Volume XXVI - October 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…

Can you help these teachers in Massachusetts and Texas?

If you know of a local TPR training, please contact CW.

From: cwhetstone@comcast.net
This is my first year teaching Spanish (Toddler through 3rd grade) at a Montessori school in Massachusetts. They use the TPR method of teaching. I would be interested in participating in a TPR workshop in the area. I have been unsuccessful my search. Would you please inform me of any that may be coming up?
Thank you very much,

Also, "Emily" at BLUEMARQUIZ3247@AOL.COM is looking for TPR training in Texas. If you have information about local trainings, particularly near Lubbock, please let her know.

Need a job? You could be Sidney Bristow (Alias)
NCS Language Officer
Work Schedule: Full Time
Salary: $42,906 to $85,210
Location: Washington, DC metropolitan area
Performing a critical and dynamic function within the National Clandestine Service (NCS), the Language Officer applies advanced foreign language skills, experience, and expertise to provide high-quality translation, interpretation, and language-related support for a variety of NCS clandestine operations. In addition to expert language skills, Language Officers provide in-depth cultural insight-an important dimension of the job. Language Officers also work closely with officers in other NCS disciplines, particularly field collectors, to support the overall mission of intelligence acquisition. As with other NCS professions, foreign travel opportunities and certain specialized training are also integral elements of the job. Minimum requirements include a bachelor's degree and a strong interest in foreign languages and international affairs. Candidates must possess sound English language writing skills and good interpersonal and communications skills. As with all NCS professional specializations, the responsibilities of a Language Officer require absolute personal and professional dedication to mission. All applicants must successfully complete a language test, a thorough medical and psychological evaluation, a polygraph interview and an extensive background investigation. U.S. citizenship is a requirement. In case you or your students are interested, go to : https://www.cia.gov/careers/jobs/lang_off.html


Grant Opportunities, Workshops, Conferences

Dont miss the opportunity to hear Todd McKay!
Keynote Address at MLAPV Fall Conference/Meeting:
"Revealing Secrets to Success: TPR" -
Rosemont College
1400 Montgomery Ave.
Rosemont, PA 19010
Date: Saturday, Oct.14, 2006
Time: 9- noon
For more information call: 484-432-2558

The Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund Teacher Program
The Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund (JFMF) Teacher Program, sponsored by the Government of Japan, provides American primary and secondary school teachers and administrators with fully-funded short-term study tours of Japan. The program is designed to increase understanding between the people of Japan and the United States by inviting U.S. elementary and secondary educators to visit Japan and share their experiences with fellow Americans upon their return. JFMF participants travel to Japan with other outstanding educators, learn about Japanese culture and education, and return to implement a self-designed plan to share their knowledge and experience with their students, colleagues and community. Deadline for submission of application: December 7, 2006. Read more about it and download an application at:

La Cosecha 2006
Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
November 8-11, 2006

NAME 16th Annual International Conference
Theme: Honoring Multicultural Communities, Stories and Struggles in a Contested Land.
Wyndham Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona
Nov. 8-12, 2006

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

For Your Reading Pleasure

Low German-speaking immigrants leave Latin America for Kansas
By Garance Burke
They're all smashed together talking, in a room filled with trays of double-decker yeast rolls called zwiebach. The classroom thrums with the sound of Plautdietsch, the 500-year-old spoken language they share... Before the late 1980s, linguists had all but forgotten Plautdietsch, or Low German, which was once the common language throughout present-day Germany. The bulk of its speakers lived on remote farms in Latin America and the former Soviet Republics, where the most religiously conservative Mennonites had isolated themselves to live unencumbered by "worldly things." Now, the global economy is forcing them into mainstream society. And from the flax fields of West Germany to the Kansas plains, Plautdietsch, a precursor to modern German that was barely written a decade ago, is becoming known as the near impenetrable language of a new wave of Mennonite immigrants. In Reedley, Calif., Low German-speaking children raised in a rural Brazilian village are now filling elementary schools. In Vauxhall, Alberta, one community college is designing vocational classes to retrain Mennonite farmers, whose agricultural techniques date back a century. And thousands of miles from Detmold, in Garden City, Kan., Anita Froese is baking trays of zwiebach in the doublewide trailer she and her family now call home. Plummeting corn prices pushed the Froeses out of their religious settlement in Chihuahua, Mexico five years ago, and into the Midwest, where her husband went from feedlot to feedlot until he found work. Read more of this fascinating story at:

Bangalore hit by English ban in schools
By Jo Johnson
More than 100,000 English-speaking children in India’s information technology capital of Bangalore will soon have to switch to schools offering lessons exclusively in a Dravidian regional language, following a crackdown on more than 2,000 English-medium institutions in the state of Karnataka. The state government’s promise on Monday to enforce a widely flouted 1994 language policy requiring compulsory Kannada-medium education in primary schools reflects resentment at the influx of relatively wealthy English-speaking IT workers into Bangalore. The ban on English language classes may in time further erode the competitiveness of a city that styles itself as back office to the world, at a time when it is already suffering from severe shortages of skilled labour, high wage inflation and overburdened infrastructure. The crackdown has seen 800 schools stripped of their status and a further 1,500 face closure, according to an education department official. Read more about this at: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/5f5bfade-4cec-11db-b03c-0000779e2340.html

And yet...
DGCA asks foreign pilots to learn English

By Bhargavi Kerur
BANGALORE: Recently, a Russian pilot flying an Indian airline misunderstood the instructions in English from the Air Traffic Control (ATC) and crossed the path of another aircraft and nearly sparked off a mid-air catastrophe over Mumbai. Such near-mishaps happen at least once in ten days with the number of foreign pilots being hired by Indian airliners rising and their difficulties over understanding English increasing, say civil aviation officials. ``But these incidents are not recorded,’’ one official confided. Concerned over the language hiccups, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is planning to conduct English language proficiency tests for pilots as well as ATC personnel. “We have also received a directive from International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) mandating these tests,” A K Sharan, director (Training and Licensing) of DGCA told DNA. ICAO directed aviation authorities around the world to go in for additional training for pilots and ATC officials by March 2008 after finding that nearly 70 per cent of the safety reports it receives speak of communication problems and poor English. Though the problem is global, it is especially serious in India which depends heavily on foreign pilots because of paucity of domestic talent, according to a DGCA official. Read more at: http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1048624

Suggestopedia's Back
Springdale : Youths act out English lesson

Tyson Middle School student Candy Perez listens attentively as her teacher reads a skit about a Hispanic boy’s first day of school. Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 floats in the background. Candy and her eight classmates are listening to the music and watching the way their teacher’s lips move when she pronounces words like “bus” and “time.” The students later don camouflage caps, pineapple-topped hats and other props and act out the skit... The students are taught in Springdale’s eight “new arrival centers,” where English-language learners are pulled out of regular classrooms for portions of their days to receive intense language instruction. The teaching method is called “suggestopedia” or “accelerated learning,” said Marsha Jones, Springdale’s assistant superintendent for elementary instruction. A Bulgarian psychologist developed suggestopedia’s basic principles more than 20 years ago, and a California-based professional development company trained Springdale teachers in the method. Proponents claim suggestopedia can teach language up to three times faster than more traditional approaches. Read more about this at: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/167722/

The Myth About Homework
By Claudia Wallis
Sachem was the last straw. Or was it Kiva? My 12-year-old daughter and I had been drilling social-studies key words for more than an hour. It was 11 p.m. Our entire evening had, as usual, consisted of homework and conversations (a.k.a. nagging) about homework. She was tired and fed up. I was tired and fed up. The words wouldn't stick. They meant nothing to her. They didn't mean much to me either. After all, when have I ever used sachem in a sentence--until just now? As the summer winds down, I'm dreading scenes like that one from seventh grade. Already the carefree August nights have given way to meaningful conversations (a.k.a. nagging) about the summer reading that didn't get done. So what could be more welcome than two new books assailing this bane of modern family life: "The Homework Myth" (Da Capo Press; 243 pages), by Alfie Kohn, the prolific, perpetual critic of today's test-driven schools, and "The Case Against Homework" (Crown; 290 pages), a cri de coeur by two moms, lawyer Sara Bennett and journalist Nancy Kalish. Both books cite studies, surveys, statistics, along with some hair-raising anecdotes, on how a rising tide of dull, useless assignments is oppressing families and making kids hate learning. Do read this article and - if you haven't the time to read the books - any others you find reviewing them. Time to let go of our biases and look at the researrch:

Big surprise?
Language at home often not English

By Perry Swanson
To most people in El Paso County, a house is a house, and food is food. But to a rising number of residents, those things are “casa” and “comida.” The number of people in El Paso County who speak a language other than English at home jumped 20 percent from 2000 to last year, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s nearly double the rate of increase nationwide, and it’s slightly higher than the statewide increase of 18.8 percent. A majority of the group can also speak English, but the census figures estimate 5 percent of the total population age 5 and older speaks English “less than very well. More at: http://www.gazette.com/display.php?id=1320660&secid=1

Schools preparing for bilingual world
By Justina Wang and Tim Wagner
U.S. Census Bureau numbers released last week show that 44 percent of Aurora's residents speak a language other than English at home. Those who have worked in Aurora's school districts for many years have long watched as surging numbers of bilingual students flowed into their classrooms. Now, teachers say their English as Second Language programs are changing, and bilingualism may one day become the standard of education. "I think there is a lot of parent interest in educating their children in both languages," said Sally Roig-Flores, a bilingual kindergarten teacher at East Aurora's Brady Elementary School. "I think, in the future, our whole society will be learning to be bilingual." Read more about this at: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/beaconnews/top/2_1_AU21_HISP_S10821.htm

And in Great Britain...
New language qualifications help put 10,000 students on 'ladder of learning'

By Sarah Cassidy
Ten thousand students - including children as young as eight - have taken innovative new courses which aim to reverse the decline in language learning. The qualifications - called Asset Languages and run by the Oxford and Cambridge exam board OCR - aim to make language learning accessible by offering a "ladder" of bite-sized courses similar to music grades. This summer's GCSE results showed a big decline in the number of pupils studying modern foreign languages. French and German suffered the biggest falls in candidates of any subject, with declines of 13.2 per cent and 14.2 per cent. The Government was blamed for these falls because of its decision to make language learning voluntary for 14- to 16-year-olds. Read more about changes in world language teaching and learning in Great Britain at: http://education.independent.co.uk/news/article1431081.ece

Culture keeps kids in class
Manitoba's Southeast Collegiate symbolizes a new, positive era in aboriginal education
By Michelle MacAfee
...While aboriginal students from across Canada often must travel to go to an off-reserve public school that offers classes beyond Grade 8 or 9, Southeast Collegiate offers a uniquely aboriginal experience because it is owned and operated by the Southeast Tribal Council....At a time when native residential schools are in the headlines for past physical and sexual abuse and a proposed federal compensation agreement, Revel says Southeast Collegiate symbolizes a new, positive era in aboriginal education. "We are a modern-day residential school, and our philosophy has always been 'doing it right,' " [Principal] Revel says from behind his desk hidden under mountains of papers and files. "I don't think there's any doubt the old residential school system was an attempt to assimilate First Nations people to white culture. "Here, it's very much more of an honouring of culture and understanding how our students can develop the skill sets to either function within First Nations culture at home, or in society as multicultural as it is in Winnipeg." Read more about this at: http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=389aef25-63c5-49a0-bd04-0e73c003d5e4

Libraries Expanding Service for Immigrants
By June Soh
The people gathered at a community library are trying out their new language skills. They are learning English so they can better communicate in their new home -- the United States. And there are volunteers here to help them. Virginia Berges came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic a year and a half ago. "I come to the library almost every day. And two days a week I follow the conversation classes. We have the opportunity not only to improve our English but to get new friends from all over the world." The English conversation club is offered to foreign-born residents at the Gaithersburg branch library in Montgomery County in the eastern U.S. state of Maryland. Ma Lihong came from China two months ago. "Wherever I go to, a library is the first place I will visit." More about this at: http://www.voanews.com/english/2006-08-24-voa58.cfm

Schools Try Elementary Approach To Teaching Foreign Languages
By Maria Glod
School systems across the Washington area are adding foreign language classes in elementary grades in response to a call from government and business leaders who say the country needs more bilingual speakers to stay competitive and even to fight terrorism. Educators say that the youngest brains have the greatest aptitude for absorbing language and that someone who is bilingual at a young age will have an easier time learning a third or fourth language later on. Compared with adults or even high school students, young children are better able to learn German with near-native pronunciation or mimic the subtle tones of Mandarin. So last week, kindergartners at Fairfax County's Graham Road Elementary School, one of seven county elementary schools that reopen early in August, sang an alphabet song, learned how to stand in line -- and started Spanish lessons. The 30-minute lesson, taught solely in Spanish, drew perplexed looks from 5-year-old Ngan Vo, who wasn't quite sure why classmates smiled and danced when they heard " bien " and pretended to cry when the teacher said " mal ." But teacher Yazmin Galloway says that by year's end, she expects Ngan and her classmates to have a foundation in Spanish. "I'm pretty sure at the end of the year, I'll have speakers," Galloway said. "They will tell me how they're feeling that day. They will say, 'I can read this,' and tell me how to count." Free registration is required but you can read more at:

Resources You May Find Useful

Back to school activities
Learning about your students' backgrounds
Simple ways parents can encourage learning (note English/Spanish buttons at top of page)
Tips for parents of kids in pre-school through third grade
in Spanish: http://colorincolorado.org/downloadables/cc_tips_spanish.pdf
Tips for parents are also available in other languages:
* Arabic: http://pbsmail.org/ct/l7L9npE1QzWj/arabic
* Chinese: http://pbsmail.org/ct/lpL9npE1QzWm/chinese
* English: http://pbsmail.org/ct/01L9npE1QzWE/english
* Haitian Creole: http://pbsmail.org/ct/0dL9npE1QzWU/haitiancreole
* Hmong: http://pbsmail.org/ct/07L9npE1QzWy/hmong
* Korean: http://pbsmail.org/ct/0pL9npE1QzWh/korean
* Russian: http://pbsmail.org/ct/p1L9npE1QzWn/russian
* Spanish: http://pbsmail.org/ct/pdL9npE1QzW8/spanish
* Tagalog: http://pbsmail.org/ct/p7L9npE1QzWi/tagalog
* Vietnamese: http://pbsmail.org/ct/ppL9npE1QzWk/vietnamese
** To view these files, you'll need a copy of Acrobat Reader. Most computers already have it installed, or you can download it by going to http://pbsmail.org/ct/PpL9npE1QzW0/adobe.

Language Acquisition vs. Language Learning
By Judie Haynes
Should grammar be taught to young elementary age English language learners? Learn what the difference is between language acquisition and language learning. http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/language_acquisiti_vs_language_02033.php

Creating your own classroom newsletter
Creating a class newsletter can be an excellent way for English language learners to develop their language skills. They build vocabulary through writing and through interacting with others in the class. In addition, research shows that through repeated revisions of their own writing, students learn to become better writers.

What's 'Normal,' What's Not: Acquiring English as a Second Language
By Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin and Alejandro Brice
How can you tell when a student has a language-learning disability and when he or she is merely in the normal process of acquiring a second language? By the 2030s, say demographers, English language learners (ELLs) will account for approximately 40 percent of the entire school-aged population in the United States. In some areas, that projection is already exceeded – in California, for instance, 60-70 percent of schoolchildren speak a language other than English as their primary language... In one common scenario, a child is referred for speech-language testing because she is struggling academically. In her teacher's view, she is not learning English with the expected speed and her academic skills are lagging behind those of her monolingual English-speaking classmates. Does the student have a language-learning disability or is she merely manifesting the normal process of acquiring a second language? Read the rest at: http://www.colorincolorado.org/articles/brice_normal.php

Resources You May Find Useful

Dear Readers,

I hope this issue of E-Comp! finds you well. Prolinguistica is still in the process of opening its office in Bogotá, Colombia. I expect that in the next two months that process will be complete. Meanwhile, issues may be delayed, so I appreciate your patience.

While testing this month's links I noticed that although I created the text in Arial, font size 20 (titles, 24), my yahoo mail reduced the text size to 13. If you find your mail program does the same thing, here are three options for improving readability:

1. If your email program is viewed through an internet browser, you can usually increase the size of text in your browser under "View" in the menu bar.

2. You can highlight the text of the email, copy it and paste it into a word processing program, where you can adjust the view or size of the type. If you use Microsoft Word, the links will be retained and you can click on them to access the articles, just as you would in your email program or browser. (Other word processing programs may do this as well.)

3. You can wait a couple of days until I have time to post the issue at the website, and read it there!

If you would like to announce in E-Comp! a workshop or any other activity for FL or ESL teachers, or post an inquiry, please send an email to me at e-comp@prolinguistica.com.

Best Wishes,

Prolinguistica - Teaching for Comprehension

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