Maths – HELP !!!!

 

Y + 3 = 9

Am calling out to bloggers for good sites for secondary Key-stage 3 sites preferably UK based. I am teaching maths – a little departure from my normal subject – and am looking for interesting ways to teach algebra… particularly to the lower levels. Any resources or pieces of advice, good starters to get them focussed will be helpful. Thank you.

I have a constant change of new arrivals with limited or no English.

Last week I was asked this proverbial question.  It comes up time and again and is increasing as children and society becomes more mobile schools who have had few or non EAL learners are now experiencing a different type of school day.

I left the question for open discussion during the training so that everyone could support the question. 

What came out was a lot of common sense and also positive affirmation that they are not alone. Many schools now find this a termly discussion and those with children from the travelling children experience it more.

Advice ranged from remembering that:

  1. We are teachers and every child that comes into our classroom has the right to an education (not always easy, but we must do our best to achieve this even with limited resources)
  2. You need to assess what they know and move from there otherwise they could present behavioural challenges
  3. When meeting the parent/ ask where they last went to school – if in the same country you maybe able to get some previous records even if limited it will support you a little more in finding resources that match the child’s ability to move them forward.
  4. When talking to parents create an atmosphere that says I am caring and am not prying re. e.g. previous records but I want to help your child. Some do respond.
  5. Invite the parents in, some teachers report creating ICT workshops for parents to meet together and allowed them to email relatives in their previous country or county. One teacher loved sewing so encouraged a sewing and natter group it really improved the parents perception of the school, the teacher has proper time to do some sewing that she could use with the children, the parents English improved and little molehills of problems were discussed and so mountains were reported less and less as the group gelled. It was agreed that if you choose to set up a club starting with something you are interested in then it will work.
  6. Where groups are running well and the people are secure you may pick up titbits that actually when shared help in the school or in your classroom.

If you have any further ideas please feel free to share them with us.

 

 

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.

Maori bilingual school wins in national sign language competition

Such a heart warming story.  Learners in a Maori school win a national sign langauge competition

“We do lots of trilingual stuff all the time. They speak in English, we speak in Maori and they sign.

http://www.tenews.maori.nz/2012/08/maori-bilingual-school-te-korowai-o-te-aroha-came-runner-up-at-national-sign-language-competition/

The year 0 to year 6 Maori bilingual unit at Te Korowai o te Aroha was definitely the best in its age bracket and was the best in the North Island.

A Christchurch intermediate school won the first AUT StarSign sign language competition during national sign language week at the beginning of August but senior teacher Robin Taua-Gordon and teacher aide Khrystal Morunga say they are pleased for their kids who competed against high school students for the prize.

“We’re successful here, not in spite of where we are, but ‘because of’, you know,” Ms Taua-Gordon says. “We expect excellence in everything we do.”

The AUT competition saw schools signing the national anthem and fitted in well with the unit’s methodology.

“We do lots of trilingual stuff all the time. They speak in English, we speak in Maori and they sign.

“If you ask any child in our whanau how many official languages there are in our country, they’ll all answer three.”

The unit does have a deaf child and she says when students are signing it helps to reinforce what they’re learning in Maori.

All of the teachers helped the students to sign. And she says the students ability to sign is a benefit. The five to 11-year-olds all sign throughout their day’s education.

Te Korowai o te Aroha’s entry was recorded around the school.

Ms Taua-Gordon says that while she was editing the video, overlaying the soundtrack, they realised that they’d signed too slowly for the suggested version of the anthem.

“So I found a Dennis Marsh and it was in English and Maori and we whacked that on as a backing track,” she says. “Lots of our families like him.”

She says all she was really expecting from the video was a little bit of recognition.

And that the competition really spoke to the unit’s emphasis on inclusivity.

The school has been operating as a trilingual unit for nearly two years as they’ve strived to ensure that all their students are able to participate in the class.

“No matter what shape, size, colour, anything, we like to think all the kids know that they’re all special,” Ms Morunga says.

Are colleges getting too big and forgetting their learners?

As I drove past one of our local secondary schools today I could see that the hoarding had been taken down leaving what looked like a huge community rather than a school. I started thinking that in a week or so children aged 11 will be moving from their previous welcoming primary school  to this huge building that feels harsh, scary and over powering.

I began questioning in my mind whether some schools (many now called colleges) are too much about business and profit and if they have forgotten that main priority should be learning and their pupils. Apart from selling these students how lovely to have a new building etc, do they actually think how these young people feel.

What does everyone else think?

 

Advice for my first MFL lesson as an NQT – UK

I saw this and wondered if anyone had any ideas to suggest.

Hi All,  I am starting my NQT job next week and am looking for some advice, particularly regarding my introductory lesson with each class. I definitely want to do something on classroom rules. I just wondered if anybody has done this successfully before and how you went about it? Did you use the TL throughout or stay in English?  Thanks for your help, H

Reply at: http://community.tes.co.uk/forums/t/585859.aspx

Personally I think with all first lessons you should establish your expectations and where possible involve them in the rule setting.  However know the schools rules otherwise  they could try to trip you up.

It’s also good to let them know why they have to be followed i.e. they want everyone to listen to them when it is their turn etc. Also what the sanctions are if they are not followed, again quote school procedure and be prepared to follow through anything you say. Your confidence and tone will let them know that you mean it.

Remember that it also fine to put it on the lesson plan and take the time it needs to establish your rules. After this quickly praise anyone following through the right way usually 5 praises to a negative works.

I’m Deaf – Why cann’t I be bilingual?

At this years Education Show I met an inspirational person called Deborah Reynolds  who was telling me all about sign langauge and the need in schools all over the UK as well as asking me whether the Primary Language Awards in 2013 would include sign language in the other category.  I can confirm that this will be happening this year.

http://www.schoolofsignlanguage.com/about to find out more about the UK Sign language school

I remembered this because of this story which looks at bilingualism and deafness. It is interesting that many think that if  a child is deaf then literacy and linguistic ability is positively ignored. This article argues the case for bilingualism and the added dimensions it gives to these learners.  What do you think?

The brain-boosting benefits of bilingualism have been in the news quite a lot of late, and for good reason. The collective results of neurological and psychological studies show that bilingual thinking has a profound effect on the brain’s executive function, and bilingualism produces positive results in areas ranging from greater cognitive flexibility and faster response times to staving off dementia. With the backing of such staunch scientific proof, it seems only reasonable that educators, medical professionals and parents would advocate for bilingual education for children, and often they do; integrating foreign language learning into early education is an oft-cited goal for curriculum developers. But for deaf children, bilingualism as an educational option is ignored and in many cases even actively discouraged. The result is a child at risk of not mastering any languages, and therefore failing to reach his or her linguistic and cognitive potential.

It’s been proven since the 1960s that American Sign Language (ASL) has all the characteristics of a full and natural language, with a syntax and vocabulary independent of English, so the benefits of ASL-English bilingualism are the same as bilingualism between any two spoken languages. (I’m referring here to ASL and English, but the same holds true for signed and spoken language bilingualism in countries around the world.) So why would parents or educators try to stunt a child’s growth?

It isn’t a case of ill-intent, but rather simple misinformation. The media characterizes cochlear implants as miracle cures for deafness, and in the face of such impressive-sounding technology those who advocate for sign language education seem out-of-date or bitter about the potential loss of Deaf culture. In reality, though cochlear implants have provided hundreds of thousands of deaf people with unprecedented access to sound, as yet they cannot restore normal hearing. Success rates as to whether the user will be able to hear or understand sound and speech vary greatly, so deaf children accessing language solely through imperfect technology get fewer chances to acquire language than their hearing peers, and fall behind because of it.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-technology, nor am I advocating for deaf separatism. Learning written and spoken English should be a top priority in deaf education; it’s essential for a successful integration into mainstream society. However, promoting speech shouldn’t mean sacrificing linguistic understanding, and it doesn’t have to. If given the chance, deaf children can acquire language through the natural process of incidental learning via signed language, because the visual modality allows for one-hundred percent access to linguistic information at all times. Having a strong linguistic foundation with which to think about language then allows a child to go on and learn a second language without frustration or the threat of developmental delay. But because of the stigma surrounding signing, children are often denied access to language in favor of promoting access to speech.

The arguments against ASL are many; the use of ASL prevents a child from learning to speak; learning ASL is hard; the distinct syntax and structure of ASL lowers deaf children’s reading levels. But the suggestion that ASL prevents a child from speaking is irrational, and illustrates a double standard in the education of deaf versus hearing children. Parents of a hearing child would never be instructed to stop speaking Spanish, French, Azerbaijani, etc, with their child in the worry that the child would not be able to learn English. In fact, teaching basic signs to hearing babies is trendy of late. It’s thought to decrease frustration, facilitate early communication and actually encourage speech. The idea that knowing two languages could hurt one’s reading ability is also tenuous. While some statistics show lower reading levels for deaf children, this data also includes children educated with oral methods, and research shows that children who have exposure both ASL and spoken English read better than those who know just one or the other. And the suggestion that verbal communication is easier for families should be met with question easier for whom?

With bilingualism, deaf children will not only catch up to their hearing peers, but also have access to the advantages of linguistic and cultural diversity experienced by bilingual thinkers everywhere. That is, if we let them.

Author Bio:

Sara Blazic is an instructor of undergraduate writing at Columbia University, freelance literary translator, and the founder of Redeafined (www.redeafined.com

with thanks to:

http://linguagreca.com/blog/2012/06/silencing-bilingualism/

Do you want to win 10 books for your school – UK

Just seen this from TTS.

For years TTS has brought you the highest level of innovation when it comes to hands on teacher resources, now we’re also bringing you the best teacher books!
Our range of practical books covers everything from Teacher Support to D&T. Visit the publishing section of our website to see our full range.
You could win 10 books of your choice from the new range worth £150!  Click on the link below.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BJ2YGQF

Study shows bilingual students have better attention – USA

This is really interesting the research shows that again being bilingual is of great value.  Instinctively I know this but it is great to see that there are people out there researching it to give us the evidence base. This should help pupils all over the world as education establishments realise it is unfair to almost block out the pupils first langauge but instead embrace it, celebrate it and use it as the cornerstone for integrating into their establishment and for teaching the pupil their preffered establishments language.

It reminds me of when I moved from Wales to England and taught in London where there was a predominantly Greek Cypriot Community both at school and in the surrounding area and being really surprised when the then HeadTeacher stood in Assembly and said I have done  a survey and in this school we have 37 langauges but the schools langauge is English and I expect everyone to comply with this.  This was great for me as a new teacher because it made it easier for all, and she had the balance right becasue we also had a cultural day which was almost unheard of at the time run by the parents. The pupils were able to dress in their clothes, eat their food, and generally share their customs.  It was the first time I got to try and understand the Greek style of Meze eating -and I was an adult, but loved it.

This is the article that dug out that lovely memory.

Speaking two languages fluently helps improve attention, according to new Northwestern research findings.
The research, which was published April 30 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studied 25 monolingual and 23 bilingual incoming high school freshmen.

Viorica Marian, NU department chair of communication sciences and disorders and the study’s author, said researchers believe that in bilingual people’s brains, both languages are constantly active.

When bilingual people speak or listen, they have to learn to subconsciously block out the other language processing center. In everyday life, this translates to better attention.

Researchers first measured the subjects’ proficiency to confirm their language fluency. All monolinguals spoke only English and all bilinguals spoke only English and Spanish.

Researchers connected the subjects’ brains to electrodes that measured the sound waves generated in the brain stem, a part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord. Subjects listened to a simple sound, the syllable “Da” repeated several times. For this part, both groups’ brain waves looked similar, Marian said.
However, when researchers added background noise in addition to the sounds, they found that bilinguals were better able to block out the extra noise.

“When a background noise was incorporated, like in a noisy restaurant, bilinguals showed an advantage over monolinguals, suggesting that bilingualism helps individuals process sounds better,” Marian said.

Marian said that recently, other researchers have shown similar effects in other sections of the brain, but she said the brain stem is different. Because it is a primitive structure in the brain, this research also indicates that these abilities may be one of the brain’s natural and basic functions.

In addition to the sound tests, researchers also gave participants cognitive tests of attention. Marian said the participants whose brains were the best at blocking excess noise also showed the best attention.

“So it seems to be this highly interrelated system,” Marian said. “The biological system influences function and the function influences the biology.”

She added that new research has shown that with each language someone learns, it becomes easier to learn a further language.

Marian, who grew up speaking Romanian and Russian and later learned English, said her future research will focus on people who have become bilingual later in life, such as during high school or college. She said she hopes that demographic changes in the United States will make bilingualism more common.

dschlessinger@u.northwestern.edu