Volume XXIII - February 1, 2006

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


Grant Opportunities, Workshops, Conferences…

TPR Workshop - Todd McKay
Location: Anderson School District Five - West Side HS - Anderson, SC
Date: Friday, February 17, 2006
Time: 9-4
"TPR and Beyond". Workshop will focus on TPR but also address using TPRS and other communicative activities.

Administrator Exchange
Deadline – February 20, 2006.
The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program is currently seeking candidates for
six-week, administrative job-shadowing exchanges in Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Mexico, Romania, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Applicants must be current elementary/secondary school or district administrators; two-year college administrators, or teacher training institution administrators. Administrators will work together with the foreign administrator as a team, shadowing and sharing administrative duties. Exchanges may be in the areas of personnel administration, curriculum development, student affairs, or educational policy and methodology. For more information and a link to the application, please visit the website under the OTHER OPPORTUNITIES page:

The 2006 Central States Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (CSC)
Hyatt Regency, Chicago, IL
March 9 - 11.
The conference registration deadline is February 13.

Whole Language Umbrella Literacies for All Summer Institute
Call for Proposals
The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)
Charlotte, NC
July 13-16, 2006

American Councils 2006 Summer Russian Language Teachers Program
Applications are due by March 1, 2006
ACTR/ACCELS is currently accepting applications for the 2006 Summer Russian Language Teacher Program at Moscow State University. Approximately 15 to 20 participants will be fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Fulbright-Hays. Applicants must be either graduate students preparing for a career in Russian language education or current teachers of Russian at the university, secondary school or elementary school level, and must be US citizens or permanent residents. Applications from K-12 teachers of Russian are especially encouraged.Approximate program dates: June 13, 2006 to August 1, 2006. (Contact American Councils for exact dates.) For more information and an application contact:
Outbound Programs
American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS
1776 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 833-7522

Illinois TESOL/BE Annual Conference
Illinois Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and Bilingual Education (Illinois TESOL/BE)
Naperville, Illinois
March 3-4, 2006
The Illinois Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and Bilingual Education (Illinois TESOL/BE) will hold its 32nd Annual Convention on March 3-4, 2006, at the Holiday Inn Select in Naperville, Illinois.
For more information, visit http://www.itbe.org

Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics
Georgetown University
Washington, DC
March 3-5, 2006
The Faculty of Languages and Linguistics at Georgetown University will hold its 2006 Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT) from March 3-5, 2006 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The event will focus on the definition, documentation, and development of endangered and minority languages and language varieties.

U.S.-China Teachers Exchange
Program Seeking Applicants
Application deadline for the 2006-2007 school year is March 15, 2006.
The National Committee on United States-China Relations is now seeking applications for an exchange program for teachers in American and Chinese schools. The American K-12 teachers in China teach English as a foreign language. The Chinese teachers, all of whom speak English, teach Chinese history, language, and culture, and/or English as a second language, in participating American schools. For more information about the Teachers Exchange Program, please write to the Teachers Exchange Program at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, 71 West 23rd Street, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10010-4102. Interested teachers may also learn more about the program at: www.ncuscr.org/TeachersExchange/
and should write or call Margot Landman (mlandman@ncuscr.org) or Anna Bautista (abautista@ncuscr.org) to request
application packets.

American Indian Language Development Institute
The University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
June 5 - June 30, 2006
AILDI is a four-week residential summer program, offering six credit hours at the graduate and undergraduate level that can be applicable toward ESL and other state endorsements or any other university program. This year's theme is, "Gathering Talk: Documenting, Describing and Revitalizing Our Languages."
To receive an application, contact:
American Indian Language Development Institute
The University of Arizona
Department of Language, Reading, and Culture
College of Education, Room 517
P.O. Box 210069
Tucson, AZ 85721-0069
Phone: (520) 621-1068
Fax: (520) 621-8174
Email: aildi@u.arizona.edu

German Summer School
University of Rhode Island
June 25 - August 4, 2006
Six week immersion program, consisting of two 3 week sessions. Fully accredited, full language program from beginning to advanced level, graduate level courses for teachers, and financial aid is available.
For more information contact:
Norbert Hedderich
Director, Deutsche Sommerschule am Atlantik
hedderich@uri.edu (401) 874-4710

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN
June - August, 2006
The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at the University of Minnesota will host a summer institute program for second language teachers from June - August, 2006. The program focuses on the linking research and theory with practical applications for the classroom.
For more information about the Summer Institites, visit the CARLA Web site: http://www.carla.umn.edu/institutes/
Applications are due by April 14, 2006.
For more information and application materials, visit the CARLA Web site or contact Klaas van der Sanden by E-mail at esc@umn.edu.

Summer Seminars in Guatemala for Ohio Spanish Teachers
July 26 - Aug. 11, 2006 (tentative).
The Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at The Ohio State University announce this year's intensive Summer Seminars Abroad, a two-week workshop in language and linguistics in Antigua, Guatemala. The purpose of the program is to provide selected students with an opportunity to analyze and practice the Spanish language in a natural linguistic and cultural context, and to receive university credit for that experience. The program is intended primarily for Spanish teachers. Application is open, however, to undergraduate and graduate students from Spanish and other disciplines who have a demonstrated ability in the use of the Spanish language and a need for this type of course. Both native and non-native speakers of Spanish are invited to apply. Applications will be available soon! More
information is available at: http://oia.osu.edu/ssast/.
Contact Jenny at spolnik.1@osu.edu or 614-292-6053 for more information..

For Your Reading Pleasure

"What We Don't Know Can Hurt Them"
Article in Phi Delta Kappan
January 2006, Vol. 87, No. 5
Phi Delta Kappa International
In her article entitled, "What We Don't Know Can Hurt Them: White Teachers, Indian Children," author Bobby Ann Starnes delves into what educators do and do not know when teaching Native American children, such as how and the conditions under which Native American children learn and process information. Starnes suggests educators need to recognize the importance of culture and community for Native American children and offers some suggestions for future practices such as educating teachers, ensuring ongoing support for staff and educators, and creating a culture of safety in schools. (Not available on line without a subscription)

Speak YOUR Languages
Highline Public Schools
Seattle, WA
Highline Public Schools (Seattle, WA) has produced a set of videos designed to motivate students, especially heritage language speakers, to maintain and develop their skills in languages other than English. The series is called Speak YOUR Languages, and the videos profile bilingual professionals whose language ability led them to exciting careers. Learn more about it at:
Highline Public Schools educators are also piloting a Student Interpreter program where bilingual students train for a semester and then provide interpreting services to their schools and community. If you are interested in the Student Interpreter program and its associated training course, the Highline Public Schools would like to learn more about your organization and your interest in this project.
E-mail them at speakyourlanguages@hsd401.org and they will respond with additional information.

Miamis maintain culture against odds
Cindy Mangan and Luke Hovee
Outside, men played drums and chanted. The scent of wood smoke from two fires filled the air. Buffalo stew and fry bread cooked over one of the open-pit fires, and elders talked around the other fire. It was a friendly atmosphere; greetings of "Aya aya niihka," or "Hello, my friend," were spoken back and forth. This scene is familiar to Greg Tippman, 16, whose mother is one-fourth Miami and a direct descendant of Chief Richardville.
"My mom has been (involved with the) Myaamia (or Miami) culture for as long as I can remember. . . . She's participated in just about every aspect of the Myaamia culture about 10, 11 years. That's how I was introduced," he explained....The Miami culture is important to Greg. It is also important to his sisters, Mary, 18, Gloria, 8, and family friend Jaycob Hartleroad, 9, and that's why the four are involved in reviving one of its key ingredients -- their native language. The four attend or have attended language camp in Peru, Ind. At the Miami language camp, students spend a week or more practicing old words, learning new ones, and spending time with friends from around the state. They may also attend weekend trips. "There's been a lot of progress there, getting involvement not only from the elders, but also from the youth of the tribe," said Mary. The Miamis have a divided history. In 1846, 327 members of the Miami Nation were forcibly relocated to a reservation in Kansas Territory, but five extended families remained in Indiana. In 1870, the group in Kansas was split again, with the majority of the Miami being sent to Oklahoma. Today, approximately 2,600 (the figure is from the Miami Nation Tribal Secretary) members of the Miami tribe live in Indiana. Read the full article at:

Bad language
By Lim Li Min
After nearly two decades of declining standards, government officials, teachers, parents and experts on English teaching are finally getting together to try to reverse the trend. Last week, the Senate hosted a meeting with the ministries of Education and Foreign Affairs to discuss MOE’s 10-year plan for English instruction, which boasts a substantial budget of 5.3 billion baht. The problems officials are up against are compound. They start with a lack of fluency among local English teachers, and the grammar-based curriculum. There is overcrowding in classrooms, and a paucity of resources. The ministry’s conclusion: local teachers need to be retrained, the curriculum must be more communicative, class sizes must be cut, and resource centers expanded. Read more about it at:

Swazis set to lose their tongue
RIN MBABANE - Educationists are concerned about the future of the Swazi language as the school examination pass rate in SiSwati as a subject continues to fall. "If the 2005 Junior Certificate examination results are any yardstick, then the SiSwati language is gradually being eroded," opined the Times of Swaziland when it reported this week that nearly a quarter of the students sitting the exam had failed the test. In contrast, 92 percent of students taking the crucial exams in 2005 passed English - a total of 10,235 students, up from 9,159 who succeeded in 2004. English is a "must pass" subject, while SiSwati is not. But this was not the reason for declining performance in SiSwati, educationalists told IRIN.
Read the rest at: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/7b09c25d1a09623e91be3cf8ac3b8600.htm

Learning How to Teach Korean
by Jae-Young Kim (redfoot@donga.com)
“I’ve been using Korean for over 50 years, but it’s not at all easy to teach Korean to foreigners.” On Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute, Kang Sang-chul (57) was taking a Korean instructor course. Despite his tight schedule, Kang is taking the course awash with excitement that he will be able to teach Korean to foreigners starting next month. Next month, Kang will leave for Turkey to volunteer as a Korean instructor to teach local residents. Including Kang, a total of 92 people were taking the Thursday class of the Korean instructor course. People with different jobs and ages, ranging from college students to late-learners of over 60 years, were paying keen attention to the lecture. As the Korean language is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the Korean Wave in the Asian region, institutes educating Korean instructors are also gaining popularity. With the increase of foreigners wishing to learn Korean, the demand for Korean teachers is soaring. Read more about this at:

Foreigners flock to learn Chinese
By Helen Leavey - In Beijing
Indonesian student Ivan Handoyo speaks excellent English, having studied in Australia.
Now the 23-year-old is in Beijing trying to get to grips with Mandarin Chinese.
He wants to study the language so in future he can help his parents with their business selling birds' nests that are used to make soup. "I hope to help the business expand and deal with Chinese people from all over the world," he said. Thousands of other foreigners are also flocking to China in increasing numbers to learn Mandarin. Many believe the country's economic boom will continue, and say knowing Chinese is not only interesting in itself but will help them find interesting and lucrative jobs. In 2004, a record 110,844 students from 178 countries had enrolled at Chinese universities, according to official Chinese newswire Xinhua. That was a 43% increase on 2003. In addition, more than 30 million people are currently studying Mandarin abroad, the newswire said. Read more about it at:

"Structure" gets results at Federal Way school
By Sanjay Bhatt Seattle Times staff reporter
At Federal Way's Mark Twain Elementary School, students whose first language isn't English did even better on the state reading test than native English-speaking students.
On last year's Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), 83 percent of students with a limited grasp of English met the standard in reading, compared to 79 percent of Mark Twain fourth-graders taking the test. Statewide, only 46 percent of the "English Language Learners" — those who qualify for state-funded bilingual instruction — passed the reading test. "We constantly train them on what they're going to see on the WASL," said teacher Christine Rodriguez, who pulls out students with poor English proficiency for focused practice."It's very structured at this school, but it's just what the kids need." Well, maybe to pass the test, but, is that the real goal? Read the rest at:

Latvia's linguistic battle over Euro
RIGA, Latvia, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The Baltic state of Latvia, despite pleas from the European Central Bank, is refusing to call the single currency by its official name. Instead of the official "euro" name, Latvia prefers to call the currency the "eiro," the BBC reported Wednesday. The euro is a non-existent word in Latvian. "The 'eu' diphthong is alien to the Latvian language," says Latvia's education minister Ina Druviete. National pride is also behind the country's refusal to budge on the matter. Latvia has fought to re-establish its linguistic identity after the end of the Soviet occupation during which the Russian language was forced upon its citizens. Latvian is now spoken by around two-thirds of the population of 2.3 million and is the official state language. Eiro is a part of the Latvian word for Europe, or Eiropa, so its claims for linguistic independence were justified, Latvia's language commission said. But naming the currency by the masculine Latvian noun goes against the EU's policy that euro should be spelled the same way by all its member states.
Read the article at:

Voila who's talking
In the quest to raise bilingual kids, English-speaking parents turn to an arsenal of ideas, from videos, CDs and computer games to summer camps, private schools and Post-Its
Growing up in Alabama in the '70s and '80s, Lauri Greer didn't get much exposure to any language besides English. When she finally took Spanish in high school, the teacher went out on maternity leave, and the course was considered so unimportant that administrators simply called on a local restaurateur to fill in. Greer learned a lot about Mexican food that semester, but she left the class unable to say much more than "Gracias." Now living in Colleyville, Greer, 35, is determined her three young children will get the foreign-language edge she didn't. She and her husband Rusty are on their third Spanish-speaking nanny, who by their request speaks mostly Spanish to the children. And all three youngsters started daily classes in Spanish at their preschool, Colleyville's Creme de la Creme -- at the ripe old age of 2. "Neither my husband nor I speak Spanish, and living here, that can really put you at a disadvantage," Greer says. "I know it will put my children at an advantage to speak another language, and I think it will be much easier if they learn it while they're young." Indeed, both the latest research and common sense suggest it's easiest for our kids to learn a second language when they're little, when their brains are like sponges and their tongues don't trip over unfamiliar sounds. But many English-speaking American parents, like Greer, grew up at a time and in a place in which learning a foreign language was still often considered a pursuit for the rich, the eccentric or the foreign. Their problem today: How do parents raise bilingual children when they can speak only one language themselves?
Read the rest at: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/13538536.htm

Children Follow Same Steps to Learn Vocabulary, Regardless of Language Spoken
The National Institutes of Health have issued a press release on findings in a study that suggests regardless of the language they are learning to speak, young children learn vocabulary in fundamentally the same way. The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, appears in the July-August issue of the journal Child Development. The researchers found that, for the seven languages studied, nouns comprise the greatest proportion of 20- month-old children's vocabularies, followed by verbs and then adjectives. "This study shows that while languages may differ greatly, the sequence by which young children learn the parts of speech appears to be the same across different languages," said Duane Alexander, M.D., Director of the NICHD. "By learning about the normal progression of language development, we may be able to obtain information that will help children who are having difficulty learning language." Read more of the article at:

Found in the translation
By Edith Brady-Lunny
CLINTON - Four Clinton High School students are learning a valuable lesson about language skills and community service. Brian Rosten, Jamie Steward, Hannah Dann and Luke Dempsey volunteer several hours a week to help junior high students whose primary language is Spanish. Rosten spends the first 30 minutes of every school day working with four students. On one recent morning, the group played a card game that helped build English skills. Lizbeth Flores, a shy seventh-grader, said the extra practice helped build her confidence. "I will do better in school and I'll be able to write better," said Flores. The 13-year-old brings her improved skills home to help her mother and young brother, who are learning English. The Clinton School District does not have an English as a Second Language, or ESL, teacher to help translate lessons for the students. Third- and fourth-year students in Spanish classes have helped fill that gap. Read more about this at:

Foreign-Language Learning Promoted
Goal Is to Aid U.S. Security, Bush Says
By Bradley Graham - Washington Post Staff Writer
President Bush announced plans yesterday to boost foreign-language study in the United States, casting the initiative as a strategic move to better engage other nations in combating terrorism and promoting freedom and democracy. "This program is a part of a strategic goal, and that is to protect this country," Bush said. The plans, which represent an expansion of some programs and the start of a few others, aim to involve children in foreign-language courses as early as kindergarten while increasing opportunities for college and graduate school instruction. They also would draw more linguists into government service and establish a national corps of language reservists available to the Pentagon, State Department, intelligence community and other agencies in times of heightened need. Much of the instruction is intended to focus not on the traditional European and Latin American languages that Americans have tended to study most, but on what the U.S. government has identified as languages "critical" for national security. These include Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hindi and Farsi, among others. Bush intends to request $114 million in fiscal 2007 for the programs, which involve the departments of State, Education and Defense, as well as the director of national intelligence, according to officials who briefed reporters on details. Read the rest of the article at:

Respecting Differences
Susan Black ASB Journal
One summer I signed up for a three-week course in labor relations at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. The instructor, an Alaska native, told me he was glad to have a student "from the lower 48." The dozen or so others, he explained, were mostly elders from remote villages who had been recruited to take the course through a state government project. I recall much of what I learned about collective bargaining that summer, but mostly I remember the life-changing lessons I learned from the elders who became my friends. One lesson had to do with their penchant for quiet companionship.
Each evening my new-found friends filed into my dorm suite and sat, smiling and nodding, while I scurried to serve tea and start conversation. One evening the eldest of the elders stayed after the others departed. "We come only to be in your presence," she said, then slipped away. In that instant I had my cultural comeuppance. The next evening I served tea and then sat silently, smiling and nodding. The elders' eyes shone with approval. You don't have to go north to Alaska to find the sort of cultural dissonance that I experienced. In fact, you might not have to travel beyond your own schools.
Read the rest at: http://www.asbj.com/2006/01/0106research.html

Resources you might be interested in...

From Colorín Colorado:

Using informal assessments for English language learners
"Informal assessments (also called authentic or alternative) allow teachers to track the ongoing progress of their students regularly and often -- they help teachers target students' specific problem areas, adapt instruction, and intervene earlier rather than later." You can read about informal assessment methods at:

Bright Ideas
"Children can learn to enjoy reading early in life by listening to storybooks read by parents or other caregivers. By participating in storybook reading, they learn a variety of literacy skills that prepare them for learning to read. A great way to implement this is by creating a family literacy night." You can read about one school's bilingual family literacy night at:

Early Childhood Family Literacy Night
"Teachers organize a monthly event where parents and children enjoy reading activities, read-aloud, and a meal. Each meeting has a specific theme, and activities built around that theme. It is a great way for educators to introduce family literacy activities to parents."
Read about it at: http://pbsmail.org/ct/HpL9npE1lXv4/familylit

On a personal note...
As you know from last issue, I'm leaving for South America soon - February 15 in fact. As a result, for the next few months issues of E-Comp! may be a bit sporadic as I search for an office and dependable internet access. Rest assured, you'll stay on the mailing list unless you ask me to remove your information, and as soon as I'm able to get out another newsletter you'll receive it. Meanwhile, if you need to get in touch with me, I can always be reached via email at:

Best Wishes,
Prolinguistica - Teaching for Comprehension

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