III - December 1, 2003
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tomorrow zee vorld!
For your reading pleasure…
Children Raised Bilingually May Be Smarter
Scientists continue to unravel the mystery of the brain's role in
the development of language skills -- and with some provocative
results. One new study at Dartmouth College, for example, reveals
that children raised bilingually may actually be "smarter"
than their monolingual peers. These findings add weight to the bilingual
side of the long-running argument about whether children who grow
up bilingual are at an advantage compared to those who learn only
one language. To read the entire article, visit: http://www.rednova.com/news/stories/2/2003/11/13/story005.html
Study of Foreign Languages on the Rise
According to a recent report from the Modern Languages Association,
more students are enrolling in foreign languages than ever before.
Enrollments grew in all languages, even languages that were previously
waning in enrollments numbers, like German and French. Of the languages,
the most commonly taught is Spanish, consisting of 53 percent of
foreign language enrollments. To read the entire article, visit:
U.S. Recruits Professionals in Mexico
More and more educators are being sought in Mexico to teach in the
United States. For example, the Dallas Independent School District,
with a large Spanish speaking population, started taking recruiting
trips to Juárez and other Mexican cities last year because
the district needs 200 to 300 new bilingual teachers a year while
only 200 get certified in the state annually. To read the entire
article, visit: http://www.borderlandnews.com/stories/borderland/20031112-43893.shtml
New French Immersion Program in Canada
According to researchers, a new intensive French immersion program
may offer a solution to not only the decrease in French learners
in Canada, but the high cost of staffing that has caused many schools
in rural areas to stop offering French immersion. The program involves
sixth graders spending the first half of the school year learning
to read, write, and speak French for three-quarters of the day.
At the beginning of the school year, students learn basic French
phrases, and by December, they are discussing topics and writing
in French. The researchers found that students in this program "outperformed
students in English-only schools on provincial tests in math, English
and science." To read the entire article, visit:
Any implications for us?
Pleasure boosts English
To the editor Taipei Times, Saturday, Nov 15, 2003:
In order to improve Taiwanese students' English competence, specifically
performance on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language),
experts have recommended that English education be extended to all
four years of college and that teacher quality be improved ("Students'
English disappoints," Nov. 7, page 2).
Research shows that the best predictor of scores on the TOEFL is
the amount of recreational reading students do, using material that
students select themselves and read for their own pleasure. Other
studies come to very similar conclusions: Students in classes that
emphasize pleasure-reading acquire more grammar and vocabulary than
students in traditional classes.
These studies have been done in several different countries, and
include important work from Taiwan. Professor Sy-ying Lee of National
Taipei University has shown that the amount of pleasure-reading
done was a significant predictor of how well students performed
in a writing test. Of great interest is the finding that the amount
of formal study and the amount of writing did not predict writing
We know from linguistics research that the grammatical system of
any language is far too complex to be taught and learned. Linguists
admit that they have not yet succeeded in accurately describing
all the rules of any language. In addition, academic English requires
a vocabulary of between 50,000 and 150,000 words, which is far too
many to memorize one at a time.
Reading material that interests students allows them to absorb the
complex writing style of English, gradually acquire the huge vocabulary
they need, as well as complex grammatical rules.
Before prescribing "more of the same," we might consider
taking advantage of this easier, more pleasant path.
University of Southern California
Original article at: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2003/11/07/2003074896
College Hopes to Offer Minor in Spanish-Language
California StateUniversity, Northridge (CSUN) began offering courses
this semester "designed to train reporters and editors to work
in the burgeoning field of Spanish-language print and broadcast
media." The hope is that by December 2004 the school will have
in place and approved a minor in Spanish-language journalism..To
read the entire article, visit:
Proficiency Can Take A While in State ESEA Plans
Many states have set the bar so low for children who are learning
English that students in those states could leave high school without
being taught to read or write the language, yet their schools would
face no consequences under federal education law. While the No Child
Left Behind Act has a detailed formula for bringing students to
proficiency on state reading and mathematics tests by the 2013-14
school year, it's much less precise on states' goals for English-language
learners. Read the rest of the article at:: http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=12NCLB.h23
Engaging Multilingual and Multicultural Students
(in Reading Teacher Vol. 57 (3),pp. 242-252)
If you can get hold of a copy of Reading Teacher, this
article might induce your “duh” response, but it might
be worth sharing with colleagues who know less than you do about
multilingual and multicultural students. It explains that it can
be difficult to engage some children in reading. (!) The author
gives examples of preschoolers from very different cultural and
linguistic communities who "use language in powerful ways to
negotiate relationships with other people and to accomplish his
or her own social purposes," yet may not become engaged in
book reading or literacy activities in preschool or kindergarten
because of an upbringing that does not place significance on books.
The cultural environment a child grows up in, particularly the significance
reading plays in that child's life, affects his/her relationship
with books.(!) Thus, a child could be have sophisticated speaking
abilities, yet find little engaging about the written word. The
author offers three suggestions to enhance the preschoolers' and
kindergartners' experiences with books.
(1) "Choose books that relate to children's lives";
(2) "Teach book reading behaviors explicitly"; and
(3) "Make books come alive."
To liven up books, teachers should engage the children in meaningful
conversations about them, create puppet characters the students
can interview or create new stories about or just dramatize the
story, use teacher-made audiotapes for students to listen to.
The article also provides a list of children's books that are particularly
effective at developing an attachment between children and the text.
The Reading Teacher is published by:
International Reading Association
800 Barksdale Road
Newark, DE 19714-8139
Resources you might be interested in…
Eduhound.com Offers Extensive Internet Links
Eduhound.com has a wealth of links in both Spanish and English on
Hispanic education for educators of students in both primary and
secondary schools. Sections include art, language, Aztec, maps,
museums, Spain, Mexico, History, ESL, Mesoamerican, bilingual tutorials,
dictionaries, news, radio and television, and many other categories.
To view the site, visit: http://www.eduhound.com/
Bilingual Motivational Booklets for the Classroom
and the Home
Dr. Steve Moreno's Web site offers bilingual (English/Spanish) parent
and student motivational/informational booklets, language tests,
and other encouraging educational materials for use at parent meetings,
parent-teacher conferences, parent information/education workshops,
tutoring groups, student organizations, motivation-for-college preparation,
student motivation meetings, etc. Free samples available upon request.
For more information, visit: http://www.morenoed.com
eslgo.com Offers Teachers and Students Resources and Free Classes
ESL go.com is a free English web site for learning English as a
second language or teaching English as a second language. The site
offers classroom resources, quizzes, free online classes, forums,
and ESL links. To view the Web site, visit: http://www.eslgo.com/
Think Spanish Magazine
Think Spanish or ¡Piensa en Español! is a monthly magazine
with practical Spanish vocabulary, grammar, lessons and information.
Topics of articles include: culture and travel in Spanish speaking
countries, art and entertainment, current news and events, history,
science. Articles are written in beginning Spanish and a bilingual
glossary accompanies each article. In addition, each issue contains
a monthly tutorial, syntax review, crossword puzzle, functional
idioms and phrases and linguistic comparisons. For more information,
Visit Stephen Krashen’s website: http://sdkrashen.com/
Dr. Krashen has a number of free, downloadable articles there (in
PDF format) on language acquisition, reading, heritage languages…
Most recent titles include,
Cho, G., Shin, F., and Krashen, S. What Do We Know about Heritage
Languages? What Do We Need to Learn About Them? 10 pages.
Krashen, S. Second Language "Standards For Success":
Out Of Touch With Language Acquisition Research 5 pages
Krashen, S. (2002) The Lexile Framework: The Controversy Continues
(2002) : 4 pages
The iLoveLanguages Web Site
Formerly known as "The Human-Languages Page," iLoveLanguages
resources on language learning and language education, including
services, information, and products. To view the Web site, visit:
Got a teaching idea, article, announcement you’d like
to share? Did you try out one of the internet references and have
a comment on its applicability or appropriateness? Send it in to
Laura's attention at email@example.com
and we’ll publish it in the newsletter, giving you credit
for your brilliance! YOU can make this a really outstanding newsletter!!
As usual, please excuse any typos you find!!!
Have wonderful holiday season!