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Emilena, Julie, Erin, Alyssa Discussion 2

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Hi friends,

I think we all have a nice weekend. I suppose to read the book "Cummins, J. (2000). Language, Power, and Pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire (cpt. 4). But I couldn't get the book because UM Lib. doesn't carry it. I tried Hamline University, but the book was checked out. Because I am not their student, I cann't call the book. So I just read the fitst article: Collier, V. (1995). Acquiring a second language for school."

The article mensioned that in their study, they find "have found that in U.S. schools where all instruction is given through the second language (English), non-native speakers of English with no schooling in their first language take 7-10 years or more to reach age and grade-level norms of their native English-speaking peers. Immigrant students who have had 2-3 years of first language schooling in their home country before they come to the U.S. take at least 5-7 years to reach typical native-speaker performance (similar to what Cummins [1981] found). " This is interesting result: the children learning second language two years different, after 7-9 years, they achieve on same language level. Is it mean the kids lear sencond language early is not efficient? What the best time for the children start to learn second laguage?

Hi all! Collier wrote in his article Acquiring a Second Language for School, "Much misunderstanding occurs because many U.S. policy makers and educators assume that language learning can be isolated from other issues and that the first thing students must do is to learn English. " I agree that this is a common misconception throughout the world of education and policy. Students are given services to learn language and the mainstream teachers seem to feel it is the job of of ELL teachers to teach English. It is disheartening when teachers fail to realize that it is also their responsibility to provide meaningful language opportunities for their students learning English. We know that language is learned best through content instead of studying grammatical rules. I found that article very interesting from last weeks reading and thought I would put in my "two cents" about it.
-Erin

Hi all! Collier wrote in his article Acquiring a Second Language for School, "Much misunderstanding occurs because many U.S. policy makers and educators assume that language learning can be isolated from other issues and that the first thing students must do is to learn English. " I agree that this is a common misconception throughout the world of education and policy. Students are given services to learn language and the mainstream teachers seem to feel it is the job of of ELL teachers to teach English. It is disheartening when teachers fail to realize that it is also their responsibility to provide meaningful language opportunities for their students learning English. We know that language is learned best through content instead of studying grammatical rules. I found that article very interesting from last weeks reading and thought I would put in my "two cents" about it.
-Erin

Collier also wrote in his article Acquiring a Second Language for School, "Role of first language. Many studies have found that cognitive and academic development in the first language has an extremely important and positive effect on second language schooling (e.g. Bialystok, 1991; Collier, 1989,1992b; Garcia, 1994; Genesee, 1987, 1994; Thomas & Collier, 1995). Academic skills, literacy development, concept formation, subject knowledge, and learning strategies developed in the first language will all transfer to the second language. As students expand their vocabulary and their oral and written communication skills in the second language, they can increasingly demonstrate their knowledge base developed in the first language." I feel that it is very important for students to develop their first language along side their second language. Students will find great difficulty learning new concepts in their L2 without strengths in their primary language to scaffold upon.
-Erin

Hello, I thought that the article that we needed to read was Linguistic interdepence and the educational Development of Bilingual children by Cummins.
I found this article very interesting and related to our poster presentation. I found intersting that one of the reasons that supported the bad reputation of bilingual programs is "... mismatch between the language of the home and the language of the school leads to academic retardation" was based on a research from the UNESCO, but even more interesting that it refers back to 1953. I think nowadays, we would consider valid an argument that is at least within the last 10 years of research or even less than that.

Julie, refering to your question about what is the best time to start to learn a second language. I have read different theories. There are certainly advantages to start since they are babies. However, the setting is an important factor. When the kids are in FL language settings, it does not make a difference if they start very young in terms of the long run except for pronunciation. Some reseach says that teen age it is the best time because to learn in FL settings. Other researchers say that anytime before 12 years, because of plasticy process and lateralization; it is the ideal time to learn.
For ESL settings, the sooner the better. I guess, it will depend on the context more than in anything else.

Hello girls,

One more comment that I want to add to the Linguistic interdependence article is related to this quote "Children in submersion programs... and their lack of proficiency is often treated as a sign of limited intellectual and academic ability" (p.225) It seems that these children are being treated based on an stereotype for Non-native English speakers that puts them in disadvantage compared to other kids. when the reality is that these kids are not in "intelectual" disadvantge, they just need to overcome a language barrier which for me it is a whole different story. What do you think?

Emilena...
I agree that non-native English speakers are put at a disadvantage when they are viewed as having a limited intellectual ability. Students and teachers may hold this stereotype because the students are unable to express as clearly or fluently as native English speakers. This does not mean they don't have the capacity to understand. They may have trouble expressing their thoughts.

Regarding the comments made about the age that is best for a person to start learning a language:
I agree that it depends upon the context, setting, and method that you learn the language. Everyone's experience is so different. I feel that the younger you are exposed to a language, the better your brain develops to store new language. I find the research on the brain very interesting when related to language development.

Regard Emilena's quote, I agree your point of view. The language barrier realy discouraged the kids to show their inteligency. They know what's going on just can't express their thoughts. This is the main reason the parents want their kids to learn English as soon as possible even sacrofize their native language.

Erin- regarding your comment on Colier's article and content language learning-- the Grabe & Stoller article we're reading for the 5th talks about content based language learning. Very interesting... I actually was just reading the line from it: “Postponing content instruction while students develop more advanced academic language is impractical and ignores students’ complex educational needs� (Grabe & Stoller, 1997, p. 3).

Julie- I saw in one of our Readings for Nov. 5th a mention of an article you might find interesting... Goldstein & Liu, 1994- apparently it discusses how students transition from learning content in Chinese to learning content in English in English-immersion schools in China. Unfortunately I don't see a bibliography in the article so I am not sure the title of the article or where to find it...