Volume IV - January 1, 2004


Happy New Year!

Welcome to the E-Comp!, a complimentary monthly newsletter for language educators brought to you by Prolinguistica.com.
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For your reading pleasure…

A Hybrid Tongue or Slanguage?
(A special thank you to Chuck Leake of San Jose, Costa Rica for submitting this story!)
Spanglish, a mix of Spanish and English, is hip lingo to some -- including marketers -- but a mangling of two languages to others.
Spanglish, the fluid vernacular that crosses between English and Spanish, has been a staple in Latino life in California since English-speaking settlers arrived in the 19th century. And for much of that time, it has been dismissed and derided by language purists — "neither good, nor bad, but abominable," as Mexican writer Octavio Paz famously put it. But the criticism has done little to reduce the prevalence of Spanglish, which today is a bigger part of bilingual life than ever before. Now it's rapidly moving from Latino neighborhoods into the mainstream. Spanglish is showing up in television and films, with writers using it to bring authenticity to their scripts and to get racy language past network executives. Marketers use it to sell everything from bank accounts to soft drinks. Hallmark now sells Spanglish greeting cards. And McDonald's is rolling out Spanglish TV spots that will air on both Spanish- and English-language networks. In academia, once a bastion of anti-Spanglish sentiment, the vernacular is now studied in courses with names like "Spanish Phonetics" and "Crossing Borders." Amherst College professor Ilan Stavans published a Spanglish dictionary with hundreds of entries — from gaseteria (which means "gas station") to chaqueta (for "jacket," instead of the Spanish word "saco"). Stavans said new Spanglish words are being created all the time, altering traditional notions of language purity that remained strong just a generation ago. To read the rest of the article go to: http://www.latimes.com/la-me-spanglish27dec27,1,1123111.story

Well-Stocked Libraries Contribute to Student Achievement

Donna Baumbach, a professor at the University of Central Florida, has released the executive summary of her study "Making the Grade: The Status of School Library Media Centers in the Sunshine State and How They Contribute to Student Achievement." The report states the following findings:
- A well-stocked library increases student reading scores at all levels
- Libraries staffed by media specialists had a positive effect on student reading levels
- Test scores were higher in schools with a full-time professional librarian and assistant than in schools with part-time media-center help.
The report also lists some activities that qualified media specialists perform to increase test and reading scores. To read the executive summary, visit: http://www.sunlink.ucf.edu/makingthegrade/summary.pdf
For more information, contact:
Donna Baumbach
Email: baumbach_d@wizard.firn.edu

New NCSET Brief Focuses on "Teaching for Understanding"
While traditional lectures, exercises, and drills may help students memorize facts and formulas and get the right answers on tests, this time-honored style of teaching does not help students achieve the depth of understanding they need to understand complex ideas and apply knowledge in new settings or situations. This Research to Practice Brief outlines research regarding an approach called "teaching for understanding," which strives to engender in students a depth of understanding on academic topics that enables them to apply the knowledge in various settings. Suggestions and resources for application of this approach are also provided, as well as a table entitled the "Relationship of Authentic and Inclusive Teaching and Learning to Principles of Teaching for Understanding." The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET) coordinates national resources, offers technical assistance, and disseminates information related to secondary education and transition for youth with disabilities in order to create opportunities for youth to achieve successful futures. You can read the brief at: http://www.ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=1309
And for more information about NCSET, contact:
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
Institute on Community Integration
University of Minnesota
6 Pattee Hall
150 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis MN 55455
Tel: (612) 624-2097
Fax: (612) 624-9344
Email: ncset@umn.edu
http://www.ncset.org/

Shades of the l960s…


From the Congressional Record
: December 9, 2003 (Extensions)
Page E2493
INTRODUCTION OF NATIONAL SECURITY LANGUAGE ACT
HON. RUSH D. HOLT
of New Jersey
in the House of Representatives
Monday, December 8, 2003


Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, we can no longer keep our nation safe if we do not commit ourselves to learning the languages and cultures of critical areas around the world. The security of our troops overseas and the American people here at home demand that we act quickly to eliminate the severe shortage of critical need language professionals in this country. Inaction on this issue is not only irresponsible; it's dangerous.
That's why I rise today to introduce legislation, the National Security Language Act, which would significantly expand our investment in foreign language education on the primary, secondary, and post-secondary level.
You can read the full text of the act at: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_cr/hr3676.html

Audio interview with Stephen Krashen
Go to:
http://www.classroomstruggles.org/home.htm
to hear an interview with Dr. Krashen that touches on testing, reading instruction and English language learning. To listen you need RealAudio. There’s a link at the website to download it if you don’t have it.

Texas Wants to Profit from Dead Teachers
You're a retired teacher who has spent most of your life in one of the most noble of professions. You were underappreciated and underpaid, but you'd do it again because of the lives you've touched. Would you like to do one more selfless act that will benefit others? Well, why don't you just die? The Dallas Morning News has reported that, with Gov. Rick Perry's backing, former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm is floating a plan in which the state will buy life insurance policies on thousands of retired teachers and use the death benefits to fund the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, which provides pensions and health insurance policies for retired teachers. Read the rest of the story by Cary Clack, San Antonio Express-News at:
http://susanohanian.org/show_atrocities.php?id=1484

Mexico's Dropout Economy
Many Students Quit After Sixth Grade to Help Their Families
According to government education officials, at least 300,000 Mexican children each year drop out of school after the sixth grade. Some last a year or two more, but the average Mexican has left school by age 14. Unable to compete with better-trained workforces elsewhere, Mexico has largely settled for a niche in low-skilled assembly jobs. Now it is even losing those to China, where low-skilled workers are paid less. Business leaders here are pleading for an education revolution. Mexico ranks last among OECD countries in investment in primary education. To read the rest of the story go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8909-2003Nov23.html

Language learning in steep decline in Great Britain
Modern languages are in dramatic decline in English secondary schools and universities, with a survey suggesting that 60% of comprehensive schools are scrapping compulsory language learning as the government moves to make them optional after 14. A poll carried out for the government's own languages advisory body also reveals a gulf opening between rich and poor in language learning. The research shows an apparent trend for pupils to opt out of languages, given the choice, with the majority of schools that have ended compulsion saying that more than half of youngsters this year chose not to study them after 14. In one school, nine out of 10 pupils opted to drop languages, while others reported 11-year-old pupils refusing to work hard at the subject because they knew they could opt out later. German is being particularly badly hit, and French is also in decline, though Spanish take-up has risen marginally. Read the rest of the story at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1086756,00.html

Man Hopes To Revive Salish Language
Joshua Brown’s quest is to revive Salish, a Native American language that has less than a hundred tribal members remaining who are fluent in it. Mr. Brown originally founded the Salish language-immersion school, Nk(w)usm (One Fire) in Arlee, Montana for this purpose. Now, using the $60,000 award he recently received from Echoing Green, a non-profit organization in New York that provides social entrepreneurs with seed money, Mr. Brown plans on organizing a non-profit that will "expand and elaborate on the mission of the school, working in tandem with it...to revive Salish as a spoken, used and useful language and as a tool for cultural revival." For more about Mr. Brown's struggle to save the Salish language go to: http://www.montanaforum.com/rednews/2003/11/25/build/tribal/salish.php?nnn=5

Closed Lids, Closed Minds
The Oct. 10, 1987, Orlando Sentinel carried an Associated Press story which began, "TACOMA, Wash -- A boy was penned in a coffin-sized box for two years because his step-grandmother feared he was brain-damaged, and when he emerged he was amazed to learn that not all children are shut up in the same way, prosecutors said Friday." The kid spent two years in a box. Did he scream to get out? No. Did he feel abused? Apparently not. Was he unhappy? The news item gives no hint that he was. He illustrates, literally, the difficulty of "thinking outside the box." The main problem, of course, wasn't the box. It wasn't even locked. The main problem was in the boy's head. He stayed in the box because he was convinced that his situation was right and proper. We're all bundles of little boxes of unexamined beliefs about what's right and proper. Lots of those boxes have to do with schooling. Read the rest of this interesting examination of our preconceptions about schooling at: http://susanohanian.org/atrocity_fetch.php?id=1418

And in the “everything old is new again” category…
Half the Pupils in a New Jersey School Are Learning Knitting
Judith Symonds, an instructional aide at Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood, N.J., started the knitting program last year as a winter activity, something to do at recess when the playground was too wet or frozen. Ms. Symonds taught 85 children and 20 adults how to knit. As others heard about the program, they wanted in, too. It grew so popular that the sessions continued even as the spring thaw came, right up until the very last day of school. They resumed as soon as school started in September. Now, more than 250 of the school's 535 pupils take part in the program, which still takes place in the hallway during recess. The principal, Kristopher Harrison, has learned to knit along with the children. And sometimes, the school's head custodian, Malik Muhammad, also sits and knits. The program, called Knitting Together a Community, proved so alluring that Ms. Symonds started an evening session so parents and children could knit together. She has also talked to teachers and parents from other schools who want to start their own knitting programs. Read all about the benefits reaped at: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/26/nyregion/26KNIT.html

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Resources you might be interested in…

U.N. Launches a new CD-ROM
United Nations has launched a new CD-ROM entitled "Discover the U.N. and Have Fun." Users learn about how the U.N. works by playing an interactive computer game. An English-French version is currently available, but in the future it will also be produced in Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese, "and will be expanded to cover the work of specialized agencies for health, labor and other areas." The cost of the disc is $10.
You can read more about the CD-ROM and learn how to purchase it at:
http://www.unece.org/press/pr2003/03gen_p13e.htm

Web Site for Teachers of Spanish as a Second Language
Teachers of Spanish as a Second Language might want to visit the Cervantes Center Web site. The site includes sections for adults, teens, and children on the Spanish language in its various forms: graphic, musical, and written. There are other interesting sections as well.
Visit: http://cvc.cervantes.es/portada.htm

PBS Web Site Offers Materials in Spanish and English
The PBS Web site offers materials in Spanish and English for children and parents. The Web site includes sections on "Talking With Children," "Reading to Children," "Other Questions Parents Ask" and "Resources for Multilingual Families." The first three sections answer questions parents might have when raising children in more than one language.
To visit this site in English, go to:
http://www.pbs.org/parents/issuesadvice/talkingandreading/literacyupdates/multifamilies/main.html
To visti the same site in Spanish, go to:
http://www.pbs.org/parents/issuesadvice/talkingandreading/literacyupdates/multifamilies/spanish/spmain.html

"Connecting Students' Past and Future. Preserving Cultural Stories"
At the 2003 IRA Conference last May, Dr. Elia Vazquez-Montilla, Dr. Lizzie Gonzales, and Dr. Carolyn Spillman from Florida Gulf Coast University presented the importance of storytelling as well as its many functions. The presenters provided practical examples of classroom activities that enhance storytelling. In addition, they also described the educational benefits of storytelling.
To download the slide show, visit: http://www.reading.org/orlando/spillman.ppt

Lulu's Games and More in Both French and English
Lulu's Games, a French/English Web site, offers a great deal of materials to practice the French language. There are games for children starting at 4 years of age and for those 7 and older, also puzzles, rhymes, and much more. The games are organized by themes, such as "Logic, strategy" and "About mathematics."
In English: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/jeux.lulu/english.htm
In French: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/jeux.lulu/index.htm

All Info About Spanish! Web Site
All Info About Spanish! is a Web site that offers students, teachers, and lovers of the Spanish language free resources. Sections include resources/tools, lessons/features, fun stuff, sound files, quizzes, and a special section just for beginners. Each week the site features a new lesson. To see the current featured lesson and the rest of the site go to: http://spanish.allinfo-about.com. There is also a forum at: http://forums.delphiforums.com/espeakespanol/start/ where students can practice Spanish by chatting with others or taking mini-tests, ask language questions, and meet other Spanish lovers from around the world.

ESL Blues
For a simple example of Intelligent Computer Aided Language Learning (ICALL) on the Internet, check out the Web site ESL Blues. Students can take a diagnostic test, and then based on his/her incorrect responses, practice training is provided. Go to: http://www.collegeem.qc.ca/cemdept/anglais/trouindx.htm

College-Planning Process in Spanish
The College Foundation of North Carolina (CNFC) has recently made available comprehensive information about the college-planning process for educators, parents, and students in Spanish on its web site at http://www.CFNC.org .
To view the Spanish section, visit: http://www.ncmentor.org/espanol/

French sites

Web site for children: http://www.asapfrance.net

The Resource Center for the Teaching of French
The Resource Center for the Teaching of French is a collaborative effort of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, Yale University and the Connecticut State Board of Education. It works with Programs in International Educational Resources in the Yale Center for International and Area Studies (YCIAS-PIER), the Connecticut State Board of Education and the Embassy of France supporting and encouraging the use of the best pedagogical practices and disseminating innovative curricular models and material at all levels in Connecticut. It enriches the teaching of French language, literature and culture at the elementary, middle and secondary (K-12) levels, primarily, as well as at the post-secondary (university) level in Connecticut. It contributes to the development of curricula and methods for training pre-service and in-service teachers.Visit the website at:
http://www.yale.edu/ycias/pier/rctf/
For information on the Resource Center please contact:
Mireille Déchelette, Director
Resource Center for the Teaching of French
55 Whitney Avenue, Room 301
New Haven, CT 06510
Phone: (203) 764-8350 - Fax: (203) 764-8351
E-mail: mireille.dechelette@yale.edu

The New Neighbors: A User's Guide to Data on Immigrants in U.S. Communities
This is a new publication about changing immigration patterns. The guide provides an overview of national trends in immigration and a review of data sources useful for answering policy and research questions. Figures in the guide are based primarily on U.S. Census 2000 data. They include the following findings:
- Immigrants Disperse to New Growth States - The five states with the fastest growing immigrant populations are North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada, Arkansas and Utah.
- Latin Americans and Asians Predominate among the Foreign-born - Fifty-two percent of foreign-born immigrants are from Mexico or other Latin American countries.
- More than Half of Recent Arrivals are Limited English Proficient - Sixty percent of immigrants who arrived during the 1990s are limited English proficient.
You can read an overview and download a PDF version of the report at:
http://www.urban.org/Template.cfm?Section=ByTopic&NavMenuID=62&template=/TaggedContent/ViewPublication.cfm&PublicationID=8568
Or contact:
The Urban Institute
2100 M Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Tel: (202) 833-7200
Additional reports on immigration issues are also available at http://www.urban.org


New CD Highlights GWU's Training for All Teachers Project
Copies of a new CD are available at no cost from The George Washington University's Project PAACT (Preparing all Administrators, Counselors, and Teachers to work with Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students).
The CD, "Preparing All Educators for Student Diversity: Lessons for Higher Education," features video clips of faculty within GSEHD’s departments of Educational Leadership, Counseling/Human Organizational Studies, and Teacher Preparation and Special Education discussing the lessons learned from PAACT and resources for institutions of higher education and professional development schools. Email your request and address to:
Patricio Sanchez
Research Associate
psanchez@edpolicy.gwu.edu
More information and resources from the PAACT project, including the new concept paper series, are available at the PAACT Web site: http://www.ihediversity.gwu.edu
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A Funny:
(A special thank you to Josep Portella, of Cataluna, Spain, who submitted this item!)
For a humorous - but affectionate - comparison of Italians to the rest of the EU, visit this site:
http://users.pandora.be/stefdirrix/flash/italy.htm

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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 e-comp@prolinguistica.com and we’ll publish it in the newsletter, giving you credit for your brilliance! YOU can make this a really outstanding newsletter!!

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There will be no E-Comp! edition February 1, 2004.
Have a great couple of months, and we’ll appear in your inbox again March 1, 2004!
Laura

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