presented by silvana lika and lesley kanef n.
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  1. Presented by Silvana Lika and Lesley Kanef Bilingualism

  2. Introduction Approximately 14% of U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, and of those, about 44% say that they speak English less than very well. From 1997-8 school year to 2008-9 school year, the number of English language learners enrolled in public schools increased from 3.5 million to 5.3 million or 51%. During the same time period, the general population of students grew by 7.2% to 49.5 million.

  3. Bilingualism and Development In the last 30 years research has shown that fluent bilingualism contributes to: • the cognitive development of children: mental flexibility, a superiority in concept formation, and a more diversified set of mental abilities. • the child’s “metalinguistic awareness” – critical component in development of intelligence. National Institute of Medicine (1998): “ Bilingualism, far from impeding the child’s overall cognitive and linguistic development, leads to positive growth in these areas. Programs whose goals are to promote bilingualism should do so without fear of negative consequences. English-language learners who develop their native-language proficiency do not compromise their acquisition of English.”

  4. Controversy on Bilingualism Benefits from bilingualism in development are not accepted universally: Williams and Snipper (1990) argue that bilingualism and cognition exert a reciprocal influence on each other and considering the relationship causal is a misconception. Critics of Bilingual Education- late 1980s the “English only movement” : preserving immigrant’s native language and culture risks to balkanize the American melting pot and hurt children upon which the bilingual education is imposed, as it leaves them unprepared for the workplace. In 1996, more than 100 Hispanic families pulled their children out of the Ninth Street School in Los Angeles. Some 90% of students were unable to speak English.

  5. Controversy on Bilingualism Defenders of bilingual education value the community culture and the sense of self-worth making children’s academic achievement more likely. Rossell (1986): Bilingual education is the ideologically ‘correct’ policy alternative. To support the bilingual education, regardless of its effects on children, is the “civil right” position. To favor alternatives to bilingual education is to be reactionary and racist.

  6. Benefits and Challenges • Knowing two languages provides a student with cognitive and academic advantages. • Allows children to maintain cultural ties with their parents’ heritage, thereby promoting cross-cultural understanding and communication. • Most children become English dominant or even mono-lingual in English- perceived status associated with speaking English. • Children may experience negative attitudes regarding their home language and may even refuse to use it. • Among the consequences of losing the native language is the compromised communication with family members who do not speak English

  7. Bilingual Education/Immersion Classes • “A prevailing idea is that it is very easy for children to learn a new language and that hardly any effort is involved. However, learning language, even one, is a process that takes many years.” Annick DeHouwer • Neuroscience research reveals that, babies learn words and phonemes in a foreign language only when exposed to the language through book reading and play with native speakers, but they do not learn the language when exposed to the same sounds and words through television or audio-only tutors.  • DeHouwer: “Languages are very complex. To learn all their complexities, one needs a lot of life experience. The environment plays an important role in learning to speak.”

  8. Bilingual Education/Immersion Classes • Post signs, ads, and webpage with greeting in the languages of your community. • Include diverse images in the pictures, art and graphics you use to represent your program. • Speak slowly and clearly, avoid slang, be patient, check for understanding, use gestures, write things down. • Display culturally and linguistically authentic materials. • Take the time to get to know a bilingual family’s specific language and culture background so you can prepare to teach their child and meet their needs.

  9. Bilingual Families in the Classroom • Ask families whether they prefer written notices, e-mails, texts or phone calls. • When composing parent communication, use fewer words, simpler language and pictures, graphics and icons to increase readability. • Make the extra effort to learn and pronounce the parents’ and child’s names correctly – begin your relationship with true respect! • Ask for bilingual volunteers: translate school information, explain school procedures, help with tour of the school, provide information about the other culture and language.

  10. Sources of Help • Contact local agencies for materials and information for families in different languages. • Host a multicultural event to thank supporters and invite more help. • Do more than visit the local library – partner with them, let them know the languages you need. • Use bilingual volunteers wherever they are comfortable to help – reading, playing outside, or making phone calls. • Ask experienced bilingual parents to welcome new parents. • Create a Diversity Team of staff, parents, and volunteers. Ask members to read translated materials to make sure they are OK.

  11. Questions and Conclusion • What kind of society we want to create? • If we consider language as a powerful national resource we should make foreign-language acquisition a priority in our schools. • Bilingual education in US is a valuable resource of a population that already speaks a multitude of languages.

  12. Resources • Grant, K.B, & Ray, J.A (2009). Home, school, and community collaboration: Culturally responsive family involvement. California. Sage Publications, Inc. • Greene, P., J. (1998). A Meta-analyses of the Rossell and Baker Review of Bilingual Education Research. University Of Texas at Austin. • Latham S., A. (Nov. 1998). The Advantages of Bilingualism. Educational Leadership. Vol.56, p79, 3p. • Nameth K., N. (2009). Many Languages, One Classroom: Teaching Dual and English Language Learners. Gryphon House. • Rossell, C., H. (1986). Why is Bilingual Education Research So Bed? A critique of the Walsh and Carballo Study of Massachusetts Bilingual Education Programs. Boston University. Center of Applied Social Sciences. 22p. • Rothstein, R. (May, 1998). Bilingual education: The controversy. Phi Delta Kappan. Bloomington. Vol. 79, Issue 9. p672, 6pgs. • Yzaguirre, R. and Jesness, J. (1998). What’s wrong with bilingual education? Education Week. Vol. 17 Issue 43, p72, 3p.

  13. Internet Resources • “Bilingual Education.” (2005 Feb. 15). Issues and Controversies On File. Retrieved 24 Nov. 2009 from Issues and Controversies databases. • – Massachusetts Association for Bilingual Education. • – online magazine with resources for parents of bilingual families. • - A catalog of children’s books in many different languages. • - A great site for teachers of young children who speak different languages.

  14. Internet Resources • – Interesting article in Education Week about bilingualism. • • • •