Volume XXV - June 1, 2006

Welcome to 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


Inquiries and Announcements…

How about a Spanish/English "teen slang" project with students in Spain?!

Josep Portella, teaching near Barcelona, writes:

In our school system, on their last year the students must develop a research project, sometimes proposed by their tutor, sometimes proposed by themselves. In our school we have decided to post a series of proposals and make the students pick them according to their choice, interests or aptitude. For several years now I had a project in mind that it seems some of my students might be interested in this year. The project will be about “teens’ slang” words and their definitions. The final result would be a paper including a “dictionary” with these terms and their usage within context.

To carry out such a project, the student will pick a bunch of terms from their own lifestyle, will check a “formal” translation into English, and then look up their definitions in a dictionary. Then comes the most difficult part, as it doesn’t depend on us: we want to locate a number of teachers in English speaking countries willing to collaborate by agreeing to pass along a questionnaire to their pupils and then forward the outcomes to my students. After the questionnaires are returned, the researcher will work them out establishing the diverse ways students in different English speaking countries express the proposed terms in their own ways. Some statistical considerations will be formulated and then a glossary will be written.

This project would span from September to December at the most, and, obviously, any collaboration would get, besides our gratitude, a copy of the final result, if it were worthy (as I dearly hope it will). Do you think among your acquaintances there might be any teacher that might be interested in giving us a hand?

If you are interested in having your students collaborate with Josep's on this project please contact him at: jportell@xtec.cat. Almost 10 years ago my students and his exchanged e-mails for a year. That year my students made impressive progress in writing and had a lot of fun to boot! I can substantiate that Josep is a great teacher to collaborate with, and your students will learn a lot of authentic Spanish!

Part-Time Job Opportunity
Teresa Anthony, principal of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Redwood City, CA, is looking for a part-time Spanish teacher knowledgeable in TPR . If you're interested contact:
Teresa Anthony, Principal
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School
301 Grand St.
Redwood City, CA 94062
Telephone: 650-366-6127


Grant Opportunities, Workshops, Conferences

FY 2006 U.S.-Russia Language, Technology, Math, and Sciences (LTMS) Teacher Program
Application Deadline, June 5, 2006

The Teacher Exchange Branch in the Office of Global Educational Programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), U.S. Department of State, announces an open competition for an assistance award in the amount of $700,000 to support the FY 2006 U.S. - Russia Language, Technology, Math, and Sciences (LTMS) Teacher Program. This program provides a three- to four-week professional development program in the U.S. for secondary-level teachers from Russia, followed by a program in Russia for U.S. teachers and the Russian educators, and a series of workshops in Russia led by the Russian teachers for their colleagues. U.S. organizations meeting the provisions described in Internal Revenue Code section 26 501(c)(3) are eligible to apply. Get more information about this at:

Part Time Work in Language and Cultural Programs in the Seattle Area
NW Language Academy, Center for World Languages and Cultural Exchange is currently looking for part-time teaching assistants/interns to work with us on occasional weekend language and cultural programs in the Seattle area. They are looking for:
a.. Native speakers of Spanish and Portuguese - or equivalent (have spent a significant period of time in the country and have "internalized" the language and culture)
b.. Dynamic individuals that can introduce their language and culture with enthusiasm and creativity to groups of adults that will be traveling to Europe and South America
c.. Hours of our programs are generally 6:00 - 9:00 on Fridays, and 9:30 - 3:30 on Saturdays - not every week
d.. Training and syllabus will be provided
e.. They are also looking for individuals interested in working with children and young families
f.. Compensation dependent on experience and level of commitment
An opportunity for those who wish to not only develop themselves professionally and personally, but to also be ambassadors for cross-cultural understanding. For more information, call (360) 914-0391 or e-mail Josette@nwlanugageacademy.com.
URL: www.nwlanguageacademy.com

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

Chicago, IL
June 23-24, 2006
The 2006 TESOL Academy will be held June 23-24, 2006, at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. The Academy provides intensive, hands-on workshops for a wide variety of TESOL practitioners and features six 10-hour workshops focused on key issues and areas of practice in the profession. Read more about it at: http://www.tesol.org/s_tesol/sec_document.asp?CID=23&DID=4157

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

Workshop on Books and Reading Strategies for Bilingual Students in Grades K-8
California State University San Marcos (CSUSM)
San Marcos, CA
June 26-28, 2006
Will focus on reading, selecting, and using appropriate literature to teach reading strategies to bilingual students. Topics and activities will include: selecting appropriate literature- cultural and linguistic considerations, using literature to teach reading strategies such as Reader's Theater, Directed Listening/Reading Thinking Activity, Choral Reading, Preview/Review, Language Experience Approach, Reciprocal Questioning, and Responding through the Arts. Methods for accelerating vocabulary development and motivating readers will also be demonstrated. The three-day workshop, sponsored by California State University San Marcos, will be conducted in English. The cost is $115. For more information, contact:
Isabel Schon
Barahona Center for the Study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents
California State University
San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92093-0001
Tel: (760) 750-4070
Fax: (760) 750-4073
E-mail: ischon@csusm.edu
Visit the website at: http://www.csusm.edu/csb/english/wrkshps_2005.htm

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


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 linguisticand 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.

Institutes on Culturally Responsive Instruction
Louisville, KY
July 17-21, 2006
Edvantia, an education research and development not-for-profit corporation (formerly AEL), will hold two "Improving Learning for Minority and Disadvantaged Students" institutes on July 17-21, 2006 at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY. Level 1: Foundations of Culturally Responsive Practice; Level 2: Guiding the Journey toward Culturally Responsive Schools. The registration fee is $425 for Level 1 and $365 for Level 2 ($790 for both). Visit the website at:http://www.edvantia.org/news/index1.cfm?&section=news&area=cri-institutes

Summer Workshops
The U.S. Department of Education's Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative has announced two free summer workshops for foreign language teachers and administrators, with a special emphasis on Mandarin Chinese. Sessions focusing on classroom strategies for instruction as well as program design and implementation will be addressed. Teachers may be able to earn professional development credit through their district or state for participating. The two-day workshops will take place in Los Angeles (July 31 August 1) and Washington, DC (August 3-4). Registration information can be found at:

Call for Proposals: La Cosecha 2006
Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
November 8-11, 2006
Deadline for submission: May 31, 2006
The Planning Committee for La Cosecha 2006 seeks proposals for presenting at the 11th Annual Dual Language Conference at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico. Proposals should specifically address dual language education and/or language revitalization programs, include an outline of the presentation along with the proposal form, and have a duration of 1.25 hours.

ACTFL 2006 40th Annual Meeting & Exposition Convention & Expo
November 16 - 19, 2006
Downtown Nashville, TN

For Your Reading Pleasure

Bilingual law fails first test
Most students not learning English quickly
By Maria Sacchetti and Tracy Jan
Three years after Massachusetts ended statewide bilingual education, most non-native English speakers are not fluent enough to function in a regular classroom, state test results show. The tests, along with survey data and other reports reviewed by the Boston Globe, suggest that the new law is falling short of its main goal: quickly teaching children English so they can join their peers in regular classes after a year. Eighty-three percent of children in grades 3 through 12 could not read, write, speak, or understand English well enough for regular classes after their first year in Massachusetts schools, the test showed. Of students who had been in school for at least three years, more than half were not fluent, according to the test, given for the first time last year. Read more about this at:

Response to the National Security Language Initiative by the Language Profession
[JNCL/NCLIS] applaud the National Security Language Initiative (NSLI) and the President's efforts to increase language capability in our country ... and stand ready to support and assist in the implementation of the policies and efforts of the NSLI. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to create, shape and implement programs that will make NSLI and future endeavors in language education successful and ... suggest some guiding principles. Read the statement by the Joint National Committee for Languages and the National Council for Languages and International Studies (JNCL/NCLIS) at:

Policies fail state's growing English-learner population
Jeff MacSwan, Arizona State University
After six years of the nation's strictest English-only instruction policy, Arizona's immigrant children are making dramatically little progress in learning English. With 20 percent of the state's student population in the balance, the consequences of these failed policies for our state's future are likely to be significant. A recent study by a group of Arizona State University researchers, myself among them, analyzed the state's own language-proficiency testing data to discover how successful 203 has been at reaching its basic goal of teaching English quickly. The study found that 89 percent of immigrant children who scored non-proficient in 2003 were still not proficient in English a year later. And only 29 percent of all English-learners, regardless of initial proficiency level, showed any growth in English ability at all. That's a failure rate of 89 percent for the current policy. Read the rest at:

Chile Rocked by Largest Student Demonstration in Recent History
600,000 Protestors Urge Major Reform of Public School System
In the largest education-related demonstration in Chile in the past 40 years, an estimated 600,000 protestors took to the streets Tuesday to voice their complaints about the nation’s “unfair” and lackluster public education system. Much of the organizing of the protest was carried out over the Internet or by cell phone, organizational tools unavailable to previous generations of students. Students at Chile’s public schools - where half the nation’s students are currently enrolled - score much lower on nationwide college entrance examinations than do students at private high schools. Teacher salaries and prestige are low at public schools, and infrastructure oftentimes decrepit or lacking. Most parents with good incomes place their children in private high schools in an effort to secure the best possible education. They believe education at the nation’s public schools limits their children’s future options. The demonstration was sparked by public school student demands for greater access to low cost transportation and free college entrance examinations. But when government officials failed to show great concern, the issue quickly took hold across the nation and drew greater and greater public support. Read the rest at:

Story Time: Mothers' Reading Practices in Japan and the U.S
Eiko Kato-Otani, Osaka Jogakuin College, Japan
Different Maternal Beliefs and Practices
In Study 1, I found significant differences between Japanese and American mothers in three areas of home book-reading practices:
• Japanese mothers reported starting reading books with children about nine months later than American mothers.
• Japanese mothers reported reading more folklore, and considered this an opportunity to teach important cultural values and discipline.
• American mothers reported reading more ABC and counting books, and considered this an opportunity to teach literacy skills. Far fewer Japanese mothers reported believing that children can develop language and literacy skills from book reading.
Differences [were also found] in the book-reading interactions between middle-class Japanese and American mothers, supporting prior research findings that Japanese mother-child interactions tend to be nonverbal while their American counterparts are more verbal. Japanese mothers made the book-reading activities easier for the children without asking challenging questions. This approach reflects their view of children as dependent on parent guidance. When educating young children, the Japanese believe that young children are not yet able to follow the orders of others, so parents relate to children in more relaxed ways (Benedict, 1946; Norbeck & Norbeck, 1956). In contrast, the American mothers challenged their children by breaking up the text with different types of questions. They appeared to be demonstrating how the children could become independent readers. This difference in verbal interaction is also seen among children. American children asked more questions than the Japanese children. Children's questions led mothers to produce more and different types of utterances. For example, mothers need to provide explanations when children ask “why” type questions. In this respect, American mothers' utterances were driven by their children's questions. On the other hand, Japanese children were rather quiet during book reading. Having a sunao na ko or obedient child is an important child-rearing goal in Japan, according to White and LeVine (1986). Japanese children show this characteristic when reading books with their mothers. Altogether the findings indicate the different status children hold in each society. Read the rest at:

Shouting monkeys show surprising eloquence
Monkeys string sounds together to create meaning.
Michael Hopkin
It may not be exactly poetry, but a species of monkey has demonstrated an unsuspected level of articulacy. Researchers working in Nigeria have found that putty-nosed monkeys can use their two warning calls as 'building blocks' to create a third call with a different meaning. It's the first example of this outside humans, say the researchers. Read the rest at: http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060515/full/060515-11.html

South Korea Puts a Theme Park Twist on Teaching Children English
By Kurt Achin, Seoul
Students all across Asia work hard to learn English. They know fluency will likely be a key factor in snaring the best-paying and most prestigious jobs. In South Korea, which is an exporting powerhouse, local authorities in one district say they are "creating global Koreans" with a teaching approach that supplements learning with laughter. Have your passport ready - you are about to enter a tiny piece of South Korea where speaking Korean is strongly discouraged. A make-believe immigration checkpoint is your first stop at "English Village," near the city of Paju, in South Korea's Gyeonggi province. Read the rest at: http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-05-08-voa15.cfm?

Learning of languages may enter past tense
As budget pressure grows, schools cut back on courses
By Aixa M. Pascual
The instructors from Kennesaw State University praised their students, hailing them as better than those in previous classes, as they nailed another phrase in French...These bright-eyed fourth-graders were eagerly absorbing as much French as they could get in the 45-minute class, part of an introduction to the language at Big Shanty Elementary School in Kennesaw. As school systems across metro Atlanta struggle to close budget gaps caused by new state requirements to reduce class sizes, foreign language instruction is falling by the wayside. Mainly, that's because the Georgia Education Department doesn't mandate foreign languages in kindergarten through fifth grade. With the student population growing and new mandates, officials say the language situation isn't likely to change anytime soon. "There's not much out there," said Susan Crooks, foreign language and international education program specialist at the state Education Department. "It's a very sad state of affairs. ... It's not systematic, it's just bits and pieces here and there." Read more at:

Expectations raised for minority students
State School Board's New Requirements are Aimed at Closing Achievement Gap
By Juliet Williams
Sacramento - The state Board of Education on Wednesday unanimously approved a change that will require schools to improve the performance of blacks, English learners and other minorities in order to reach state achievement goals. But some critics said the new requirements still won't go far enough to close the achievement gap among different groups of students. California has been criticized for setting lower expectations for minorities, English learners and poor students when it established the Academic Performance Index in 1999 to assess student achievement. More, at: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/states/california/northern_california/14552529.htm

For students of Chinese, politics fill the characters
Traditionalists bemoan rise of simplified writing system promoted by Communist government to improve literacy
Vanessa Hua, Chronicle Staff Writer
Choosing a baby's name is seldom simple. But it can expose a rift that has been tearing at the Chinese community around the world for more than half a century. Frank Mong and his wife, Sandra, asked his parents to pick the Chinese name for their first child, in keeping with tradition, and his mother selected one that meant "right and auspicious." She insisted he spell it Shiang-yu, with the phonetic transliteration system used in Taiwan, where the Chinese Nationalist government retreated after losing the civil war to the Communists in 1949. Not Xiangyou, as dictated by the spelling system developed in the 1950s by the Communist Chinese government when it also introduced simplified characters to increase literacy. "If it's born from the Communist regime, she refuses to recognize it as Chinese," said Mong, 32, who lives in San Francisco. He rejected his mother's suggestion because most of the world now learns the system developed by China. However, the traditional transliteration system -- and traditional written characters -- remain standard in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and in many Chinese newspapers published in America. As China rises in geopolitical importance, the number of Chinese language classes and schools in other countries also has grown. Not only are children of Chinese immigrants studying the language, more and more non-Asians are learning it for work and travel. Yet as long as there are two systems, the way that many people read and write often reflects their values and loyalties. And indeed, both Beijing and Taipei are fighting for their system's dominance by providing subsidized teacher training trips and free books for language schools. Read more about this at:
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/05/08/MNGJLINAOP1.DTL

Could a nation of immigrants be losing its common tongue?
By John Austin
English may be on the tip of the world's tongue in trade, travel and diplomacy, but many Americans apparently fear that we're saying adios to it at home. The outraged blogs and stern presidential response after the release of a Spanish version of the national anthem last week dramatized how volatile the language issue has become against the backdrop of the debate on whether illegal immigrants should be granted legal status or deported....Experts say the talk about language is ultimately part of a larger discussion about race, power and what we want being American to mean. "Language is standing in as a proxy for issues that we find difficult to discuss, said Keith Walters, a University of Texas at Austin linguistics professor. "Language becomes a symbolic battlefield. "There're really much, much more complex debates going on. It's very hard to have those discussions. We know there's not a shared set of answers we have." James Crawford, a former Washington editor of Education Week who now writes on language and education policy, said the language issue has a history of popping up. "It's closely related to attitudes about immigration," said Crawford. "It is a cyclical thing." Read the rest of this at: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/14498116.htm

On a personal note...
This is the last issue of E-Comp! for SY2005-2006. The next issue will be out in October and will come to you from Bogotá, Colombia, the new home of Prolinguistica. If you need to get in touch with me over the summer to make announcements or suggest a topic for the fall, don't hesitate to send me an e-mail at laura@prolinguistica.com.
Enjoy your summer break (if you get one!)!

Best Wishes,

Prolinguistica - Teaching for Comprehension

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