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Everyone has the right to understand: Teaching legal rights to ESL students

Published on: Feb 15, 2021

teach legal
Image credit: create jobs 51/Shutterstock

In recent years, English as a second language (ESL) educators have developed a variety of online resources for addressing legal issues. The problem is that the authors’ understanding of laws and police procedures varies greatly, and so does their familiarity with relevant research, the breadth of topical coverage, and the quality of police‐themed units, discussion questions, and lesson plans. The aim of this article is to offer a research‐based approach to the integration of legal topics in ESL curricula. This discussion draws on the authors’ collective experience with public advocacy (Communication of Rights Group, 2015), research on the Miranda rights (Pavlenko, 2008; Pavlenko, Hepford, & Jarvis, 2019), and teaching the Miranda rights and other legal topics to diverse ESL populations, ranging from international college students to middle school pupils.

TESOL Journal