Linda Harklau has received the 1995 Distinguished Research Award from the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc., a professional organization representing 20,000 members worldwide. The award carries a $1,000 prize.
Harklau, an assistant professor of education at the University of Rochester's Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development, received the award for a study which looked at how language-minority students at a Northern California high school performed over three and one half years. Harklau monitored their progress both in English classes for non- native speakers, as well as in the rest of their courses, where these non-native speakers were competing with native speakers. Her study appeared in TESOL Quarterly in Summer 1994.
Harklau's study was unusual in several ways: it explored language issues for non-native speakers in high school, a neglected area of research; it examined them in more depth than other studies had attempted, and it covered a span of several years.
Her findings? Schools need to work harder at integrating language instruction for immigrant students into the full curriculum. Most of the learning that students do takes place in "mainstream" classes like history, math, or science. Yet teachers of those subjects don't have the special training to be effective in helping language-minority students improve their English, Harklau found.