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Language and cultural barriers put immigrant students at risk for educational failure. Teachers must be prepared to buy essay reach these students despite communication problems or risk losing them when they drop out of school due to feelings of helplessness and frustration. Vocational educators--as workforce preparation professionals-are especially important to the equation.

In 2002 Platt completed an extensive research project, funded through the National Center for Research in Vocational Education, on how English as a Second Language teachers and vocational teachers throughout the nation were jointly contributing to the education of LEP students. After observing six sites for nearly a year, she determined that the most successful vocational LEP students were participating in programs in which there was true collaboration between ESL and vocational teachers.

"The most effective place I saw was where an ESL teacher had given the vocational teacher some staff development" and vice versa, Platt says. "The welding teacher teaches the ESL teacher something about welding, for example. And the ESL teacher was actually teaching the vocational teacher about linguistics, language use pay for essay and culture ... There was a real exchange of knowledge." So instead of despairing over their mounting teaching challenges, vocational educators might take the opportunity to become better acquainted with the ESL staff, either at their own school or at the comprehensive high schools they serve. The contextual, hands-on learning methods that vocational educators employ may very well be the universal language all teachers need to engage ESL students.

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