Posted in Content

Teaching ELLs: Arkansas Educator Shares His Approach to Language Instruction – Learning the Language – Education Week

Love, love, love this short article. It warms the cockles of my heart to hear about schools and districts where people are making strides in respecting and supporting the language journey of bilinguals.

I especially love this bit:

A school where every teacher is trained in ESL techniques, in a district where everyone from the custodians to the superintendent respects the family, nation, and culture that each child comes from.

This is the basis of our “Whole-school approach” to language support – all staff are trained ELL staff, and everyone understands the basic tenets of successful school-based bilingualism and inclusive education.

Great job Justin Minkel and Springdale Arkansas!

Teaching ELLs: Arkansas Educator Shares His Approach to Language Instruction – Learning the Language – Education Week.

Posted in Content

The Languages you Speak to Your Bilingual Child | Psychology Today

This is a great article that explains, from the research, why no one method is a guarantee of bilingual success. When I do parent seminars we talk about this a lot. Being an OPOL family doesn’t automatically mean your kids will be bilingual. Having a minority language at home does not automatically mean your kids will be bilingual. Outside of true bilingual communities, successful child bilingualism happens when you pay attention to ensuring adequate quantity and quality of input, and provide meaningful opportunities for language use.
It won’t happen by itself – you need a plan!

A question of primary importance concerns the type and amount of language input the child will receive, mainly from his/her parents but also from other sources.

The Languages you Speak to Your Bilingual Child | Psychology Today.

Posted in Content

Why is bilingual education ‘good’ for rich kids but ‘bad’ for poor, immigrant students? – The Washington Post

This is a fantastic article about the two-sided nature of the bilingualism debate. “Desirable bilingualism” involves children who speak the host-country language and another, high-status language. These bilinguals are considered “lucky” to have two languages. On the other side, immigrants and refugee children who speak a lower-status language and are learning the host-country language are labeled as “deficient” (taalachterstand) and pushed at earlier and earlier ages to conform to a monolingual norm in schools. Discrimination and elitism at its most pernicious….

To put it bluntly, bilingualism is often seen as “good” when it’s rich English speakers adding a language as a hobby or another international language, but “bad” when it involves poor, minority, or indigenous groups adding English to their first language, even when the same two languages are involved.

via Why is bilingual education ‘good’ for rich kids but ‘bad’ for poor, immigrant students? – The Washington Post.

Posted in Content

And now for something completely different… The Language Show Live!

logo.LSL

Tomorrow I am off to London, not to shop, but to talk. In a departure from my normal audience and topic I will be speaking to adults, about adult bilingualism. Although the main focus of my work is helping teachers and parents support child bilingual development, I am not an early bilingual myself. In fact, I came to the bilingualism game quite late, mastering my second language in my 20s. So, I know it is not always “the early bird that gets the worm”. A couple of years ago I had an idea for a talk about bilingualism, focusing on the benefits for everyone who makes the effort to learn another language, rather than just the advantages for children. It’s been bouncing about in my brain for a while, so when this opportunity came up I thought “why not”?
The talk is titled “How languages can change your life” (not a great title but it all happened quite quickly!) and it is based on the following:

Bilingualism opens minds
Bilingualism opens hearts
Bilingualism opens doors

It’s a brief foray into the world of learning and using other languages, and what we all get out of the process, whether or not we are “native-like” at the end of the day.

So, if you happen to be looking for something to do in London on Sunday, the show is free, and looks fantastic. I am speaking on Sunday afternoon, from 13:00-13:45. I always enjoy meeting blog readers (although it’s admittedly a bit odd meeting strangers who “know” me…).

How languages can change your world

Posted in Content

Three years of blogging about bilingualism!

So it happened, the moment every married person dreads… I forgot my anniversary! Thankfully, it was only my blog anniversary, so I only need be angry with myself.

But to mark the milestone, even a few days late, here are some interesting facts:

1. What I blog about: Bilingualism/multilingualism
2. What my “specialization” is: child bilingualism and bilingualism in education
3. What is my objective?: I want to encourage parents and teachers to learn more about bilingualism, to better support children on this fantastic journey. I hope to share theoretical and practical advice, and just generally be a cheerleader along the way.
4. I have made 134 posts over the last three years. Not quite weekly, but I do my best…
5. I have had visitors from 166 countries over the last three years, which is an amazing map to contemplate.
6. I only really like blogging when I have a great idea, or great interaction with a reader. The rest of the time it feels a lot like work… but I think it is worth it!

So that is my three years in a nutshell, I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me.

Posted in Content, Introduction

New Year, New Bilingualism Projects!

To have another language is to possess a second soul.

Charlemagne

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/charlemagn182029.html#trkFxkBroweWuwU0.99

As someone who has lived within the academic world since the age of five years old, I always feel like the beginning of September is the “New Year” for me. The last six months have been very busy for me, both personally and professionally (having three kids will do that for you!) and I’ve not been a very consistent blogger…
So here is a new start, with four projects I am working on – What’s happening with CEC (Crisfield Educational Consulting) this year. Continue reading “New Year, New Bilingualism Projects!”

Posted in Content

Five ways your school can support multilingualism

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As we come to the end of the school year I’ve been reflecting on how much the school impacts successful bilingual development. Most schools are not “bilingual” schools, or “immersion” schools, or indeed any kind of language-based school model. Many schools believe that their only job is to ensure that all their pupils master the language of the school, which therefore absolves them from any need to support multilingualism or the development of their pupils’ “other” languages. This, despite the fact that research clearly demonstrates that the pathway to success in a new language at school is best achieved through supporting the first/home language. Continue reading “Five ways your school can support multilingualism”

Posted in Content

Let’s talk about Dutch Mother Tongue support (Hup! Hup! Holland!)

So as the rest of the country sits wide awake, glued to the Netherlands-Argentina game, I too am considering the position of Dutch in the world, but the language, not the football team. Don’t feel sorry for me; I’d really rather think about language than watch the World Cup semi-finals… (small confession: the game is on, but the sound is muted – I know the horns will alert me if there is a goal).

So why am I pondering support for Dutch as a mother tongue from my sofa in the Netherlands? Because all over the world there are children being raised with Dutch as one of, but not their only language, for a variety of reasons. Some of them may have a parent on a foreign posting (a footballer perhaps?) and others may have a Dutch-speaking parent (or Flemish speaking!) but are being raised outside the Netherlands. But for whatever reason, these children are in the process of being raised as bilinguals, in a place where schooling is not available in their “mother tongue” or L1. Continue reading “Let’s talk about Dutch Mother Tongue support (Hup! Hup! Holland!)”