Volume XVI - April 2, 2005

Welcome to the E-Comp!, a complimentary monthly newsletter for language educators brought to you by Prolinguistica.com. Tell us what you think. Send feedback, comments, submissions and suggestions to Laura Zink de Diaz at : e-comp@prolinguistica.com

Prolinguistica Mini-Workshops Continue!
You'll find information on the content and learning outcomes, registration, etc., at the website: http://www.prolinguistica.com/workshops.html. Teachers can receive three Washington clock hours from The Heritage Institute (www.hol.edu) for each workshop. Sign up for a class if you live within driving distance! Please share this information with your colleagues and any parents you think might be interested in attending. We need this effort to "fly" in order to bring back the big summer workshops on TPR and ESL in 2006!

An Inquiry
J.Schuitemaker@fontys.nl writes:
I am teaching a course on Applied Linguistics to future teachers of English, in a Dutch teachers training college. Part of the course covers approaches and methodologies, including TPR. Now, I used to organize teachers' conferences about teaching foreign languages, and regularly had a trainer come and explain how to use TPR in the classroom, but no longer have a contact name or telephone number.
I would like to know if you have any knowledge of TPR trainers in the Netherlands, who we might invite to come and speak to our students. Any help you can give would be appreciated.
Jenny Schuitemaker
Jenny Schuitemaker MA
Opleidingscoördinator engels
Fontys Hogeschool
Please get in touch with Jenny if you're able to answer her question.

For Your Reading Pleasure

Elephants do impressions

Michael Hopkin
Mimicry of trucks and zoo-mates shows range of vocal repertoire.
They say that elephants never forget. Now the creatures have shown that, when it comes to the fine art of vocal mimicry, they're not averse to learning new tricks either. Researchers have recorded two African elephants (Loxodonta africana) that are adept mimics. One does a decent impression of an Asian elephant, and another is, remarkably, a dead ringer for a passing truck. The skilful impressions are far from the traditional grunts of an average African elephant.
Read more at: http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050321/full/050321-12.html

After-school program packed with world's worth of language
Students take on Chinese, Spanish, French and Japanese
ACE, a national nonprofit language education program established in 1972, has been offering courses to hundreds of students in South Sound for nine years, said Nicole Mercier, regional coordinator for the program. The class was not part of the school district curriculum, but an elective paid for by parents. Normally students take 40 lessons of a single language. But this class was special, Mercier said The L.P. Brown students worked on the four languages for 32 lessons. "We were doing this as an experiment to see how far we could push (the learning curve), and I am amazed at what they learned in just eight lessons for each language," Mercier said. Read about it at: http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20050321/southsound/110374.shtml

Babies Use Their Own Names To Help Learn Language
Newswise — A baby’s understanding of language may begin with its own name, which a baby uses to break sentences into smaller parts so it can learn other words, according to new research by Texas A&M University psychologist Heather Bortfeld, who studies language development in infants and children. Bortfeld’s research, which appears in the upcoming April issue of “Psychological Science,” shows that babies use familiar words such as their names as a sort of “anchor” into the speech stream. A baby as young as six months can learn to recognize an individual word that follows its own name, even after hearing both words as part of whole sentences, says Bortfeld who worked with colleagues from Brown University and the University of Delaware.
Read more about this at: http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/510625/

Bonuses for language schools
By Tony Halpin
THE Government will offer cash bonuses to secondary schools today in an attempt to arrest a sharp decline in the study of foreign languages. Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary, will promise annual grants of £30,000 for specialist language schools to improve the teaching of languages. The money will also be offered to other specialist schools if they opt to add languages as a second specialist subject. Read more about this at: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,591-1519569,00.html

Here we go again....
King introduces bill to make English the official U.S. language

By JANE NORMAN, DesMoines Register
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa embarked on a new push Wednesday to establish English as the official language of the United States, introducing a bill that's drawn the support of 57 other members of Congress. The bill would require that the federal government conduct business in English, with some exemptions. It would also mandate that rules be developed to test the English language ability of immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens. King said in a printed statement that "English is the language of opportunity in America," and learning English opens the doors to better opportunities for immigrants. "The only way to fully learn about American culture, and what makes America truly unique, is through our common bond of the English language," he said. More at: http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050302/NEWS/50302010/1001

On the other hand...
Language issue calls for cool heads

Cape Argus On Line
Language is a very emotive issues as it is strongly linked to our culture, history and sense of being. In South Africa it was used by the colonialists to dominate the country's indigenous people and the vanquished Dutch and their settlers. Under apartheid the Afrikaners used their language to repress other languages and oppress the speakers. In the past few days we have seen the Mikro school debacle, where the school's governing body rejected - and won the subsequent Cape High Court battle - the provincial education department's instruction to transform the school into a dual-medium institution. Now provincial police chiefs have told all their police stations and members that English must be the sole medium of communication within the service. More at: http://www.capeargus.co.za/index.php?fSectionId=460&fArticleId=2428284

Local Districts in Arizona Get 'English Immersion' Assignment
The Mojave Daily News
Sarah Morga reports that the state of Arizona has recently required that all elementary and secondary teachers along with administrators must receive a Structured English Immersion (SEI) endorsement. Arizona is the first state in the nation to require the training, which is designed to help teachers instruct students classified as English Language Learners (ELL).
The entire article can be found at:

Nice Idea!
Día de los Niños / Día de los Libros
Day of the Child / Festival of Books

Austin, TX
Austin's only bilingual celebration of books, reading, and family learning, Día de los Niños / Día de los Libros, will take place on Saturday, April 30, 2005 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the St. John Branch Library and J.J. Pickle Elementary School in Austin. The festival, organized by several Austin community organizations, schools, and volunteers, has been celebrated for seven years, and includes storytellers, dancers, music, free snacks, free books and library cards. The event is free and open to the whole family.
Additional information about the festival is available on the Web at:

Recent Arrivals Better Educated
USA Today
Haya El Nasser reports on the U.S. Census’ recent findings that immigrants who came to the USA this decade are more educated than those who arrived in the late 1990s. The Census data also indicate that the adult children of immigrants are exceeding their parents' income and educational levels.
You can read the article at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-02-21-immigrants_x.htm You can find the 2000 Census Bureau report at:

Hawaiian language enjoying revival in its homeland
By: RON STATON - Associated Press
HONOLULU -- "E heluhelu kakou," Nako'olani Warrington tells her third graders -- let's read together. But there's no need to translate at Ke Kula Kaipuni o Anuenue, a public immersion school where all instruction for the 350 students is in the Hawaiian language. The school represents a turnaround for the native language in the islands, which appeared 20 years ago to be fading away. A 1983 survey estimated that only 1,500 people remained in Hawaii who could speak it, most of them elderly. Today there are probably 6,000 to 8,000 Hawaiian language speakers throughout the state, most of them under the age of 30, said Kalena
Silva, professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii-Hilo.
More at: http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2005/03/13/special_reports/books/15_35_323_12_05.txt

Language skills legacy
My mother-in-law, who speaks Mandarin and Cantonese, used to comment that it was difficult communicating with my son, Ian, when he was in kindergarten. Ian only spoke English when he was a toddler. “It’s like a duck speaking to a chicken,” my mother-in-law would say. I see the same thing happening with my six-year-old daughter, Erin. All about OPOL - one parent, one language, and fostering bilingualism or multilingualism in the family.
Read about it at:

Resources you might be interested in...

This site is maintained by A. J. Hoge, who has been teaching English in Thailand and Japan for some time. A.J. has a LOT of information about language teaching on his website - articles about TPR, TPRS, The Natural Approach, Focal Skills Aproach, Automatic Language Growth, The Silent Period, and more, not to mention lots of links to interesting sites of interest to teachers. Check out A.J.'s site!

Spanish Language Books for Adolescents
California State University San Marcos
The Barahona Center at California State University San Marcos promotes literacy in English and Spanish, with a special focus on books in Spanish for children and adolescents. In the "Recommended Books" section, users can query a database of more than 7,000 recommended books in Spanish from around the world and more than 700 recommended books in English about Hispanic/Latino people and cultures for children and adolescents. There is also information about Spanish language magazines and Web sites. Go to: http://www.csusm.edu/csb/


TPR and Dyslexia
Last month in Singular Minds, my newsletter for people interested in dyslexia, I included a few words about TPR. Shortly after it went out, one of the directors of Davis Dyslexia Association International requested permission to reprint and post it at their website - pretty exciting! Although the information in the article is nothing new to the readers of this newsletter, if you'd like to read it go to: http://www.dyslexia.com/library/tprlanguage.htm . Perhaps you might find it helpful as you explain to colleagues and parents why you use TPR, or as you contemplate how best to work with learning disabled students in your own schools.


Have a great month! And sign up for a mini-workshop!

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