Welsh for beginners – 1

Learning Welsh can be easy and fun so I thought I would have a  go.

There is infact two different dialogues in Wales the North and South have slight variations of similar words.

Lets start with just being able to say Hello.  It may seem simple but there are quite a few different phrases you can use for the same thing.

Helo    –   best used when talking to friends

Bore Da    – to say good morning

prynhawn da   – to say good afternoon

Noswaith dda    – to say good evening

Nos Da    – to say good night

Have a go.

Character #268: 病

Chinese character for ill

來學正體字 | Learn Traditional Chinese Characters

The character 病[ㄅㄧㄥˋ] means ill. Here is the animation and pronunciation. Here are the individual strokes for writing the character. Here is the evolution of 病. Here is the definition in Taiwanese Mandarin.

病[ㄅㄧㄥˋ]情[ㄑㄧㄥˊ] – patient’s condition
病[ㄅㄧㄥˋ]毒[ㄉㄨˊ] – virus

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A Latina’s official translation of the U.S. national anthem, rediscovered decades later

really interesting

NBC Latino

On Saturday at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., the Latino chorus Cantigas will proudly perform a very special rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.  As part of the museum’s new exhibit  “Not Lost in Translation: The Life of Clotilde Arias,” the group will sing the official Spanish translation of the national anthem, written in 1945 by Peruvian-American Clotilde Arias.

At the time, the U.S. State Department was trying to foster  good relations with Latin America through arts and culture.  Arias was a Latina immigrant composer who wrote jingles and she entered and won the Music Educators National Conference contest to translate the national anthem.  Almost 70 years later, people will be able to listen to their national anthem — in Spanish.

“It’s huge for us, because it is our mission to bridge communities through music,” says Marisa Arbona-Ruiz, who edits the Cantigas blog and…

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Ofsted | Good practice resource – Outstanding achievement for pupils learning English as an additional language: Greet Primary School

Pupils learning English as an additional language do exceptionally well at Greet Primary School because the outstanding teaching they receive throughout the school is complemented by high-quality support and a language-rich curriculum. As a result, pupils develop highly advanced writing skills.

Well I wont say I told you so because in fact I am relieved. I have always advocated the use of the first language to gain a second language particularly where there are new arrivals in schools, but my peers and supposedly betters constantly said “no teach them English the ESOL way, as it’s the only way”. This has led to some levelling criticism that we don’t know what we are doing as they have always done it this way. It always seemed pointless to me to take a learner (any learner) and treat them as though they know nothing, when in reality what they don’t know is the correct word in the common language of the area. To me we just need to bridge the gap.

Having children in my class that needed to know how to saw wood safely, or answer an English question about the class reader or poetry, it seemed ridiculous to start teaching them words similar to the learn Spanish CD’s.  What my learners needed to succeed was contextual focus academic word transference that took their prior learning, no matter how young or old they were and use this to close the gap, until they caught up, because catch up they do and achieved university places.

So it is great to see this story about a school in Birmingham who have helped turn the tide by embracing bilingualism and achieving an excellent rating in their recent OFSTED visit.

To quote OFSTED from their glossy brochure:

‘Bilingualism (at Greet Primary) is viewed as a huge asset and we value and promote the importance of pupils’ home languages.’
One of the strategies teaching assistants employ is pre-tutoring pupils in
their home language before the start of a lesson so that pupils will know what
is expected of them when the activity is introduced. Buddies who speak the same
home language are attached to new arrivals. A recent new arrival says: ‘It was
great having people who could speak Urdu to me as I couldn’t speak English at
first.’

Well Done to all within the school and I hope to bring even more news of success as the blog grows.

To see the whole report go to

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/good-practice-resource-outstanding-achievement-for-pupils-learning-english-additional-language-greet

Pupils learning English as an additional language do exceptionally well at Greet Primary School because the outstanding teaching they receive throughout the school is complemented by high-quality support and a language-rich curriculum. As a result, pupils develop highly advanced writing skills.

Unless a child understands what’s going on in the classroom, they won’t engage, they won’t attend, and they won’t learn anything.

Interesting news from Australia via Crikeys blog. it discusses the report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs inquiry into language learning in indigenous communities, which of course is really interesting to me.

No English means no future.

We at Fully (sic) completely agree with this opinion: without access to the standard national language, an individual, or more accurately, an entire community of people, will have no prospects beyond the cultural and linguistic borders of their community. The question is how best to ensure that these children learn English. As the report clearly states time and time again, bilingual education, i.e., teaching children for the first few years of primary school in their first language before gradually transitioning into the target language, in this case English, is the proven most effective way to do this.

To see the original http://blogs.crikey.com.au/fullysic/2012/09/18/first-language-education-is-a-matter-of-common-sense/

This is quite a popular story here is another link to a news story  a Report by India Education bureau; Melbourne: A group of indigenous
language researchers from the University of Melbourne is calling on the Federal
Government to implement a proposal to introduce bilingual teaching programs in
some schoolshttp://www.indiaeducationdiary.in/showEE.asp?newsid=15601 “Without a bilingual program, children are being taught in a language they are
not familiar with. This means they often don’t understand what is going on, and
then don’t engage,” she said. This is all too familiar in too many classrooms.

or read further…

As Greg Dickson reported, the report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs inquiry into language learning in indigenous communities, titled Our Land Our Languages, was tabled in parliament yesterday. Education was of course, a central theme of the inquiry and is a significant part of the resulting report.

Of the eight terms of reference of the inquiry, three relate to education. They are:

  • The potential benefits of including Indigenous languages in early education
  • Measures to improve education outcomes in those Indigenous communities where English is a second Language
  • The educational and vocational benefits of ensuring English language competency amongst Indigenous communities

The areas that the committee covered included attendance rates in remote schools, the lack of trained indigenous teachers and the inadequate training of non-indigenous teachers given the context, the lack of language testing to establish just what language a child speaks when entering the school system, NAPLAN and its inherent problems for non-English speaking students, and perhaps most importantly, how best to achieve competency in Standard Australian English (SAE). Bilingual education, as you might expect, features heavily in the submissions, the hearings and the report.

Bilingual education is clearly a hotly debated topic and the proponents and opponents are quite categorically divided. Proponents claiming that bilingual education is beneficial to both first language and target language, while opponents claim that teaching children using their first language is deleterious to the acquisition of the target language and that the best way to ensure that all children learn English is to immerse them in English-language classrooms. One commentator, who shall remain nameless, exemplified this position quite concisely yesterday, even before the report was released:

Two problems with [introducing bilingual education], both likely to cripple the future of the children.

First, finding teachers able to teach in indigenous languages will be fearsomely difficult, and likely to lead to language proficiency trumping any real aptitude to teach.

Second, Aboriginal students out bush must learn to speak English fluently if they are to escape their welfare ghettos and find work elsewhere. No other skill is as important to their future. Language immersion at school is critical to that.

The committee found heavily in favour of the proponents of bilingual education as the substantial evidence submitted clearly shows that rather than being deleterious, the use of the child’s first language in early childhood education had widespread benefits. Attendance rates increase when the child’s first language is used in class, children engage in the class for more sustained periods when they can understand what is being said by the teachers, and above all, competence in both languages is increased:

Incorporating Indigenous languages into the education system leads to an improvement in both Standard Australian English and Indigenous languages and can have many cultural, health and wellbeing advantages. (Section 4.158)

The commentator quoted above mentions language immersion at school as the best way to ensure that children learn English. However this is not entirely accurate. Immersion is known to be the best method for learning a language, but immersion requires to leaner to be completely surrounded by speakers of the target language, hence ‘immersion’. One monolingual English teacher in a classroom with thirty or more children speaking a different language is not immersion – not for the children anyway; it would actually be more accurate to describe it as immersion for the teacher. Bilingual, or two-way education, is the tried and tested effective means of teaching children in communities where English is not commonly heard, and ensuring that they learn the standard language.

Recommendation 14 therefore calls for the provision of adequately resourced bilingual education programs in areas where the child’s first language is an indigenous language, whether that language is a traditional language such as Warlpiri or Murrinh Patha, or a contact language such as Kriol, Gurindji Kriol or Light Warlpiri.

A corollary issue is of course the lack of indigenous teachers, and the almost complete lack of adequate training for all teachers in dealing with English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D). This fact is often cited by the opponents of bilingual education – see above – as a key factor against its provision.

The committee agreed that bilingual education would likely fail unless this shortfall was addressed, and so recommends the development of a national framework of flexible and accessible training for Indigenous people to gain limited authority qualifications to teach, and incentives for them to do so (recommendations 16 and 17) and also, that English as an additional language/dialect becomes a compulsory component for all teaching degrees, as well as retrospectively as professional development for all teachers currently working in indigenous communities (recommendations 21 and 22).

Language testing is another crucial area that usually receives little attention. It won’t matter how well-provisioned an education system is, if the school doesn’t know what language a child speaks upon entering the education system, they will not succeed. Often, children who speak a contact language such as Kriol, are often mistaken by teachers and schools as speaking a poor form of English. The committee recommends mandatory first language assessment for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children entering the school system (recommendation 13). For most communities, I would add, most children would speak a similar language/dialect, with only a few minority cases of individuals whose family have moved, for instance.

Another significant section of the Our Land, Our Language report deals with NAPLAN. Of course, national standardised tests in Australia are conducted in English. This is obviously problematic in contexts where the children who undergo the tests do not speak or understand this language, and the test therefore becomes primarily a test in English literacy. This means that the knowledge and skills the students do have, albeit in languages other than English, are invisible to the tests. The result is that otherwise intelligent children are painted as linguistically deficient, and we see statistics such as the following (for the benefit of the reader I have inserted crucial caveats to aid the correct interpretation of the figures in square brackets):

Across Australia in 2004, 83% of Aboriginal students and 93% of students overall achieved the [English] literacy benchmark for year 3.

But in the Northern Territory, only 20% of Aboriginal students achieved the benchmark [for Standard Australian English]. Less than 30% of children tested for [English] literacy in Years 3, 5 and 7 were able to read or write [English] properly leaving them with [English] numeracy and [English] literacy skills of five-year old [Standard Australian English speakers] when they leave school.

NAPLAN testing for these children is not only pointless, but as the committee found it can also be damaging to these students and can lead to disengagement in education:

In addition to being misleading, in painting a negative portrait of learners, assessments that fail to take account of these issues impact negatively on learners’ sense of worth and ongoing engagement with formal education.

ACTA, submission 72, p. 17.

There is however, a strikingly simple way that will go some way towards fixing this. It is something that experts in the field have been saying for some years, and now it’s also the view of the parliamentary committee: the provision of alternative NAPLAN testing for students learning English as an Additional Language or Dialect (recommendation 15). In concert with a supported and well-resourced bilingual education system in the children’s first language, this would mean more accurate representation of the children’s educational development, without it being clouded by difficulties of translation.

Opponents of teaching children in their first language, at least for the first few years of primary school, often argue that:

No English means no future.

We at Fully (sic) completely agree with this opinion: without access to the standard national language, an individual, or more accurately, an entire community of people, will have no prospects beyond the cultural and linguistic borders of their community. The question is how best to ensure that these children learn English. As the report clearly states time and time again, bilingual education, i.e., teaching children for the first few years of primary school in their first language before gradually transitioning into the target language, in this case English, is the proven most effective way to do this.

It isn’t rocket science; it’s just common sense. Unless a child understands what’s going on in the classroom, they won’t engage, they won’t attend, and they won’t learn anything.

As of this morning, The Australian is reporting that both major parties have expressed their acceptance of the report’s findings and support for the recommendations, at least in principle. We ) welcome this, but urge the various governments to immediately enact these 30 recommendations, and allow the system time to function properly, and we as a nation will eventually begin to reap the multifarious benefits of an education system that is accessible to all, and does not discriminate against entire communities whose first language is not English.

I like this because there is some good sound information to consider when discussing children and bilingualism.

on raising bilingual children

Whether you are an expat family considering a new local language for your children, or a family dealing with multiple languages, the concern about amount of language is the same.
How much of a language, over what time frame, is enough for bilingualism to be successful? Or at the least, how much is enough to make it worthwhile for the parents and the children? There are three factors you need to consider when making the decision about what is “enough”.

The first is the age of the child. Generally speaking, the younger the child, the less you need to worry about “enough”. If you are considering putting your English-speaking 1-year old in a Dutch creche three times a week, for one year, that’s fine. They probably won’t gain enough Dutch to go on to be a Dutch speaker, but it won’t harm them, or their development in English, in any…

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Character #266: 受

Chinese character to receive or accept.

來學正體字 | Learn Traditional Chinese Characters

The character 受[ㄕㄡˋ] means to receive or to accept. Here is the animation and pronunciation. Here are the individual strokes for writing the character. Here is the evolution of the character 受.

受[ㄕㄡˋ]傷[ㄕㄤ] – injured
受[ㄕㄡˋ]歡[ㄏㄨㄢ]迎[ㄧㄥˊ] – to be well received

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Geddes Elementary: Dual Language Early On Reaps Benefits Later

I thought I had posted this last week but the letter gremlins seem to have taken it away into space.

“It’s important for me, because my children are from here. I’m from Mexico, and I want them to know their origins,” said Ana Lepe, speaking in Spanish. The 40-year-old mother of three has sent all of her children to Geddes because she also believes being bilingual will help them get better jobs in the future.

I liked this story because this school is obviously one where bilingualism is really treasured and supported by all within the community. Once again the question of jobs when the children reach school-leaving age are a focus, but sadly this is often forgotten by the policy makers.

What is useful for teachers is If you go through the links there is also a video showing how some of this is achieved.

“There’s a lot of research now that shows that dual-immersion programs/bilingual programs are teaching kids to read better,” she added.

One reason the dual-language program works at Geddes is because it’s one part of a strong academic structure, school officials say. Castro is obsessed with data: Teachers give assessments every two weeks in math and reading to see how their students are progressing and where they might need help.

As bi-literacy starts to become popular and general literacy is a focus in both USA and UK schools there are some lessons that can be definitely learnt from this school. Especially those wishing to become strong free bilingual schools.

The initial news story is interesting but if you go into the school website there are some amazing facts about their achievements.

http://www.educationnation.com/casestudies/geddes/index.html

10 % OF PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS ARE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS.

The Challenge: For English Language Learners, mastering the language is even more difficult if they struggle with their first language.
The Solution: At Geddes Elementary School in Baldwin Park, Calif., young students in the dual-language program are taught in Spanish 90% of the day until third grade. This approach has led to significant achievement gains, with 60% of third-graders scoring proficient or above in English language arts in 2011.

RESULTS: TEST SCORES

Geddes Elementary School’s API score (California’s system for rating schools based on reading and math test scores) rose from 678 to 838 over four years, exceeding the state target of 800. Proficiency on English language arts tests doubled to 62 percent, and the percentage of the school’s students who are proficient in math rose by half, to 74 percent.

RESULTS: ATTENDANCE & DISCIPLINE

In the 2005-06 school year, 391 students (out of 901) had unexcused absences or were tardy at least three times at Geddes. The truancy rate was 43 percent. In 2010-11, by contrast, 192 students (out of 703) had unexcused absences or were frequently tardy. The truancy rate fell to 27 percent.

RESULTS: PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT

Parental participation went from only a handful of parents regularly visiting the school to between 40 and 50 attending monthly meetings with the principal.

The original news story can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48897100/ns/today-education_nation/

The school information can be found here:

http://www.educationnation.com/casestudies/geddes/index.html