More than half of the world’s population is bilingual

Just thought I would share this research – its interesting reading. Professor Grosjean shares his views on misconceptions about bilingualism and bilinguals and also country specific attitudes.

By Professor Francois Grosjean

I have had the chance to live and work for extended periods of time in at least three countries, the United States, Switzerland and France, and as a researcher on bilingualism, it has allowed me to learn a lot about my topic of interest. I have found that people in these countries share many misconceptions about bilingualism and bilinguals but that they also have very country-specific attitudes towards them.

Among shared misunderstandings, one is that bilingualism is a rare phenomenon. In fact, it has been estimated that more than half of the world’s population is bilingual, that is uses two or more languages in everyday life. Bilingualism is found in all parts of the world, at all levels of society, in all age groups. Another common misconception is that bilinguals have equal knowledge of their languages. In fact, bilinguals know their languages to the level that they need them and many are dominant in one of them.

There are also the myths that real bilinguals do not have an accent in their different languages and that they are excellent all-around translators. This is far from being true. Having an accent or not does not make one more or less bilingual, and bilinguals often have difficulties translating specialized language.

Then there is the misconception that all bilinguals are bicultural (they are not) and that they have double personalities (as a bilingual myself, and with a sigh of relief, I can tell you that this is not the case).

As concerns children, many worries and misconceptions are also widespread. The first is that bilingualism will delay language acquisition in young children. This was a popular myth in the first part of the last century, but there is no research evidence to that effect. Their rate of language acquisition is the same as that of their monolingual counterparts.

There is also the fear that children raised bilingual will always mix their languages. In fact, they adapt to the situation they are in. When they interact in monolingual situations (e.g. with Grandma who doesn’t speak their other language), they will respond monolingually; if they are with other bilinguals, then they may well code-switch. Finally, there is the worry that bilingualism will affect negatively the cognitive development of bilingual children. Recent research appears to show the contrary; bilingual children do better than monolingual children in certain cognitive tasks.

Aside from these common misunderstandings, certain attitudes are specific to countries and areas of the world. In Europe, for example, bilingualism is seen favorably but people have very high standards for who should be considered bilingual. The latter should have perfect knowledge of their languages, have no accent in them, and even, in some countries, have grown up with their two (or more) languages. At that rate, very few people consider themselves bilingual even though, in Switzerland for example, the majority of the inhabitants know and use two or more languages in their everyday life.

How about the United States? Einar Haugen, a pioneer of bilingualism studies, has stated that the US has probably been the home of more bilingual speakers than any other country in the world. Bilingualism here is very diverse, pairing English with Native American languages, older colonial languages, recent immigration languages, and so on.

This said, it is not very extensive at any one time. Currently, only 17% of the population is bilingual as compared to much higher percentages in many other countries of the world. This is not due to the fact that new immigrants are not learning English. The reason, rather, is that bilingualism is basically short-lived and transitional in this country. For generations and generations of Americans, bilingualism has covered a brief period, spanning one or two generations, between monolingualism in a minority language and monolingualism in English.

The tolerance that America has generally shown towards minority languages over the centuries has favored the linguistic integration of its speakers. As sociologist Nathan Glazer writes, the language of minorities shriveled in the air of freedom while they had apparently flourished under adversity in Europe.

When presidential candidate Barak Obama stated that children should speak more than one language, he was probably referring to the paradox one finds in this country: on the one hand, the world’s languages brought to the United States are not maintained, and they wither away, and on the other hand only a few of them are taught in schools, to too few students, and for too short a time. A national resource “ the country’s knowledge of the languages of the world “ is being put aside and is not being maintained.

It is important to stop equating bilingualism with not knowing English and being un-American. Bilingualism means knowing and using at least two or more languages, one of which is English in the United States. Bilingualism allows you to communicate with different people and hence to discover different cultures, thereby giving you a different perspective on the world. It increases your job opportunities and it is an asset in trade and commerce. It also allows you to be an intermediary between people who do not share the same languages.

Bilingualism is a personal enrichment and a passport to other cultures. At the very least, and to return to Barak Obama’s comment, it certainly allows you to say more than merci beaucoup when interacting with someone of another language. One never regrets knowing several languages but one can certainly regret not knowing enough.

François Grosjean, the author of Bilingual: Life and Reality, received his degrees up to the Doctorat d’Etat from the University of Paris, France. He started his academic career at the University of Paris 8 and then left for the United-States in 1974 where he taught and did research in psycholinguistics at Northeastern University, Boston. While at Northeastern he was also a Research Affiliate at the Speech Communication Laboratory at MIT. In 1987, he was appointed professor at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland, where he founded the Language and Speech Processing Laboratory. He has lectured occasionally at the Universities of Basel, Zurich and Oxford. In 1998, he cofoundedBilingualism: Language and Cognition (Cambridge University Press). Visit his website at:www.francoisgrosjean.ch and his Psychology Today blog, Life as a bilingual, at: www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-bilingual.

The ability to speak Welsh is not a burden. On the contrary, it is an expressway to cognitive development.

Recently a local Welsh paper shared  story that suggests Welsh speakers are reducing in Wales, but this local person shares statistics that Welsh-speaking is increasing and

that being bilingual is not a burden…It’s a doorway to a multilingual world where the advantage of early bilingualism can be translated into skills in a multitude of languages, placing the Welsh workforce at a great advantage in comparison to our monoglot friends.

Do you agree?

http://www.thisissouthwales.co.uk/Bilingualism-opens-doors/story-17194411-detail/story.html

A second language is not only a benefit, it is a need.

I often blog about the need of our young people to learn a second language so that when they are leave school they are in a better place to gain employment but more importantly employment that they will enjoy. It was therefore lovely to see  this news article from America where the student had learnt Spanish and was now in work using it as a police officer to support himself, his colleagues and his community.

The officer doesn’t know her situation. Is she injured or being threatened,  and will she be able to communicate that in English?

 

In the past, language barriers were one of the more significant obstacles  that officers faced in carrying out their duty. Now, thanks to the Oklahoma City  Police Department’s bilingual unit, language issues have been largely  diminished.

Read more: http://newsok.com/speaking-a-second-language-helps-oklahoma-city-police-officers-do-their-job/article/3720840#ixzz2A2n9GrNf

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.

Samoa students ask for bilingual lessons

This seems to be breaking news all the reading that I have done and sharing in this blog about bilingual education has not before thrown up Samoan and bilingual in the same sentence. From this story it seems that in order to save the language the young people themselves feel that they should have bilingual lessons to keep their language alive. Presently most teaching and learning is done via the medium of English because there are not enough Samoan teachers to deliver a bilingual curriculum.

This just shows again how language no matter how strong in an area, place or country if it is not used in the end a stronger one takes over, so I believe to ensure continuity and the ability to be a global as well as a community citizen the use of two languages is a must, or more languages will be lost.

http://www.mvariety.com/regional-news/palaupacific-news/50537-a-samoa-calls-for-bilingual-teaching

 

Cutting foreign language opportunities in school and downplaying the importance of proficiency in a foreign language greatly diminishes America’s ability to operate in the modern, fast-paced, globalized world.

I think I have said before that the world is shrinking as people move around.  Today rather than town to town they move country to country and not necessarily to the nearest country to themselves it can often be at the opposite side of the world. This news article discusses one persons feeling about this and the role that languages play in communication.

The statements below can apply to the UK and similar countries as well as the USA

It has been a source of pride and a political point for many that English is the “official” language of the United States and those who come to our borders should learn the language. But as a country that wants to continue to be a world leader, we will need to be very serious about pushing our students to be proficient if not fluent in at least two languages.

It is not un-American to be bilingual and it is not a sign of defeat to have bilingual signs. If anything, it makes us stronger as a nation. After neglecting this issue for generations, it is time to turn our educational system around and place learning a foreign language as one of the most important aspects of an education. Learning a foreign language in the United States needs to move out of the “elective” realm and into the realm of “core subject.

To become truly global citizens then language has to have a place in school curriculums and current discussion should be looking at the sort and types of languages that should be supported in schools.  For me the choice is easy support everyone who arrives with a language other than English to keep their previous languages and learn English. For all learners learn at least one language although from my experience the nearer languages are together the better for the learner to realise that each is not something totally new but  connect with each other.

I was lucky in school to learn French, German and Latin which I loved.  The Latin was great because it helped me understand English more. Recently I have done a lot of work in Italian, with an Italian translator, and can immediately see the benefits of learning both languages together and I think it would make learning a  langauge less scary. We should look globally at the languages most needed by global citizens and then find a way of supporting this via school curriculums.

As Adam Hogue says quite succinctly

America is in constant transition. With higher populations of minority groups becoming more dominant in the American landscape, we as a country should be a land of many national languages, not just one. Schools should be moving towards bilingual education in all subjects and students should be able to pursue an education in a variety of languages. Language has the power to change the perception of a person as well as a nation. This should not be forgotten as America continues to define our place in the global landscape.

As I study Hanguel, I am really trying to make up for lost time. I want to pick up a second language with more proficiency than I have in French, a language in which I can only rattle off a few verbs. It is up to the Millennial generation to place foreign language as the centerpiece of American education in the 21st century. Making that change will change other countries’ perception of America and l make America a better place to conduct business and study. Whether it be Mandarin, Vietnamese, French, Spanish,

Hanguel or Indonesian; a foreign language is key in our rapidly globalizing world.

http://www.policymic.com/mobile/articles/16126/why-cutting-foreign-language-classes-in-schools-would-hurt-future-generations-of-americans

Minority bilingual children from low-income families demonstrate important strengths in other cognitive domains

Many research papers so far have looked at bilingual middle class children and the benefits bilingualism brings. This is interesting as it focuses on low-income families and suggests that:

The researchers believe that the findings could inform efforts to reduce the  achievement gap between children of different socioeconomic backgrounds. “Our  study suggests that intervention programs  that are based on second language teaching are a fruitful avenue for future  research,” says Engel de Abreu.

“Teaching a foreign language does not involve costly equipment, it  widens children’s linguistic and cultural horizons, and it fosters the healthy  development of executive control.”

They created tests that tested knowledge, memory and their ability to focus when there were distractions.

A total of 80 second graders from low-income families participated in the  study. Half of the children were first or second generation immigrants to  Luxembourg, originally from Northern Portugal, who spoke both Luxembourgish and  Portuguese on a daily basis. The other half of the children lived in Northern  Portugal and spoke only Portuguese.

 

The researchers first tested the children’s vocabularies by asking them to  name items presented in pictures. Both groups completed the task in Portuguese  and the bilingual children also completed the task in Luxembourgish.

 

To examine how the children represented knowledge in memory, the researchers  asked them to find a missing piece that would complete a specific geometric shape. The researchers also measured the  children’s memory, using two different tasks to see how much visual information  the children could keep in mind at a given time.

 

To examine how the children represented knowledge in memory, the researchers  asked them to find a missing piece that would complete a specific geometric shape. The researchers also measured the  children’s memory, using two different tasks to see how much visual information  the children could keep in mind at a given time.

 

The children then participated in two tasks that looked at their ability to  direct and focus their attention when distractions were present. In the first  task, they had to find and match 20 pairs of spacecrafts as quickly as possible,  a task that depended on their ability to ignore all the non-matching  spacecrafts. In the second task, the children were presented with a row of  yellow fish on a computer screen and they  had to press a button to indicate which direction the fish in the center was  facing. The other fish either pointed in the same or opposite direction of the  fish in the middle.

 

Although the bilingual children knew fewer words than their monolingual  peers, and did not show an advantage for representation tasks, they performed  better on the control tasks than did the monolingual children, just as the  researchers hypothesized.

This is all good, beneficial research and something that no doubt will become a greater research area as more research finds benefits in bilingual education.

It is really interesting reading and can be found at: http://scienceblog.com/56290/speaking-two-languages-also-benefits-low-income-children/#ID4t583mCmoIY3P5.99

 

 

 

Understanding Bilingual Education – research Continued.

A few posts ago I shared the thoughts and research and from the post you could work out what type of bilingual educational establishment you were.  It helped you work out whether you offer  additive or subtractive bilingual education.  The research by Steve McCarty, Professor, Osaka Jogakuin College and Osaka Jogakuin University is really easy to read and interesting at the same time.  This final part of his research offers a questionnaire from which you can gather more evidence about the type of establishment you are to enable you to move to the type of establishment you would like to be.

Worksheet to Analyze Cases of Bilingual Education
We (or I) think that…

  1. Leaders of the society see different languages in their communities as a [problem | resource | right | human right as well as a resource].
  2. The leaders are trying to [change | maintain | develop] the native language use of children.
  3. This education is for language [majority | minority | majority and minority] students.
  4. >Education for these students is mostly in their [native | second | foreign] language.
  5. This education is for the purpose of [assimilation of language minority students into the majority culture | separation of an ethnic group from the mainstream culture | maintenance of a minority or ethnic language | enrichment of language majority students | encouraging linguistic diversity and multiculturalism].
  6. The result of the educational system or outcome for students is [elite (or elective) | folk (or circumstantial) ] and [additive | subtractive | monolingualism, not a kind of] bilingualism.
  7. It is [a strong form | a weak form | not really a type] of bilingual education.
  8. This is because [students may be bilingual but their native language is not used in school | students learn all subjects in their native language | students take some foreign language classes taught in their native language | students learn in two languages but not enough to become bilingual | students can get enough input and interaction in both languages to become bilingual (and possibly bicultural) ].
  9. This type of bilingual education is [submersion | submersion with pull-out or sheltered second language classes | segregationist | transitional | mainstream with foreign language teaching | separatist | immersion | maintenance or heritage language | two-way or dual language | mainstream bilingual]. [If the program is not called Immersion, stop after item #9. If it is called Immersion, add item #10:]
  10. It is [actually enrichment, because the teaching is less than 50% in the second language | partial immersion | total immersion]. It is [not immersion | early immersion (starting around pre-school) | middle immersion (starting around the middle of elementary school) | late immersion (starting around junior high school)].

you can find the rest below or at: http://www.childresearch.net/papers/language/2012_03.html

Introduction to this paper

The aim of this final installment is to activate the information and analytical skills gained in these three papers through lesson plans. The process is to examine the languages used in school systems and to analyze those cases into types of bilingual education. Ten cases are first given, and experience with university classes has shown that there is enough information in these papers for most students to correctly classify the cases into types of bilingual education. The important thing to learn is not the answers to these cases but rather to gain the analytical skills, such as to infer the cause-and-effect relationships between the aims of decision-makers in a society and the type of education that results. In not only these realistic cases but in any situation in the world where enough information is available about the languages used in schools, the whole chain of causation between a cultural way of thinking and actual classroom practices can be discerned.

Lesson Plans to Analyze Cases of Language Use in Schools into Types of Bilingual Education

As a series of class lessons, students first learn and discuss the list of ten “Varying Aims of Bilingual Education” presented earlier. For example, which aims do learners think are beneficial for the whole society? A more advanced activity would be to predict what types of bilingual education or school systems might result from the different aims. Students then use the chart of ten “Types of Bilingual Education” along with the list of ten aims and the further criteria in the worksheet at the end of this paper to analyze the ten “Cases of Languages involved in Education.” The list of aims and the chart of types handed out to students in the author’s classes are bilingual in English and Japanese, adapted from Baker (2001) and Oka (1996), to lighten the cognitive load of undergraduates and to reduce lecturing time. An alternative activity for seminars or conferences would be for individuals to describe the medium of instruction in a school system they know in another region of the world, and then the group could analyze it by the criteria in these papers.

The first chart in this paper describes ten realistic cases in Japan and the world where different languages are connected to an educational system, whether all the pertinent languages are used in the schools or not. That is, the worksheet to follow will allow for the conclusion that a system called bilingual education by local or national authorities is, besides the ten types, not actually bilingual education at all, chiefly because there is only one medium of instruction. The basic exercise of this paper is to use the list of ten aims, the chart of ten types of bilingual education, and the worksheet with ten items to classify the ten cases below into types of bilingual education.

Cases of Languages involved in Education
  1. Native speakers of Japanese start studying English in the 5th grade of elementary school and several hours a week from junior high school. This is because English as an International Language may be valuable for their future studies and career.
  2. Immigrants from South America and Asia are working in a small city in Japan where there are not many other foreigners. Their children can study only in regular public school classes.
  3. There are Korean and Chinese ethnic schools in Japan. They teach Korean or Chinese language and culture. Including Japanese and some English, students may become bilingual or multilingual to some extent.
  4. An American Indian tribe tries to keep their children in their home region, to protect their language and culture, so they teach subjects mostly through their native language, using some English where it is necessary.
  5. In some areas of Africa, black Africans are isolated from government support and suffer from problems like child labor. Their children do not have the choice to study in a regional or international language like Swahili, Arabic, French or English, which could lift them out of poverty. Such African villages must try to conduct their own education in their native language.
  6. Many Canadian Inuit wish to maintain their native language and culture, but also to trade with others in North America. The government recognizes their right to keep their native language and helps their children learn English along with their native language.
  7. Most Canadians speak English, but people in the province of Quebec are mostly native speakers of French. Canada has a bilingual and multicultural policy with both English and French as official languages. Many schools in Quebec conduct classes in English at least half of the time.
  8. Mexican immigrants to the United States are often seen as having difficulty in school and adjusting to American society because they speak Spanish. Many of their children are therefore taught in simple English or regularly taken out of mainstream classes for lessons in English as a Second Language (ESL).
  9. Uyghur children receive education only in Chinese. The government has called it “bilingual education” in a press release that appeared in international news. Recently Uyghur students have been urged to live in dormitories at school and see their parents mostly during vacations.
  10. A small number of American schools form classes with about half English and half Spanish native speakers (or native speakers of other languages, including Japanese). The two languages are alternated in the curriculum, both cultures are valued, and the students can help each other.

Finally, the following worksheet can be used to analyze salient factors involved in any school system and, referring to the previous charts in these three papers, reach a conclusion as to what type of bilingual education the case may represent. The author developed this worksheet to lighten the cognitive load for second and third year university students in bilingualism and bilingual education classes to analyze cases of languages involved in education by just selecting among the choices in boldface type. By simply circling their choices on the worksheet, the students can make a paragraph analyzing any number of cases. Students can work in groups, with one person saying their analysis out loud to the whole class, starting with “We think that …” In this way, second to fourth year students majoring in English usually reach a reasonable conclusion as to the type of bilingual education.

Worksheet to Analyze Cases of Bilingual Education
We (or I) think that…

  1. Leaders of the society see different languages in their communities as a [problem | resource | right | human right as well as a resource].
  2. The leaders are trying to [change | maintain | develop] the native language use of children.
  3. This education is for language [majority | minority | majority and minority] students.
  4. >Education for these students is mostly in their [native | second | foreign] language.
  5. This education is for the purpose of [assimilation of language minority students into the majority culture | separation of an ethnic group from the mainstream culture | maintenance of a minority or ethnic language | enrichment of language majority students | encouraging linguistic diversity and multiculturalism].
  6. The result of the educational system or outcome for students is [elite (or elective) | folk (or circumstantial) ] and [additive | subtractive | monolingualism, not a kind of] bilingualism.
  7. It is [a strong form | a weak form | not really a type] of bilingual education.
  8. This is because [students may be bilingual but their native language is not used in school | students learn all subjects in their native language | students take some foreign language classes taught in their native language | students learn in two languages but not enough to become bilingual | students can get enough input and interaction in both languages to become bilingual (and possibly bicultural) ].
  9. This type of bilingual education is [submersion | submersion with pull-out or sheltered second language classes | segregationist | transitional | mainstream with foreign language teaching | separatist | immersion | maintenance or heritage language | two-way or dual language | mainstream bilingual]. [If the program is not called Immersion, stop after item #9. If it is called Immersion, add item #10:]
  10. It is [actually enrichment, because the teaching is less than 50% in the second language | partial immersion | total immersion]. It is [not immersion | early immersion (starting around pre-school) | middle immersion (starting around the middle of elementary school) | late immersion (starting around junior high school)].

Items 1 and 2 in the worksheet focus attention on the motives of decision-makers faced with different native languages of students in their schools. The first one examines their attitudes, adapted from Ruiz (1984), who held that authorities view language as a problem, resource, or right, with very different policies following from these views. The author sees “language,” which can mean so many things, as referring in this case to different languages in contact or occupying the same space, while, similarly, “right” can more precisely draw from United Nations human rights agreements pertaining to native languages, and from scholarship on linguistic human rights (Skuttnabb-Kangas & Phillipson, 1995). These also bear on the right of authorities in the second item to alter the language use of children rather than maintaining or, in the best scenario for the student, developing L1, which can bolster L2 development as well.

Items 3 and 4 clarify the profile of the students involved from their perspective. Item 5 clarifies the purpose or aim of a school system more specifically in line with the criteria for types of bilingual education. Item 6 probes the likely results or outcomes of a school system for students in terms of types of bilingualism. Briefly, elite bilingualism is for the fortunate majority by choice, hence it is also called elective, whereas folk bilingualism is a common situation that immigrants and minorities find themselves in, not of their own choice, hence it is also called circumstantial (cf. McCarty, 2010, for further details). Additive bilingualism is where the L2 is acquired with no cost to the L1 and therefore beneficial to the person, which is generally the case with enrichment or strong forms of bilingual education. Whereas subtractive bilingualism means that L2 replaces L1, which is detrimental to the person cognitively, and can alienate children from parents and relatives who speak only the L1. Item 6 also includes the option of concluding that the school system is not a case of bilingual education at all, usually because having only one medium of instruction tends to lead toward students remaining or becoming monolingual. The elite/folk distinction often maps onto the additive/subtractive outcome, but there are exceptions such as Separatist bilingual education, so the item is expressed as it is to cover as much as possible the different types of bilingual education.

With item 7 the type of bilingual education can be narrowed down to weak, strong, or monolingual, based on analyzing the previous criteria such as the likely learning outcomes, regardless of what a school system claims to practice. Item 8 offers a range of specific reasons for the item 7 selection and, together with other criteria, leads to the conclusion of the analysis in item 9, namely the type of bilingual education the case represents.

One further option is to add an item 10 for cases where an educational program is called immersion. That is to say, immersion programs have been shown to be effective, but because they are popular and sound attractive, it is not uncommon for school programs to inaccurately claim to be practicing immersion or bilingual education generally, either due to lack of specialized knowledge or because many of the students entering their schools speak different languages or are already bilingual. The strong forms of bilingual education would develop both languages in any case by using at least two languages as the medium of instruction.

Conclusion to the three papers on Bilingual Education

In conclusion, by learning the criteria and analytical skills introduced in these three papers, and completing the worksheet with ten items utilizing the list of ten aims and the chart of ten types, various school systems, such as the ten cases represent, can be analyzed into types of bilingual education.

References

“Teachers have an amazing opportunity to look at parallels between the education systems of New Zealand and Wales.

Following from post about the New Zealand teachers coming to look at the bilingual system in Wales, they are now here and will be looking at the similarities and differences between the two systems. It will be a unique opportunity for them to see the good practice in both and use this knowledge to improve language learning and bilingual education so I for one will be keeping a close eye on the results.

“The opportunity to swap stories, compare approaches, and form networks makes this an invaluable exchange for those charged with empowering the next generation of first language speakers in both countries.”

Some of the highlights of the report are below.

“I tailor my reo to suit, so for a child who has English as a second language and is new to New Zealand it could be less than for a Maori child who speaks some reo at home,” she said.

“Some kohanga reo [pre-school classes] only take children who speak reo at home so learning between kohanga and home can be consolidated.

Nichola McCall, 27, from Manurewa High School, Auckland, who is making her first
visit to Wales, said: “I want to speak to community leaders, principals and
teachers in Wales and find out how they manage to get that equality between the
two languages.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-19757643

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.