utilize bilingual teacher aides, purchase technical books in the field from other countries and bilingual technical and non-technical dictionaries, have bilingual individuals make bilingual materials by translating parts of textbooks (key terms, headings, summaries, and captions), and make audio and videotapes in the students’ L1.

The situation is more complicated in multilingual classrooms, and a choice must be made between offering strong L1 support in only a few trade areas for each language group (e.g., cosmetology and auto mechanics in Spanish, grounds keeping and nurse’s aid in Haitian Creole, and horticulture and bookkeeping in Mandarin) or more limited L1 support for all language groups across all trade areas. Limited L1 support usually consists of providing one bilingual aide for each language group who goes from class to class (i.e., supporting several different vocational areas) as needed to tutor small groups of students in their L1 and who translates some materials for the instructor into the students’ L1. The benefit of the first approach is that students receive the services of a bilingual aide who is devoted to that one trade area and actually knows something about it, while the drawback is that language minority students are limited in their choice of vocational area to study. In the second approach, students can choose any vocational area but receive only limited bilingual assistance from an aide who works a bit in each trade area and who cannot be consistently available.

Although no comprehensive assessment of the entire federally funded BVT effort was ever conducted, individual program evaluations indicate that when implemented correctly, students enrolled in BVT programs completed their vocational training as quickly as English-speaking students and enjoyed job placement rates of 90% or more (Friedenberg, 1995).

Adaptation for Higher Education

An adaptation of the BVT Model for higher education would include the same components with obvious modifications for the higher education setting, including targeted recruitment, appropriate assessment used to identify needed language support, academic instruction supported by sheltered techniques and translation, EAP instruction that is closely coordinated with the academic instruction, multilingual and multicultural counseling and support services, culturally and linguistically appropriate placement services, and careful coordination of the other components. A description of each component follows.


The first component involves targeting an institute of higher education’s (IHE’s) recruitment of international and domestic language minority students, The most critical aspect of targeted recruitment is using the native languages of prospective students by translating parts or all of promotional brochures and application forms into several languages, sending bilingual recruiters to ethnic communities and international recruitment fairs, and sending bilingual university representatives to participate in ethnic community and international radio and television talk shows to promote their institution’s multilingual services. In addition, brochures should include any services provided by the college or university that would be of particular interest to particular populations of students (e.g., vegetarian offerings in campus cafeterias, flexible library hours, faculty and staff knowledgeable about, and flexible toward various religious needs, university bookstores providing multicultural greeting cards and cards in other languages).

Language assessment

Assuming prospective students come with an acceptable GPA, it is still necessary to assess their language proficiency. However, instead of using language assessment test scores to exclude prospective students from entering the college or university (as instruments such as the TOEFL are currently used), assessment is used here to determine the support services needed, such as EAP instruction, sheltered academic content instruction, and translation.

Supported academic instruction

Supported academic instruction involves professors teaching primarily in English, but providing translated versions of their lecture notes and textbook supplements, and instructing through the use of sheltered techniques and bilingual teaching assistants (TAs). Similar to the issues raised earlier in the vocational education situation, a critical choice must be made about the most appropriate and realistic approach to multilingual education. Depending on the number of different language groups to be served (e.g., Spanish, Korean, Arabic, etc.), the number of program areas (engineering, business, sociology, etc.), and the financial resources available (e.g., from international students or their sponsors, public grants, the universities’ internal resources, etc.), schools will need to decide whether to provide comprehensive services to a select language group or program area or whether to provide limited services to several language groups in several program areas. For example, with the first option (comprehensive services to limited groups) an engineering program may provide a bilingual (Arabic-English) TA on a daily basis to tutor and provide small-group instruction, Arabic translation of professors’ entire lecture notes and exams, Arabic lexicons of course-related terms, and summaries of portions of texts translated into Arabic.

With the second option (providing limited services to several language groups in several academic areas), an IHE may only be able to provide bilingual TAs (for several languages) once every two weeks (because the TAs are supporting instruction in several different academic disciplines), translations of select portions of professor’s lecture notes, and translations of exams. Making the decision may evolve naturally. For example, a university in Miami may attract many students from Latin America, as well as local Latinos, and decide to develop strong Spanish-English bilingual services in many academic areas. A university in the Midwest may receive a grant from a Saudi sponsor to develop a comprehensive Arabic-English program in advanced technical careers only, while a university in the Detroit area may provide Arabic language services across several academic disciplines to accommodate the local Arab– American community. IHEs in Los Angeles may hire bilingual TAs in Vietnamese, Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog, Russian, and Korean to provide limited services across several academic areas.

In addition to facilitating translation, university professors would be expected to modify their English-medium instruction by using sheltered techniques. Some might question the appropriateness of using sheltered techniques in a university classroom with native English speakers present. Indeed, one reviewer of the abbreviated form of this paper for the TESOL Quarterly argued, “I wonder how many English speakers would be willing to take simplified content-based courses with controlled language, etc. If they were, in order to get high grades, this would pull up the grading curve and disadvantage ESL learners, who would then receive low marks on their transcript.” However, Schneider and Friedenberg (in press) demonstrated that although native English-speaking sociology majors and minors who were enrolled in a fairly advanced undergraduate class in sociological theory showed neither benefits nor disadvantages from sheltered techniques on an exam, they enjoyed the techniques and actually preferred them. Ironically, when a group of advanced IEP international students (obviously not sociology majors or minors) was taught the same material utilizing the sheltered techniques versus the non-sheltered techniques, not only did they score much better with the sheltered techniques, they actually outscored significantly the native English-speaking majors or minors in that subject area. So sheltering in higher education may at the worst prove innocuous to English speakers while helping international and language minority learners to access the academic material.

EAP instruction

English for academic purposes (EAP) is an offshoot of ESP, which is an offshoot of ESL. Unlike the kind of general ESL taught in many IEPs, ESP instruction is based on the specific needs of learners. When those learners are college or university students, English based on academic content (EAP) is necessary. Although some IEPs claim to offer EAP, frequently such instruction amounts to nothing more than only superficial exposure to a smattering of academic disciplines. While EAP instruction should be taught by trained ESL teachers (perhaps the former IEP instructors), it should involve sustained content in the students’ chosen disciplines and be closely coordinated with the content of the credit-bearing academic courses in which the students are concurrently enrolled. EAP instructors should base their courses on the authentic textbooks, other instructional materials, and lectures from a specific academic class. Effective EAP instruction involves close collaboration between academic and ESL instructors.

Counseling and support services

As mentioned earlier in this paper, colleges and universities often provide counseling and support services to visiting international students in the form of foreign student advisors who assist these students with immigration concerns (e.g., determining which visas allow for work permits, the minimum number of credit hours international students must take to avoid violating their visa provisions, and how to extend a soon-to-expire visa) and help them secure housing, host families, and conversation partners. Rarely do foreign student advisors communicate with international students in a language other than English. In addition, few colleges and universities provide such services to domestic language minority students who could also benefit from immigration advising (e.g., preparing for the citizenship exam, helping family members emigrate, reminding permanent residents to register with the INS each year), referral services (e.g., where to find bilingual medical, social service, and legal help in the community), and assistance with securing appropriate bilingual tutoring and mentoring.

Culturally and linguistically appropriate placement services College and university placement services help graduating students identify careers that match their interests and expertise, develop resumes and cover letters, enhance their job search and interviewing skills, and identify characteristics that employers seek. Placement staff should be skilled at identifying occupations as well as employers that would welcome bilingual applicants. In addition, placement staff should help bilingual students fashion their resumes to accommodate appropriately any foreign educational or professional experiences and highlight applicants’ bilingual abilities. They should also provide the kinds of cross-cultural counseling needed to help language minorities participate successfully in employment interviews.


In order for all the above components to function effectively, they must be coordinated closely. Coordination is needed for the multilingual recruitment efforts, the translation of academic materials, the hiring of appropriate counseling and placement staff, the in-service training of professors (to learn sheltered techniques and how to work with bilingual TAs), and the collaborative work of EAP and content instructors. Coordination should also involve an effective ongoing program evaluation so that the strengths and weaknesses of the multilingual higher education effort can be monitored and services amended, as needed.


As disappointing TOEFL, SAT, ACT, MAT, or GRE scores present barriers for international and domestic language minority college students and as enrollments by international students in U.S. universities fall, universities should take the opportunity to look anew at their “product.” Perhaps it is time to abandon the decades-old EEP format and look toward more global and equitable models. Providing concurrent EAP and supported academic instruction (to include multilingual translation and sheltered techniques) offers potential benefits to all: international students, international students’ sponsors, domestic language minority and non-minority students, ESL teachers, content professors, and college and university administrators. Allowing international and domestic language minority students to enter credit-bearing academic courses earlier (with supported content instruction and EAP) will make them happier and more motivated, I believe, thereby allowing universities to compete more effectively for international students with other universities that still require international and domestic language minority students to be marginalized for months or a year in IEPs. Additionally, it can increase international students’ abilities to teach their subject matter in their Li when they return home and perhaps slow down a global language shift to English in favor of diglossia. It is also a more equitable way to serve domestic language minority college students, opening for them more opportunities to higher education and helping to prevent further language shift (domestically) while supporting continuity and maintenance of threatened minority languages (see the placement of bilingual higher education in Fishman’s Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale, 1991).

In addition to providing a more equitable educational experience for international and language minority students, the model proposed here provides for more opportunity for multicultural growth for professors, who will learn exciting new instructional techniques and assume more responsibility for the success of ELLs, and native English-speaking students, who will have more opportunities to engage fellow students different from themselves. It provides for professional growth for ESL teachers whose new role will allow for interesting collaborative opportunities with content teachers as well as opportunities to promote more equitable policies and instructional practices. It takes the sole responsibility for success by international and domestic language minority students off ESL teachers and makes other university professors equally responsible. It will also likely increase enrollments, as international and domestic language minority students should complete their degree requirements faster and enjoy an institutional environment truly committed to multiculturalism and (“diglossic”) globalization. Finally, the benefits can actually be realized worldwide as U.S. universities could take a leadership role in assisting the world community to better develop its higher education (in its own languages), thereby reducing dependence by developing countries on English and English-speaking countries, reducing worldwide language shift to English, and potentially reducing “brain drain” to the United States and other English-speaking countries.

Although there are a handful of bilingual colleges in the United States, such as Navajo Community College, Hostos Community College, and Boricua College, these institutions have struggled to survive (Fishman, 1991). Although such efforts should be better supported, mainstream colleges and universities should do more to embrace bilingualism and multilingualism. Kean College in New Jersey has recently begun to encourage its departments to offer core courses for freshmen and sophomores in Spanish and presently offers sociology in Spanish (Howery, 1998). The University of Miami now offers an all-Spanish MBA program (Liu, 2000). Hopefully, these efforts will serve as only a beginning; English-medium universities throughout the United States and worldwide should open their doors-and academic classes-to speakers of other languages.


Adamson, H. D. (1993). Academic competence. Theory and classroom practice: Preparing ESL students for content courses. New York: Longman.

Auerbach, E. (1995). The politics of the ESL classroom: Issues in power and pedagogical choices. In Tollefson (Ed.), Power and inequality in language education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Baker, C., & Jones, S. (1998). Encyclopedia of bilingualism and bilingual education. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Bradley, C., & Friedenberg, J. (1982). Foundations and strategies for bilingual vocational education. Orlando, FL: HBJ/CAL.

Bradley, C., & Friedenberg, J. (1988). Teaching vocational education to LEP students. Bloomington, IL: Meridian Education Corporation.

Campbell, P., Basinger, K., Dauner, M., & Parks, M. (1987). Outcomes of vocational education for women, minorities, the handicapped, and the poor. Columbus, OH: The National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

Desruisseaux, P (1998). Competition intensifies for Asian students. The Chronicle for Higher Education, XLIV(38), p. A48.

Edwards, H., Wesche, M., Krashen, S., Clement, R., & Kruidenier, B. (1984). Second language acquisition through subject matter learning: A study of sheltered psychology classes at the University of Ottawa. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 41, 261-281.

Ferris, D., & Tagg, T (1996). Academic oral communication needs of EAP learners: What subject-matter instructors really require. TESOL Quarterly, 30(), 31-58.

Fishman, J. (1991). Reversing language shift. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Friedenberg, J. (1995). The vocational and language development of LEP adults. Columbus, OH: Center on Education and Training for Employment. Griffeath, K., & Jewell, J. (1997, February-March). Teaching ESP at low English proficiency levels. TESOL Matters, 7 (1).

Howery, C. (1998). Introducing students to sociology… in Spanish. American Sociological Association Footnotes, 26 (1), 4.

Liu, B. (2000, August 7). Miami University exploits Latin appeal. Financial Times, p. 7.

National Council of La Raza. (1990). The education of Hispanics: selected statistics. Washington, DC: Author.

Preece, R. (1996, December-January). Content teachers and CBI/ESP: Problems and implications. TESOL Matters, 6 (6).

Ricento, T., & Hornberger, N. (1996). Unpeeling the onion: Language planning and policy and the ELT professional. TESOL Quarterly, 30 (3),401-428.

Schneider, M., & J. Friedenberg. (in press). Sheltering suicide: A collaborative approach to sheltering complex content for native and nonnative English speakers in a university setting. In J. Crandall & D. Kaufinan (Eds.), Case studies in content-based instruction. Alexandria, VA:TESOL.

Tikoo, M. (1996). English in Asian bilingual education: From hatred to harmony. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 17(2-4), 225-240.

U.S. General Accounting Office. (1994). Hispanics’ schooling: Riskfactors for dropping out and barriers to resuming education (Report No. PEA-94-24). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Wiley, T., & Lukes, M. (1996). English-only and standard English ideologies in the U.S. TESOL Quarterly, 30 (3), 511- 536.

Joan E. Friedenberg

Southern Illinois University-Carbondale

Joan E. Friendenberg

Joan E. Friendenberg is Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Title VII Bilingual Training for all Teachers Program at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She can be reached at

Copyright National Association for Bilingual Education Summer 2002

Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved