Archive for April, 2009

Bilingual Education Resources

languages2For those of you who are interested in learning more or refining your knowledge of bilingual and multilingual education, I recommend the following resources:

  • Bilingual Research Journal online: The Bilingual Research Journal has online archives of articles from 1992-2006
  • James Crawford’s Language Policy Website and Emporium: James Crawford has an abundance of information on bilingual education,  language policy and information pertaining to the education of English learners
  • Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism: I’ve blogged about this book before. This is the MUST-HAVE most essential book regarding bilingual and multilingual education, language policy, second language education, bilingualism and cognition, etc that every single person must have. I’m totally serious here. This book is great for the person new to the bilingual education community and is also very useful to those who consider themselves to be experts. You MUST have a copy of this book and if you have an old edition you have got to buy the new edition. A couple of you have purchased the book from my Multilingual Mania store, and I’d like to hear some of your thoughts on the book. P.S. Thank you for purchasing it from my store because any proceeds earned from the store will be used to purchase materials that I will review for you on the blog, in order to bring you the best resources and information about bilingual and multilingual education!!
  • National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE): They’ve got a great language journal.

As to what I’ve been up to lately, I just bought the following book and started reading it:

  • Language, Space, and Power: A Critical Look at Bilingual Education: So far I’ve read the first two chapters. It’s not the typical “Dual Immersion 101” informational book-it is an ethnographic study of a Dual Immersion classroom. The theoretical base that the author uses is postmodern  theory, so it’s a bit heavy on theory in the beginning of the book. It gets more lucid after the initial theoretical base is provided. I’ll keep you updated as to my thoughts about the book as I continue reading!! I’m just happy that it’s a study that takes place in a dual language classroom. I really love to read about issues of language and power
  • In one of the comment sections, a producer left her information about a documentary she produced regarding bilingual education and English-only language policy. This week the movie is premiering at the San Francisco Film Festival. It seems like it’s a really exciting and interesting documentary about the political issues that surround bilingual/multilingual education. I contacted the producer about the possibility of purchasing the film, and she informed me that it would be released for sale towards the end of the summer. I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait to get my hands on it so that I can organize a public screening. Anything that has to do with multilingual education is pretty much an obsession for me. The documentary is called “Speaking in Tongues” and you can find more information about it here. It’s not  too often that you come across documentaries about language. 

Soon I will be posting the newest giveaway. Stay tuned!!

Categories: Education

First Giveaway Winner!!!

I just assigned everyone a number, input them into the online random number generator and the winner is….Ana Lillian!

I’ll contact her by email to get her address after I have recovered from the post traumatic stress syndrome that I am suffering from as a result of having waited to submit my taxes until literally forty minutes before the deadline this evening.

Anyhow, thanks to everyone else for joining in! I will be posting another giveaway in the next few days and I’ll have the contest on for about a week. I am really excited to start giving away some wonderful resources for people!!

Categories: Uncategorized

First Ever *Give-away*!!

April 12, 2009 6 comments

I’m excited to announce my first give-away!! I’ve mentioned that I have tons of things to give away-books for teachers and adults, children’s books, etc. So, today is the day!

51b1u60auzl_sl500_aa240_The first give-away will be a book of Spanish poems for children: Arco Iris de Poesía: Poemas de las Américas y España. The book is a hard-back book containing 31 poems written by authors from Latin America and the United States. The book has beautiful, colorful pictures on each page of poetry! I think that the book is a wonderful resource for teachers in bilingual programs and/or parents who are promoting bilingualism within the home. All the poems are in Spanish!

The following countries and poets are represented in the book:

  • Argentina: Leopoldo Lugones and José Sebastián Tallon
  • Bolivia: Oscar Alfaro
  • Brasil: Marina Colasanti and Ana Maria Machado
  • Chile: Gabriela Mistral and Alicia Morel
  • Colombia: Rafael Pombo and Yolanda Reyes
  • Costa Rica: Carmen Lyra
  • Cuba: José Marti and Antonio Orlando Rodriguez
  • Ecuador: Edgar Allan Garcia
  • El Salvador: Claudia Lars
  • España: Felix Lope de Vega y Carpio and Federico Garcia Lorca
  • Estados Unidos: Shel Silverstein
  • Guatemala: Francisco Morales Santos
  • Honduras: Rubén Berrios
  • México: Amado Nervo and Isabel Suárez de la Prida
  • Nicaragua: Rubén Dario
  • Panamá: Héctor Miguel Callado
  • Paraguay: Marialuisa Artecona de Thompson
  • Perú: Heriberto Tejo
  • Puerto Rico: Luis Lloréns Torres and Ester Feliciano Mendoza
  • República Dominicana: Salomé Ureña de Henriquez
  • Uruguay: Graciela Genta
  • Venezuela: Rafael Olivares Figueroa and Manuel Felipe Rugeles

To be eligible for the give-away raffle, you must do one of the following:

  • Blog about it on your blog and link back to us. Leave a comment here or email us at multilingualmania(at)yahoo(dot)com with your link 
  • Tweet about it on twitter and link to us. Leave a comment here  or email us at the address above with your link
  • Write about it on any other social media sites that you may use. Leave a comment here or email us with your link

We will announce the winner this Wednesday. This is the first-ever giveaway and so you probably have a good chance to win the book! Good luck!!!

Categories: Education

Seal of Biliteracy Awards

seal_41The California advocacy group Californian’s Together has created a brochure for school districts to assist with the implementation of a “seal of biliteracy” for students who have demonstrated achievement in learning two or more language. This seal can be placed on a student’s diploma upon high school, or students can receive a middle school or elementary-level certificate of biliteracy. Individual school districts in California, such as Glendale, Rowland, Ventura, Sweetwater Union, and Eastside Union have already institutionalized a seal of biliteracy in their districts, and now is the time to spread the word in other districts. This is so exciting!

There are various levels of the seal of biliteracy, depending on the criteria that certain districts set:

  • High School: Students can receive a seal of biliteracy on their diploma if they have completed the criteria set for the district. The criteria may include passage of an advanced placement exam in a world language, successful completion of required world language courses, passage on district established assessments, etc.
  • Middle School: There are various levels of awards in the middle school. Students may receive a “Pursuit of Bilingualism Award” or a “Biliteracy Attainment Award” depending on the criteria set by the district.
  • Elementary School: Depending on what type of language program the student is enrolled in at the elementary level, students can receive one of the following awards: “Elementary Bilingual Service and Participation Award” or the “Elementary Biliteracy Award”. Elementary students have to complete a portfolio, which includes: community service hours, written essays, oral presentations, and various other criteria.

This is a really excellent way to promote and recognize bilingualism and multilingualism. You can download a brochure of the steps for implementing the seal of biliteracy here. Please spread the word about this exciting opportunity for students!!

Language Programs in California for English Learners

photo by shavar

photo by shavar

There are various language instruction models for students classified as English learners:  

  • English Language Mainstream program, which consists of instruction overwhelmingly taught in English
  • Structured English Immersion (SEI), which consists of instruction overwhelmingly taught in English with specialized academic techniques designed for students at lower proficiency levels of English language development
  • Alternative Courses of Study, which consist of some form of instruction through students’ primary language

Alternative course of study programs can range in diversity from early-exit transitional forms of bilingual education (i.e., students are transitioned into English) to dual immersion programs (i.e., students’ languages are developed and maintained). In order to participate in an alternative course of study program in California, parents must sign a waiver on an annual basis in order for their child to participate in a bilingual program. 

English Language Mainstream Programs

English Mainstream classrooms are the most common method of educating language minority students (i.e. English learners) in California.  Skuttnabb-Kangas (2000) defines English Mainstream classrooms as contexts in which “powerless …minority children…are forced to accept instruction through the medium of a foreign…high-status language” (p.583).   In such classrooms, language minority students are placed with fluent speakers of the majority language and receive little or no specialized assistance.  The teacher may or may not speak or understand the primary language of the students and may or may not be knowledgeable of appropriate second language acquisition or effective sheltered instruction strategies. The ultimate aim of such programs is social and cultural assimilation.  

Structured English Immersion (SEI) Program

Language minority students with less than reasonable fluency in English are sometimes placed in Structured English Immersion (SEI) programs.  The goal of SEI programs is monolingualism just as in English Mainstream classes, i.e., the primary language is not developed and is replaced with English.  SEI programs are specifically designed to facilitate rapid English language acquisition in order to transition language minority students into English Mainstream classes as soon as possible.  Students placed in such programs are generally at the beginning levels of English language proficiency and are provided sheltered content instruction by teachers ideally trained in both second language acquisition and strategies to effectively modify the core curriculum.  While in some programs teachers may use the students’ primary language for clarification, typically little or no primary language support exists.  

Transitional Bilingual Education Programs (TBE)

Primary language instruction, although hotly contested around the country, is an instructional option actually open to only a small fraction of language minority students.  One common form of bilingual education is Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE).  A TBE program is a “more sophisticated version of submersion programmes, a more ‘humane’ way of assimilating” (Skuttnabb-Kangas, 2000, p. 593); the aim of such programs is majority language monolingualism.  Students enrolled in TBE programs are taught academic subjects through the medium of their primary language for a temporary period of time as they acquire proficiency in English.  These classes provide access to the core curriculum until students have acquired enough proficiency in English to effectively participate in an English Mainstream classroom.   In these programs, the minority language is used merely as a vehicle for facilitating the acquisition of English and is subsequently neglected once students have sufficient proficiency in English.  

According to Soltero (2004), there are two common forms of TBE: Early-exit Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) and Late-exit Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE).  Early-exit TBE programs provide primary language instruction for approximately two years and then students are transitioned into monolingual English instruction around second or third grade. Students in Late-exit TBE programs receive primary language instruction for a minimum of forty percent of the instructional day until they are transitioned into English-only instruction around the sixth grade.   A number of researchers have found that well-implemented TBE programs are more effective in the long-term than either English Mainstream or SEI programs (Lindholm-Leary, 2001; Ramirez et al, 1992; Thomas & Collier, 1997).

Developmental Maintenance Bilingual Education (DBE)

A less common form of bilingual education is Developmental Maintenance Bilingual Education, sometimes referred to as One-Way Developmental Maintenance (Thomas & Collier, 1997).  The aim of Developmental Maintenance programs is to develop and maintain the primary language of language minority students.  Students are provided primary language instruction for a minimum of fifty percent or more of the instructional day as they simultaneously acquire the majority language.   Developmental Maintenance programs differ from Late-exit TBE programs in that they add a second language while they protect and further develop the primary language, as opposed to the eventual replacement of students’ primary language with English.  

Dual Immersion Programs

Dual Immersion programs, sometimes referred to as Two-Way Bilingual Immersion, are an enrichment form of bilingual education in which language majority (i.e., English speakers) and language minority speakers are integrated throughout the entire school day and taught through the medium of the minority language for fifty percent or more of the instructional day (Lindholm-Leary, 2001).  They are similar to Developmental Maintenance Bilingual programs in the design and goals; the only difference between Developmental Maintenance and Dual Immersion programs is that language majority students are included in the Dual Immersion program and all students are taught to read, write, and speak two languages. 

There are two common variations of dual immersion programs:  90/10 and 50/50 (Soltero, 2004).  In a 90/10 model, the minority language is taught to both language groups for ninety percent of the school day starting in kindergarten.  With each additional school year, the majority language is increased by ten percent until students receive instruction for fifty percent of the day in the minority language.  Once students receive fifty percent of their instruction in Spanish and fifty percent in English, they maintain equal percentages of the two languages throughout the subsequent years of their schooling.  In 50/50 programs the minority language is taught for fifty percent of the instructional day at each grade level beginning in kindergarten and throughout high-school. 



Categories: Bilingual Education

“How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

“We’re going to have to control your tongue”, the dentist says, pulling out all the medal from my mouth. Silver bits plop and tinkle into the basin. My mouth is a motherlode.

The dentist is cleaning out my roots. I get a whiff of the stench when I gasp. “I can’t cap that tooth yet, you’re still draining,” he says.

“We’re going to have to do something with  your tongue,” I hear the anger rising in his voice. My tongue keeps pushing out the wads of cotton, pushing back the drills, the long thin needles. “I’ve never seen anything as strong or as stubborn“, he says. And I think, how do you tame a wild tongue, train it to be quiet, how do you bridle and saddle it? How do you make it lie down?

“Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war?”-Ray Gwyn Smith

In recent posts I have written about issues of language and identity. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the personal stories of people as to how language has influenced their identity development. I’d have to say that one of my all time favorites essays on language and identity is Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”.

Another one of  my favorite quotes from the essay is:

Deslenguadas. Somos los del español deficiente. We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration, your linguistic mestizaje, the subject of your burla. Because we speak with tongues of fire we are culturally crucified. Racially, culturally and linguistically somos huérfanos-we speak an orphan tongue.

Another quote that really resonates with me is:

So, if you want to really hurt me, talk bad about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity-I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.

Purchase the entire book on Amazon by clicking here.

Categories: Bilingualism

Must-Read Book: Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

51ychk4hhxlA new online friend that I met on twitter recently asked me about the best book to read regarding bilingual and multilingual education. I told her without hesitation that a must-read book is Colin Baker’s Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. The book is currently in its fourth edition and I just can’t get enough of the book. I have read each edition, and the fourth edition is absolutely the best!! This book has invaluable information to both bilingual ed neophytes, as well as experts in the bilingual education community.

The book has nineteen chapters and an extensive bibliography. Each chapter is extremely detailed and provides suggested reading as well as activities to develop your understanding of the information in each chapters. The topics include the following information:

  • Chapter One: Bilingualism and Distinctions. The first chapter discusses distinctions of bilingualism (i.e., balanced bilingualism, etc) as well as the topic of levels of communicative competence (e.g., Does the bilingual have conversational or academic proficiency?).
  • Chapter Two: The Measurement of Bilingualism. The chapter title sums it all up. Baker discusses the purposes of measuring bilingualism, forms of assessments, and the limitations in assessment.
  • Chapter Three: Endangered Languages: Planning and Revitalization. Chapter three details the current state of endangered languages, as well as language planning and policies that can endanger or revitalize languages. 
  • Chapter Four: Languages in Society. Chapter four discusses language shift and maintenance, as well as language decline, death and resurrection. The topics of language conflict and nationalism is covered as well.
  • Chapter Five: The Early Development of Bilingualism. This chapter is a must-read for any parent who desires to raise a bilingual child. Various models are discussed (i.e., “one parent-one language”), as well as the types of childhood bilingualism and trilingualism. This chapter also reviews the bilingual child case-study literature. There is also an interesting little section on codeswitching, when bilingual children and adults mix the two languages.
  • Chapter Six: The Later Development of Bilingualism. Chapter six details the various societal and individual reasons for learning a second language, as well as individual differences in attitude and motivation regarding second language learning. The chapter also makes some interesting points of identity formation of bilingual individuals, something that I have also started to write about here and here
  • Chapter Seven: Bilingualism and Cognition. This chapter discusses the following aspects of bilingualism: 1) intelligence; 2) brain research; 3) creative and divergent thinking; 4) metalinguistic awareness (i.e., thinking about language); and, 5) communicative sensitivity. 
  • Chapter Eight: Cognitive Theories of Bilingualism and the Curriculum. Chapter eight focuses on the theories of the balance theory, iceberg analogy, and the thresholds theory. If you don’t know these theories about second language education, then read the book!!
  • Chapter Nine: Historical Introduction to Bilingual Education-The United States. This fascinating chapter provides a brief overview of the history of bilingual education in the United States, as well as the Proposition 227 (i.e., “English for the Children”) policy designed to eliminate or restrict bilingual education. The federal “No Child Left Behind” legislation is also discussed. The issue of the achievement gap is also discussed. 
  • Chapter Ten: Types of Bilingual Education. Baker compares and contrasts the various forms of subtractive (i.e., taking away a student’s primary language while adding a second language) and additive (i.e., developing and maintaining students’ primary language while adding a second language) bilingual education programs. 
  • Chapter Eleven: Education for Bilingualism and Biliteracy. Chapter eleven reviews Dual Immersion/two-way immersion/dual language programs, heritage language bilingual education programs (e.g., development and maintenance of heritage languages, as in the case of Native American languages), and immersion bilingual education (e.g., Canadian immersion programs which develop French-English biliteracy).
  • Chapter Twelve: The Effectiveness of Bilingual Education. Chapter twelve clearly delineates the research base on the effectiveness of bilingual education, including Dual Immersion programs, immersion bilingual education programs, and heritage language programs. This chapter is a must-read for everyone, because it dispels many of the myths regarding the ineffectiveness of bilingual education which are perpetuated by the media as well as people without a background in bilingual education. 
  • Chapter Thirteen: Effective Schools and Classrooms for Bilingual Students. The title sums it all up. Chapter thirteen details the various components that are necessary for effective schools and classrooms in the education of bilingual and trilingual students. 
  • Chapter Fourteen: Literacy, Biliteracy and Multiliteracies for Bilinguals. This chapter discusses the various viewpoints of teaching reading to bilingual students, as well as how to best foster biliteracy development.
  • Chapter Fifteen: The Assessment of Special Educational Needs of Bilinguals. In this chapter, the following topics are covered: 1) gifted multilingual and bilingual children; 2) language delay issues; 3) assessment of struggling learners; 4) causes of special needs and learning difficulties; and, 5) special education for bilingual students.
  • Chapter Sixteen: Deaf People, Bilingualism, and Bilingual Education. This chapter explores the concepts of deafness and bilingualism. Fostering bilingualism with sign language is also discussed. 
  • Chapter Seventeen: Bilingualism as a Problem, Resource, or a Right. This chapter summarizes Ruiz’s notions of bilingualism as a problem, resource or right. The chapter describes how bilingualism has been characterized in the past as a “problem”, such as the former notion that bilingualism retards intelligence. In addition, the chapter describes that bilingualism can also be viewed as a “resource”, one of the main premises of Dual Immersion programs. In addition, Colin also discusses that bilingualism is a “right”, that language minority populations have the linguistic human right to be bilingual.
  • Chapter Eighteen: Bilingualism and Bilingual Education: Ideology, Identity and Empowerment. Chapter eighteen covers the topics of assimilation, linguistic and cultural pluralism, and  bilingual-bicultural identity construction. 
  • Chapter Nineteen: Bilingualism in the Modern World. Chapter nineteen provides an overview of bilingualism and the following topics: 1) mass media, 2) the workplace; 3) the internet; 4) the economy; and, 5) tourism. There is an interesting brief section on the economic benefits of biliteracy in the global economy. 

I can’t reiterate enough how valuable this book is. I consider myself to be extremely knowledgeable about the field of bilingual education, and this book is a resource that I frequently return to in order to look for future reading topics. The citations that Baker uses are abundant, and the book points you in the direction of additional readings on each of the topics. I just can’t live without this book.

Buy it for yourself! Trust me–you won’t regret it!!

Categories: Education