Benefits of Bilingualism

Brilliant post that explains some of the benefits of bilingualism. They include;

1. A conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. Bilingual individuals can pick out a speaker’s voice easier

3. Develop creativity because learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. Patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

and finally

5. Make smarter decisions as people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language 

Really interesting thanks to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-roitman/why-it-makes-more-sense-t_b_3435076.html for this story.

Recent research suggests that learning a new language, at any age, not only will enhance your next vacation or better prepare you for an upcoming business trip, it can also make you a better listener, boost your creativity, spur brain growth, and for some people, even delay Alzheimer’s.

Each of these benefits stems from the various ways that language learning improves your brain’s ability to focus. Learning a language physically changes your mind, ultimately making you a stronger, more creative thinker. Here are five reasons why you should start learning a foreign language right now:

1. To improve your communication skills. The key here is consciousness. While most of us rarely think about the grammatical structures of our native tongue, learning a second language brings them into stark relief. When attempting to write or speak in a second language, you suddenly have to focus more on the order of words, your verb tenses, and parts of speech. And in recognizing how sentences are constructed in a second language, you can become more aware of how they’re arranged in your first language. That more conscious approach can help you clean up your writing and your speech and help you communicate more clearly.

2. To become a better listener. A study at Northwestern University showed that bilingual individuals could better pick out a speaker’s voice amidst distracting noises. This superior “attention, inhibition, and encoding of sound,” as the researchers put it, can help you better focus on what a client, boss, or employee is saying. The ability to listen closely is a valuable skill that can translate into a real dollar value. Look at IKEA, which attributes its record 2012 revenues and growing appeal in part to its ability to listen to customers and then respond accordingly.

3. To boost your creativity. Every time you speak a second language is an exercise in creativity. While words in your native language might string themselves together naturally, requiring little effort on your part, constructing sentences and meaning in a second language often requires more conscious thought. A study published last year found that learning a foreign language enhanced people’s fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility, the four scales measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Researchers concluded that learning a second language improved speakers’ planning, cognitive flexibility, and working memory, three pillars on which creativity is built.

4. To sharpen your mind. Learning a second language can beef up your brain’s executive control center — the hub that helps manage your cognitive processes. A second language offers a strong exercise regimen for the executive control center, ultimately making it more efficient. Bilingualism can keep this center strong even as you age. In a study of 24 million dementia patients worldwide, many of whom also had Alzheimer’s, researchers found that the patients who spoke more than one language had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years after their monolingual counterparts.

5. To make smarter decisions. A study completed last year showed that people thinking in a foreign language were more likely to consider a question more slowly and analytically than in their native language. It seems that thinking in your native tongue is often associated with breezy, emotional decision-making that reveals natural biases. But when considering the same problem in a non-native tongue, subjects in the study demonstrated “enhanced deliberation” based more on cold hard logic. So the next time you have to make a big decision, you might get a better outcome if you consider it in a language other than your own.

As a language learner, you’ll not only become a more conscious thinker and listener who can communicate clearly and think creatively, but you’ll also gain the most significant benefit of multilingualism: a broader, more global perspective. Each of the five benefits outlined above show that learning another language really does reshape the way we think, helping us better empathize and communicate with customers, partners, and employees by adopting, through language, a new way to see the world.

Lithuanian Alphabet

I just came across this Lithuanian ABC which I was saving in my files…not much use there… not sure where it came from but it may be useful as many Lithuanians are now arriving in European and American countries.

The alphabet has 32 letters made up of 12 vowels and 20 consonants – no wonder the children get confused. I just manage the five vowels in English!

The AlphabetAa Ąą Bb Cc Čč Dd Ee Ęę Ėė Ff Gg Hh Ii Įį Yy Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Rr Ss Šš Tt Uu Ųų Ūū Vv Zz Žž

Balsės (Vowels) 12 vowels
Aa Ąą Ee Ęę Ėė Ii Įį Yy Oo Uu Ųų Ūū

Priebalsės (Consonants) 20 consonants
Bb Cc Čč Dd Ff Gg Hh Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Pp Rr Ss Šš Tt Vv Zz Žž

Aa – agurkas
Ąą – ąsotis
Bb – baltas
Cc- cukrus
Čč – čiuožikla
Dd – dangus
Ee – erelis
Ęę – ęsame
Ėė – ėriukas, eglė
Ff – fėja, futbolas
Gg – gintaras
Hh – herbas
Ii – Inkaras
Įį – įdomus
Yy – yla
Jj – juokas
Kk – katinas
Ll – liūtas
Mm – mama
Nn – namas
Oo – oras
Pp – pagalba
Rr – ranka
Ss – saulė
Šš – širdis
Tt – teta
Uu – ugnis
Ųų – metų
Ūū – ūsai
Vv – vaikas
Zz – zebra
Žž – žolė

Children in Wales are making progress in developing their Welsh Language skills

A report out today says that at Foundation stage the children in Wales are acquiring Welsh language skills but the focus now needs to be on improving reading and writing skills.

The report says that

 In the best schools, teachers are highly skilled, passionate and plan fun and stimulating activities that engage and excite the children, but in a minority of schools and settings staff are not devoting enough direct teaching time to developing the Welsh language and there are gaps in practitioners’ knowledge and skills that are inhibiting the children’s learning and development.

This is a difficult one if the teacher’s do not speak Welsh fluently then the school will be unable to move further forward without either employing more natural Welsh speakers or up skilling the teachers level of Welsh knowledge. This leads me to wonder about EAL teaching how often do we as teachers/inspectors/observers assume the support assistant has the skill set but they also need up skilling not only in English but in their home language as well? ….  Just as valid is the next question that follows should we ensure we are up skilling these practitioners to support our children to get the best education?     Just an observation open for your ideas and comments.

For the full report see http://www.estyn.gov.uk/english/news/news/children-in-wales-are-making-progress-in-developing-their-welsh-language-skills-in-the-foundation-phase/ or the whole piece below.

Children in Wales are making progress in acquiring Welsh language skills, but more needs to be done to continue the upward trend in their reading and writing skills, according to Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales.
In a report published today, Welsh Language Development in the Foundation Phase, the inspectorate found that in the majority of English-medium schools most children are making good progress in speaking and listening to Welsh in the Foundation Phase, but their reading and writing skills are less well developed.
Ann Keane, the inspectorate’s Chief Inspector said,

“Welsh Language is one of the seven Areas of Learning in the Foundation Phase Framework for Children’s Learning.
During the last two years, we have seen progress being made in Welsh Language Development in the majority of schools and settings. Children are enjoying learning the language of Wales in innovative and fun ways.
In the best schools, teachers are highly skilled, passionate and plan fun and stimulating activities that engage and excite the children, but in a minority of schools and settings staff are not devoting enough direct teaching time to developing the Welsh language and there are gaps in practitioners’ knowledge and skills that are inhibiting the children’s learning and development.”

The inspectorate also found that children’s progress in Welsh Language Development is a concern in over a third of English-medium non-maintained settings. In these settings, children lack confidence in using Welsh outside short whole-group sessions such as registration periods or singing sessions and they do not use the Welsh language in their play or learning without prompts from adults.
Ann Keane continues,

“Schools and settings need to review, evaluate and plan engaging and effective ways for children to speak, read and write Welsh across all areas of learning.
In the best schools, teachers use real life experiences for children to use their Welsh language skills such as making shopping lists or writing party invitations. In these instances, children are highly engaged and are making good progress in writing Welsh.”

The inspectorate outlines a number of recommendations for schools and settings, local authorities and the Welsh Government, to address the issues highlighted within the report.
For example, schools and settings should evaluate planning to make sure that there are enough opportunities for children to use the Welsh language in other areas of learning and outdoor activities and monitor and evaluate how well children are doing in developing their Welsh language skills. In addition, local authorities need to be providing better access to Welsh Language support and training for practitioners as well as sharing good practice.
Ann Keane concludes,

“Every child in Wales has the right to access the best quality Welsh Language education. This report provides a number of best practice case studies illustrating how schools have successfully developed children’s skills in Welsh. I would encourage all practitioners to read this report and use the case studies to assess their own practice and develop new ways of improving the provision of Welsh Language Development.”

Different languages force the brain to perceive reality and describe it in different manners and having a common language erases borders.

Growing up in Wales, speaking Welsh sometimes in school reading bilingual signs for what seems to be forever is what reminds me of my childhood. There was no fear just acceptance that that was the way it was. Luckily at this point I didn’t know about the Welsh not and was horrified when I learnt of it during my late teenage years and remember not understanding why we went through that process in our history.

This news item interested me because the languages that are bilingual are not commonly put together today and also in many ways it mirrors some of the facts and experiences of my childhood where Welsh and English were part of daily life. In my experience some people knew only Welsh, some only English and others were on a path between the two.

Here is the story.

Languages have always fascinated me.  From an early age I realized that different groups of people spoke different languages–and the words they used provided a window into unique worldviews.

This was because I grew up in a bilingual community in Western Kansas.  To visit Hays, Kansas, today, a person might not realize, but in the first half of the twentieth century, a majority of the population did not speak English as a native language, but rather German.  The German speakers were descendants of as group called the Volga Germans, Bavarians who had immigrated to Russia for nearly a century, and then immigrated to the Great Plains of the United States.

My family owned a lumber yard and hardware store.  All of our store clerks were bilingual in German, since most of the farmers only spoke German, and many of the contractors preferred German for their daily needs.  Although my family was also of Germanic origin — we came from Switzerland in the mid-nineteenth century — we had abandoned our language nearly a century earlier.  My father had to make do with what he called “kitchen German.”

My best childhood friend came from a German-speaking family.  Although his parents were fully bilingual, his grandparents much preferred German.  There were kids in my class who spoke a very heavily German accented English, even though they were third generation Americans. In spite of being surrounded by German, it just never found its way into the language center of my brain, except for a few stock phrases, and (sadly) swear words.

As a result of a quirk of fate, my father had begun travelling in Mexico when he was in college, in the late 1930s.  My parents honeymooned in Mexico, and in the early 1950s we began to vacation in Mexico every year at Christmastime.  As a result, from a very young age, I was also introduced to Spanish, and being a small child immersed in the language, I began to pick it up, in a manner that never happened with German for me.

Growing up in a multilingual environment was a gift to me, and certainly affected how I view the world. So it felt natural to concentrate on language during my university studies. I served as an assistant instructor of Spanish and went on to pick up Nahuatl (the Aztec language) as I studied early colonial Latin America earning my doctorate. It was an interesting challenge to learn a complex language like Nahuatl as an adult, compared to how seemingly simple it had been to pick up Spanish when I was a boy.

Growing up in a multilingual environment is very beneficial for the intellectual development of a child.  Folks used to think that if a child grew up in a multilingual home, the child would suffer from never achieving true fluency in either language, or perhaps confusing one language for the other.  Modern research has proven just the opposite.  Children keep track of languages very efficiently.  Rather than diminishing their language skills, it enhances them.  This might be because different languages force the brain to perceive reality and describe it in different manners.  This confirms the old saw: “The brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised.”

My wife and I saw this first-hand.  Our older son was raised in a bilingual environment, learning both Spanish and English from infancy.  When he was a toddler, we had great difficulty when he spoke to us in Spanish, because neither of us had learned Spanish baby talk.  Folks around us had to interpret for us.  As a Spanish teacher myself, it was very exciting to hear our son make exactly the same grammatical errors that his little friends did; errors which a native English speaker would not usually commit when learning Spanish, but perfectly in line with language development in Spanish. His Spanish skills have gone on to serve him very well in adulthood..

The study of foreign languages is simply the gift that keeps on giving.  It provides a person with multiple perspectives from which to view the world.  It actually strengthens the mind.  It allows a person to travel to other countries, which is also a great gift.  Most importantly, having a common language erases borders.  It allows one to put others at ease.

Learning in one’s mother tongue promotes a deep conceptual understanding of a subject say Mapelo Tlowane, Abram Mashatole, Sibongile Bopape, Mafeye Morapedi

Todays post looks at four students view of bilingualism on completion of their multilingual degree. Some real food for thought here for all educators. Just tracking their learning helps us understand more what younger children go through when trying to learn another language.

http://mg.co.za/article/2012-10-19-multilingual-degree-opens-up-new-world

These students admit themselves that they were unsure what course to take and it feels as though they choose this more as a default that an active choice but at the end you see they have got so much from it including a clear understanding of their learing and their academic learning side by side.

Many people see the promotion of multilingualism as representing a choice between an African language and English, but the BA contemporary English and multilingual studies degree demonstrates that students need to have a strong foundation for academics in their own language on which competence in an additional language can be confidently built. In other words, both one’s own language and the language of global communication have to be promoted to implement bi- or multilingualism effectively.

In our first year at university we struggled to make sense of lectures in English and the scholarly academic texts. It was difficult to write our own ideas in English and in most cases we would simply cut and paste excerpts from texts for our assignments.

How honest and lets face it what many monolinguists do when being assessed in their own language, but also when used properly a tool to help build on sentence structure, context, word and sentence level syntax and correct sentence structuring with respect to punctuation and formation.

As they progress you can see their minds developing also as they realise the benefits of their mother tongue in relation to their new language learning.

The freedom of our own language
But in the lectures in Sepedi we did not struggle because it was the language that we used every day. We could focus on the meaning and the content and with the freedom to use our own language we gained a deeper understanding of new ideas and concepts of multilingualism.

Then as they progress they eventually meet the current thinking, of all who promote the benefits of bilingualism, multilingualism and the retention of a learners mother tongue, that there is a discourse between the practical application and language learning in schools and the policies made.

We began to understand why such a huge gap existed between our much celebrated language policies and their implementation. But, much more empoweringly, we learned how we, as fluent and committed bilingual people, could play a role in bridging this gap.

We have given presentations at conferences, spoken to young school-leavers and are conducting research into the problems of rural and township schools. We have interviewed advocates of mother tongue-based bilingual education (such as Kathleen Heugh, Nancy Hornberger and the late Neville Alexander) and have come to understand the de-vastating economic effect of English-only or English-mainly education, especially on impoverished communities.

They then discuss that when learnt unconscious transference goes on and thinking about it when I read Welsh signs I just read the Welsh and instantly know what it means there is no back and for translation in my head.

We are finding that competencies learned in one language can be readily and almost unconsciously transferred to another language, provided these competencies are related to higher-order thinking, such as hypothesising, predicting, analysing and synthesising.

They discuss Vygotsky and his view of learning and can ably show their biliteral skills are well-developed and are now making them useful for their working life.

The ideas of Lev Vygotsky, especially the value he attached to mediation and the view that learning (instruction) leads development, permeate all our modules. In one of them, “language and cognition”, we specifically focused on his ideas and conducted research into private speech and fantasy play in our own communities.

We rejoice over the newly acquired biliteracy competencies the degree developed in us. Our external examiners commented on the fact that we write with engagement in both our languages and show deep conceptual understanding. We move across our two worlds with ease and confidence and have experienced our university education as transformative, empowering and very fulfilling.

All four of us have chosen to be researchers in bilingual education. One of us is a tutor in the BA contemporary English and multilingual studies programme and three of us are pursuing master’s degrees in a project the National Research Foundation has funded.

More than that, we feel specially advantaged to have had a unique education that makes us eligible for careers as bilingual teachers, translators, interpreters, liaison officers, researchers, writers, bilingual journalists, communication officers and language specialists.

Good luck to them and I look forward to seeing more of their learning as they follow their bilingual/multilingual journey.

Welsh and English become official languages of Assembly as AMs pass historic Bill

Welsh will become officially bilingual with Welsh and English being equal.

Eileen Beasley would have been very pleased I think.

3 October 2012

The National Assembly for Wales has passed the Official Languages (Wales) Bill into law.

In recognising Welsh and English as the official languages once it receives Royal Assent, the Bill will place a statutory duty on the National Assembly for Wales and the Assembly Commission to treat both languages on the basis of equality.

“This is an historic day in the history of devolution and of Wales,” said the Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler AM.

“Both Welsh and English will now be considered official languages in Assembly proceedings. The Bill places a statutory duty to put them both on an equal footing in the delivery of the services the Commission provides to the Assembly and the public.

“We are committed to delivering exemplar bilingual services. This Bill outlines the principles that will underpin the Commission’s approach to deliver even better bilingual services. Our commitment to the Welsh language can no longer be questioned.

The Commissioner with responsibility for the Welsh Language and the passage of the Bill, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM said:

“The Bill sets an example for organisations working across Wales within both the public and private sectors about how to approach bilingualism.

“As the Member in charge of the Bill, and on behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank Assembly Members and the public for working together with us on its development. We have listened, and are confident that this legislation makes our responsibilities and our commitment clear for all to see.”

The Bill places a duty on the Assembly Commission to draw up a Welsh Language Scheme to ensure the equal status of both languages.

The scheme:

  1. ·states clearly that Welsh and English are the official languages of the Assembly and should be treated equally;
  2. ·outlines the practical arrangements to enable the Assembly to operate bilingually;
  3. ·guarantees the right of anyone who takes part in Assembly proceedings (witnesses and officials as well as Members) to do so in either of the Assembly’s official languages;
  4. ·outlines how the Assembly will provide bilingual services to the public;
  5. ·outlines how the Assembly’s corporate arrangements enable and support its ambitions to deliver bilingual services; and
  6. ·explains the Assembly’s procedure for dealing with complaints of non-compliance with the scheme, whether made by Members or by the public.

“Our Scheme will demonstrate an innovative and pragmatic approach to the development of bilingual services and build on the high quality exemplar services we currently provide,” Mr Glyn Thomas added.

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

 

Is your school really bilingual or monolingual in disguise?

Great piece of research about the type of schools that support monolingualism despite advocating their support of bilingualism. The research was done in Japan by Steve McCarty, Professor, Osaka Jogakuin College and Osaka Jogakuin University

Which is your school? Look at the table to discover which type your school is.

Types of Bilingual Education

Type of ProgramTypical StudentsLanguages used in the Classroom Educational/ Societal AimLanguage Outcome
Weak Forms of Bilingual Education *
SUBMERSION     (Structured immersion) Language Minority Majority Language Assimilation Monolingualism
SUBMERSION with withdrawal classes / sheltered English Language Minority Majority Language with pull-out L2 ** lessons [held in a different location] Assimilation Monolingualism
SEGREGATIONIST Language Minority Minority Language (forced, no choice) Apartheid Monolingualism
TRANSITIONAL Language Minority Moves from Minority to Majority Language Assimilation Relative Monolingualism
MAINSTREAM with Foreign Language Teaching Language Majority Majority Language with L2/FL ** Lessons Limited Enrichment Limited Bilingualism
SEPARATIST Language Minority Minority Language (out of choice) Detachment / Autonomy Limited Bilingualism
Type of ProgramTypical StudentsLanguages used in the Classroom Educational/ Societal AimLanguage Outcome
Strong Forms of Bilingual Education
IMMERSION Language Majority Bilingual with initial emphasis on L2 ** Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy
MAINTENANCE / HERITAGE LANGUAGE Language Minority Bilingual with emphasis on L1 ** Maintenance / Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy
TWO-WAY / DUAL LANGUAGE Mixed Language Majority & Minority Minority & Majority Maintenance / Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy
MAINSTREAM BILINGUAL Language Majority Two Majority Languages Maintenance / Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy

* In some cases the weak forms of bilingual education may actually be monolingual forms of education. ** L2  = [Students’] 2nd Language, L1 = 1st [or native] language, FL = Foreign Language.

read more at http://www.childresearch.net/papers/language/2012_02.html

Bilingual education, strictly speaking, involves teaching in two or more languages in schools, but for the reasons discussed in the previous paper, a bewildering variety of programs can claim a connection to the use of plural languages in education. Some school systems claim to practice bilingual education because their cultural minority students know another language aside from the one used in schools, but such programs with a monolingual medium of formal instruction do not actually represent a type of bilingual education at all. Their students may be bilingual for the time being despite, not because of, monolingual school systems that are designed to assimilate minorities.

http://waoe.org/steve/epublist.html – for his website

Types of Bilingual Education

With such diverse aims and resulting educational systems existing in the world, a taxonomy can only classify common patterns, but based on worldwide research sources, Baker has formulated ten types of bilingual education spanning four editions of his Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. The book was considered so important that Oka (1996) translated the whole first edition into Japanese, with its title suggesting a close connection between bilingualism and second language acquisition. The author could thus make a bilingual chart adapted from Baker (2001, p. 194) and Oka (1996, p. 183): Types of Bilingual Education

Type of ProgramTypical StudentsLanguages used in the Classroom Educational/ Societal AimLanguage Outcome
Weak Forms of Bilingual Education *
SUBMERSION     (Structured immersion) Language Minority Majority Language Assimilation Monolingualism
SUBMERSION with withdrawal classes / sheltered English Language Minority Majority Language with pull-out L2 ** lessons [held in a different location] Assimilation Monolingualism
SEGREGATIONIST Language Minority Minority Language (forced, no choice) Apartheid Monolingualism
TRANSITIONAL Language Minority Moves from Minority to Majority Language Assimilation Relative Monolingualism
MAINSTREAM with Foreign Language Teaching Language Majority Majority Language with L2/FL ** Lessons Limited Enrichment Limited Bilingualism
SEPARATIST Language Minority Minority Language (out of choice) Detachment / Autonomy Limited Bilingualism
Type of ProgramTypical StudentsLanguages used in the Classroom Educational/ Societal AimLanguage Outcome
Strong Forms of Bilingual Education
IMMERSION Language Majority Bilingual with initial emphasis on L2 ** Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy
MAINTENANCE / HERITAGE LANGUAGE Language Minority Bilingual with emphasis on L1 ** Maintenance / Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy
TWO-WAY / DUAL LANGUAGE Mixed Language Majority & Minority Minority & Majority Maintenance / Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy
MAINSTREAM BILINGUAL Language Majority Two Majority Languages Maintenance / Pluralism / Enrichment Bilingualism & Biliteracy

* In some cases the weak forms of bilingual education may actually be monolingual forms of education. ** L2  = [Students’] 2nd Language, L1 = 1st [or native] language, FL = Foreign Language.

As can be seen in the extreme right column above, weak and strong forms are defined by the typical language outcomes among students, basically whether or not children become or remain bilingual. In strong forms of bilingual education, reading and writing are conducted in both languages, resulting in biliteracy. On the other hand, if classes are taught mainly in one language, it is not to the credit of the school system if some students are bilingual. Children of immigrants or minorities may simply be in transition from their endangered native language or languages to monolingualism in the dominant language of the society. Whereas majority or minority languages are defined from the viewpoint of the mainstream society, native languages (L1) and second or foreign languages (L2) should always be defined from the viewpoint of the learners involved.

In the second column from the right, the various educational or societal aims of bilingual education are seen again in keywords. The middle column demonstrates the variety of possible language use patterns in school classes, particularly the medium of instruction. The ten types of bilingual education are thus defined by the language background of the students, the languages actually used in school, the aims of decision-making authorities, and the active linguistic repertoire of students upon leaving the school.

Regarding particular types, submersion and transitional bilingual education serve the purpose of assimilating immigrant or minority children into the mainstream of society. Transitional programs start with considerable native language instruction, but it is gradually phased out. Submersion programs simply plunge students abruptly into classrooms where their native language is not seen as fit to use, and the medium of instruction is foreign to them, so they involuntarily sink or swim. Such programs are not called submersion, and they are usually believed to help students adjust to society as soon as possible so they can make a living in the future, but it tends to result in the cognitive damage of losing their native language proficiency. Then, for example in the U.S., they may still be stigmatized as limited English proficiency (LEP) speakers or of low intelligence according to standardized test results in their second language.

The second type of submersion in the chart aims to soften the shock of changing the language use of children by teaching in sheltered or simplified English, or pulling language minority students out of classes to study the majority language or medium of instruction itself. Withdrawal classes take place in some Japanese cities as well, with a small number of language minority students pulled out of each school to study Japanese as a second language (JSL) in a central location. Among the drawbacks, they miss regular class content and are further isolated from mainstream students. When Vaipae went beyond questionnaire surveys to interview immigrant families, she found that “regardless of the length of residence or school attendance in Japan, none of the case study students reached academic achievement levels on par with their Japanese classmates” (2001, p. 228).

Mainstream with Foreign Language Teaching, also a weak type of bilingual education, is the usual pattern where the mainstream language majority students study a foreign language several hours a week, which does not provide enough exposure and interaction in the L2 for students to become bilingual. Far removed from environments where it would be necessary and rewarding to use the foreign language, it is too little and started too late. Critical periods have passed where babies could distinguish all languages, children could attain native-like L2 pronunciation until about age eight, and languages could be acquired without much effort until around puberty (Glinkoff & Hirsh-Pasek, 1999, pp. 23-24, 138).  This is the usual predicament with English in Japan, various foreign languages taught in the U.S., and in other countries where one language is dominant.

The two other weak forms of bilingual education, Segregationist and Separatist, can appear to be similar, as they tend to be minority groups isolated from the mainstream society and using their native languages in school, insofar as children can attend. But the key difference is whether they have the choice of their medium of instruction or not. In Segregationist situations the dominant social group excludes the minority group from the option of learning in languages of wider communication such as Swahili, Arabic, English, or French. In this way the dominant group keeps the minority groups down, monopolizing limited resources and economic opportunities for social advancement. Whereas in Separatist situations the minority group is deliberately trying to distance its members from the strong influence of the mainstream society in order to protect its native language, culture, and religion. For example, some American Indians find their children turning away from their native language and values because of the strong influence of the popular culture in English. They may therefore conduct their own education in their native language apart from American influences, although young people are liable to become native speakers of English regardless, because the mainstream language can hardly be avoided.

Most of the weak forms of bilingual education were reserved for the children of immigrants and minorities except the Mainstream with Foreign Language Teaching model, which is ineffective and scarcely threatens to change the existing social order.

Turning to strong forms, a very successful model for majority language students is Immersion, usually in another language of high status, cultural prestige, and economic value. The difference between Immersion and Submersion (for minority students) is first of all a matter of choice, like diving into the deep end of a pool versus being pushed into it. The majority children or at least their parents choose an immersion bilingual education program for the utmost academic advancement, whereas submersion is a matter of circumstance, the conditions most minority families encounter in schools where the default national policy toward them is assimilation.

Immersion originated in Canada, which has a majority of French speakers in the province of Quebec. Canada has developed a national policy of bilingualism, with English and French as official languages, and multiculturalism (Shapson & D’Oyley, 1984) in consideration of indigenous Inuit and other minorities. 40% of children in Toronto schools are foreign born (Ritchie, 2006). Immersion bilingual education has been implemented widely for many years in Canada and adopted by schools in other countries (Bostwick, 2004). There are several English immersion schools in Japan, with research showing its effectiveness at Kato Gakuen in Shizuoka Prefecture (Bostwick, 2001). Conversely, there are schools in the U.S. and Australia that have Japanese immersion programs.

In immersion bilingual education the regular curriculum is taught to some extent in the target language, which can also be called Content-Based Foreign Language Teaching. But if the L2 is used less than half the time over the school year, it is not considered immersion, strictly speaking, but rather enrichment (Genesee, cited in Bostwick, 2004). When it is much less than 50%, it is Mainstream with Foreign Language Teaching, as noted earlier among the weak forms. There has not been much research or attention to bilingual education beyond childhood, but Content-Based English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Teaching, for example at Osaka Jogakuin University, can be more or less than 50% in the target language. In response to the author’s question at a public lecture, Fred Genesee answered that Content-Based EFL in higher education could be called “immersion-like.”

If a program is called immersion, it may need to be confirmed that the curriculum meets the established criteria. There is a distinction between partial and total immersion, as the proportion of L1 and L2 used tends to change from year to year in the same bilingual school. It is further divided into early immersion when it starts in pre-school, middle immersion when it starts midway through elementary school, and late immersion when it starts around the beginning of junior high school.  It is a strict standard compared to most foreign language programs, but many studies have shown that immersion students did not lose any native level ability in L1 but rather gained academic (Bostwick, 2001) and cognitive benefits from effective bilingual education programs.

Maintenance or Heritage Language programs serve the purpose of preserving the ethnic identity, culture and language of minority group members. Immigrant communities in particular have a need to maintain communication channels with first generation immigrants and people in their country of origin. Through bilingual education their children can cope with the majority society without losing their roots. Korean (Cary, 2001) and Chinese schools in Japan are of this type. Since their students are mostly raised in Japan and hence native speakers of Japanese, with English also taught at least through secondary school, many of their graduates are bilingual or multilingual.

Two-Way or Dual Language bilingual education is similar to immersion, but schools try to gather about the same number of minority and majority language students in each class in the program, and usually team teach about half of the curriculum in the native language of the minority and half in the native language of the majority language students. This shows that both languages are equally valued, and students can learn from each other. Two examples are Seigakuin Atlanta International School (n.d.), in English and Japanese, and Vienna Bilingual Schools (Oka, 2003, pp. 51-52), in German and English.

The last strong form among the ten types of bilingual education is called Mainstream Bilingual. It includes international schools and the European Schools Movement (Baker, 2006, p. 227). It serves children like majority students or temporary residents whose native language is an international language such as English. Thus Baker’s most recent edition also calls it Bilingual Education in Majority Languages. “Such schools are in societies where much of the population is already bilingual or multilingual (e.g. Singapore, Luxembourg) or where there are significant numbers of natives or expatriates wanting to become bilingual (e.g. learning through English and Japanese in Japan)” (Baker, 2006, p. 250). “Bilingual education in majority languages means that some curriculum content is learnt through a student’s second language. In Europe, this is often called Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)” (p. 251).

Conclusion to this paper

This was the longest of the three papers analyzing bilingual education because of the many types that are found in the world. The types drew from the varying purposes for bilingual education outlined in the first paper. Particularly the charts of ten purposes and ten types in the first and second papers will also provide background information for the final article. The third paper adds a worksheet with ten criteria and a list of ten realistic cases in Japan and the world to classify into types of bilingual education. Putting all of these together, it will be possible to analyze the languages used in any educational system in the world in terms of bilingual education.

References

  • Baker, C. (2001). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (3rd ed.). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Baker, C. (2006). Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism (4th ed.). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Bostwick, R.M. (2001). Bilingual education of children in Japan: Year four of a partial immersion programme. In M.G. Noguchi & S. Fotos (Eds.), Studies in Japanese Bilingualism (pp. 164-183). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Bostwick, R.M. (2004). What is Immersion? Numazu, Shizuoka, Japan: Katoh Gakuen. Retrieved from http://bi-lingual.com/school/INFO/WhatIsImmersion.html
  • Cary, A. (2001). Affiliation, not assimilation: Resident Koreans and ethnic education. In M.G. Noguchi & S. Fotos (Eds.), Studies in Japanese Bilingualism (pp. 98-132). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Glinkoff, R.M. & Hirsh-Pasek, K.H. (1999). How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life. NY: A Plume Book.
  • Oka, H. (1996). Bairingaru kyoiku to daini gengo shutoku [Bilingual education and second language acquisition]. Tokyo: Taishukan Shoten.
  • Oka, H. (2003). Sekai no bairingarizumu [Bilingualism in the world]. In JACET Bilingualism SIG, (Ed.), Nihon no bairingaru kyouiku: Gakkou no jirei kara manabu [Bilingual education in Japan: Learning from case studies in schools], pp. 24-66. Tokyo: Sanshusha.
  • Ritchie, M. (2006). Integrating children who speak a foreign language into English nursery schools in Toronto, Canada. Tokyo: Child Research Net. Retrieved from http://www.childresearch.net/papers/multi/2006_03.html
  • Seigakuin Atlanta International School (n.d.). Parents’ Guide to Our Two-Way Immersion School. Retrieved from http://www.seig.ac.jp/english/atlanta/img/Two%20Way%20Immersion(E).pdf
  • Shapson, S. & D’Oyley, V. (Eds.). (1984). Bilingual and multicultural education: Canadian perspectives. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Vaipae, S.S. (2001). Language minority students in Japanese public schools. In M.G. Noguchi & S. Fotos (Eds.), Studies in Japanese Bilingualism (pp. 184-233). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Yukawa, E. (2000). Bilingual education in Sweden. In S. Ryan (Ed.), The best of Bilingual Japan, (pp. 45-47). Osaka: Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) Bilingualism SIG.

Developing Literacy for EAL learners

Literacy is one focus of OFSTED in the UK from the start of this month.  First let us be clear what Literacy means…often these words are used without much thought about what it means… Literacy in education is how we help children enjoy reading and writing, with focus on three areas speaking and listening, and reading and writing.

With EAL learners John Foxwell Director EMASUK suggests we look at how to use Pip to support the parents reading to the children in either language (bi-literacy will also be improved when used effectively), use this lovely book to allow them to read to their siblings and new arrivals in English. Pip itself is bilingual so can be used to develop vocabulary by using the first language as a bridge. There is also the advantage of the picture book being part of the range, so that the parent/teacher and child can see how they have progressed in their development of their reading skills.

He further suggests starting points for conversations, and when linked to the computer programme it scaffolds writing by giving word lists.  It encourages story boarding by linking up pictures and words and develops personal awareness by making children think and discuss how they feel.

And so to OFSTED themselves.

OFSTED Inspectors report that they have found  that the factors that most commonly limited pupils’ learning included: an excessive pace of a lesson; an overloading of activities; inflexible planning, and limited time for pupils to work independently. In some schools teachers concentrated too much or too early on a narrow range of test or examination skills and few schools give enough thought to ways of encouraging the love of reading in school and beyond the classroom.

OFSTED have themselves suggested the following as good examples of how to develop good reading practice to support literacy development.

To get the reading habit integrated straightaway, in the first term of Year 7, the English homework for all students is to read independently at home. The school launched a joint parent/child reading group, attended by a local author, which inspired parents and pupils. Family Review Days held in the library give parents the opportunity to talk about books with the librarian and with students. They can drop in anytime to discuss how they can help their child choose a suitable book and offer support and encouragement.

The school annually updates and sends out a list of recommended reads to reflect current trends in reading as well as classics. It also produces ‘Reading Matters’ leaflets for parents, with useful hints and tips to support their child’s reading, which include the following.

• ‘Read aloud with your child, or try reading the same book they are reading and talk to them about it.
• Let them see you reading, whether it is a book, a magazine or a newspaper. Lead by example!
• If they enjoy movies or TV shows based on children’s books such as Tracy Beaker or Harry Potter, encourage them to give the books a try.
• Encourage them to read to younger brothers and sisters. We have a ‘babysitting’ box in the library with great books they could use.
• Encourage them to join the school Readers’ Club. They can then get involved in all kinds of extra-curricular activities, from drama workshops to meeting the illustrator from Beano!’

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/driving-standards-of-literacy

John Foxwell reminds us that Pip is available as a picture book or English only, or bilingually in  English and Polish, Albanian, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, Czech, Dutch, Russian, French, German, Nepali, Kurdish, Hungarian, Norwegian, Hebrew, Latvian, and Romanian http://shop.emasuk.com/  Add storycreator to make a truly useful inexpensive package for all language learners whether learning English, MFL Languages or bridging from their home language.

” renewed focus on language skills at school is needed” John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce

Sometimes when engaged purely in Education it is easier to forget the wider world and the wider implications of why were are teaching a particular subject.  I was always aware being a secondary teacher that my students would possibly be working in Design, Programming,Engineering or Architectural type areas, not least because as well as teaching GCSE, A Level there was always NVQ teaching of skills that was part of my teaching role.  However for some they never think beyond the next exam and in primary often thought only about primary tests and not about the whole child and their future prospects.

With that in mind I thought that this information may be of use for those looking outside the box for reasons that languages should be taught and bilingualism and multilingualism should be embraced.

This is current from the Norfolk Chamber of Trade and shares the benefits to businesses about the importance of communicating with exporters in their language. Here is the link to the article:

http://www.norfolkchamber.co.uk/export/export-news/boost-exports-further-improving-businesses-language-skills-and-international

I am pleased that the Primary Languages Classroom Awards supports language developement to enable or children to be able to function on the world’s stage. Below is the article in full.

A survey of over 8,000 businesses released by the British Chambers of Commerce, shows that exporting activity continues to increase. However, the findings also suggest that providing firms with more training in foreign languages, and increasing their exposure to international companies would encourage more business owners to export. Economic growth relies upon British businesses being able to export more, so the British Chambers of Commerce is calling for more support for firms to help them trade internationally.

Language skills are vital to exporting

Knowledge of other languages is an important skill for exporters. 61% of non-exporters that are likely to consider trading internationally consider a lack of language skills as a barrier to doing so.

However, of those business owners that claim some language knowledge, very few can speak well enough to conduct deals in international markets. French is the most commonly spoken language, with 73% of business owners claiming some knowledge. However, only four percent are able to converse fluently enough in French to conduct business deals. This number drops significantly for those languages spoken in the fastest growing markets. In 2012, the IMF projects that the Chinese economy will grow by 9.5%, but just four percent of business owners claim any knowledge of the language, with less than one percent confident they could converse fluently.

Re-establishing foreign languages as core subjects within the UK national curriculum and in workplace training would mean that the next generation of business owners are ‘born global’ with language skills. The BCC is calling for the National Curriculum to be revised so that studying a foreign language is compulsory until AS level. Businesses could also be helped in training staff in new languages, if the government offered additional financial incentives such as tax credits for small and medium-sized businesses that make a significant investment in language training.

Businesses with stronger international connections are more likely to export

Businesses that do export are more likely to have stronger social connections with overseas markets. When asked what led them to export, the top three reasons cited by current exporters were:  collaboration with overseas partners (71%); a chance enquiry from outside the UK (57%); and previous work experience abroad (52%). Those business owners that have lived abroad are more likely to export. 11% of current exporters have lived aboard for five years or more.

The BCC believes that creating opportunities for employees to work in overseas companies could help expose firms to more international opportunities. For example, an international business exchange programme, perhaps modeled on the well-known academic Erasmus scheme would allow employees to complete placements in companies abroad, and bring back their experience to their employer. A scheme that covered BRIC economies, as well as Europe, would mean that businesses could take advantage of fast growing markets as well as the eurozone.

Commenting on the findings of the report, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“Exporting is good for Britain, so it is right that we should encourage current and future business owners to develop the necessary skills to trade overseas. We’re encouraged to see the percentage of firms exporting in our survey has increased from 22% in January 2011 to 32% in January 2012. Exports are equivalent to nearly 30% of UK GDP[1], but more can be done to help businesses take the first step to exporting. Encouraging companies to boost foreign language skills with incentives like tax credits is just one way of making sure we continue to export best of British products and services around the world. A renewed focus on language skills at school, as well as helping companies forge new connections overseas, could help ensure that current and future business owners are pre-disposed to thinking internationally.

“We are already the sixth largest trading nation on earth, and the third largest service exporter, but to really secure our future as a leading exporter we need to help companies take advantage of new markets. Giving businesses the opportunity to forge links with international firms, develop employees’ language skills, and providing compulsory education in languages for young people will transform many of the great businesses we have in the UK into success stories overseas.”