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Pei, Shannon, Sherri, Maureen Discussion 2

Please post your second blog discussion here.


As I read Cummins's article on The Entry and Exit Fallacy in Bilingual Education, I found it is interesting. In his paper which stated "everybody acquires basic interpersonal communicative skills in a first language, regardless of IQ or academic aptitude."

One of my students who is a special ed. student. Regardless his cognitive diability and academic achievement, he tries his best and is able to perform

Even though this is not our group assigned article to read for the week, I was reading Collier, V (1995) Acquiring a Second Language for School for our group presentation project and found it is a very true statement. Collier stated that "linguistic processes, a second component of the model, consist of the subconscious aspects of language development (an innate ability all humans possess for acquisition of oral language), as well as the metalinguistic, conscious, formal teaching of language in school, and acquisition of the written system of language." As I said this statement to an ESL teacher and she said she found it true as well. When students have any kind of schooling learn faster than the students who do not have formal schooling background. The L1 reacquisition helps L2 learning.

Collier's paper also stated that "first language acquisition is an unending process throughout our lifetime (Berko Gleason, 1993; Collier, 1992a). Second language acquisition is an equally complex phenomenon." Sometimes, we thought since we have the L1; therefore, L2 should come easier. But, we forgot that it takes years for L2 to develop to a so called "proficiency level". As teachers, we need to remember this and apply scaffolding as often as possible to ensure the knowledge stays with the students. And this process may take years.

Hi group:

I think it is great that we got to read on some topics that are related to our poster project on ESL education. I will focus my comments here on two of the articles that I found particularly interesting-The Entry and Exit Fallacy in Bilingual Education and Linguistic Interdepence and the Educational Development of Bilingual Children, both by Cummins.

The comparison of two groups of students who spend thier day divided between a home and school language raised questions about the long-held belief linguistic mis-match hypothesis exemplefied by the UNESCO statement that "it is axiomatic that the best medium for teaching a child is in his mother tongue" (UNESCO 1953 p.11) Proponents of bilingual education for the purpose of increasing the academic success of language minority children must consider the results of these kind of studies to accurately address what factors may also be at play in addition to purely linguistic factors. Cummins proposed the question this way: "Why does a home-school language switch result in high levels of functional bilingualism and academic acheivement in middle-class majority language children, yet lead to inadequate command of both first and second languages and poor academic acheivement in many minority language children" (Cummins 1979 p.222)

Several possibilities were suggested by Cummins and other researchers as to why this may be the case. Each had merits, but as to yet there doesn't seem to be a clear idea of what the problem it. The ultimate goal of ESL education in its many forms, including bilingual, transitional, and traditional is to produce students that are better equipped to handle the academic material required for students to be successful in school and later in life. In examining the difference in academic success between students in these different situations of home-school language difference we can find the factors needed to improve the success of ESL students in our US schools.

1. What is different between emmersive and submersive students in relation to language?

Although there is a home-school language split, I would argue that the majority language immersion student would almost always have more access to developing thier L1 in thier home hours. They have more access to speakers outside of thier family that are speaking thier L1. Television, social situations, neigborhood, print materials in the form of signs books advertisements etc. are all readily available in the L1.
Language minority students, however, may not have a full L1 environment at home. As thier L2 skills develop faster than thier parents, they are often counted on for translating and contact with the Enlish-speaking (L2) community. Television and other surrounding input are aslo L2. If the develpmental interdependence hypothesis proposes that "the level of L2 competence which a bilingual child attains is partially a function of the type of competence the child has developed in the L1 at the time when the intensive exposure to L2 begins (Cummins 1979 p.233)" then wouldn't that child be disadvantaged in developing the L2 as a result of this shortening of thier L1 time/access at home.

2. What is different socially between the language minority submersives and the language majority emmersives?

Socio-economic factors cannot be ignored when comparing these two groups of children. While not all language minority students entering school in the United States occupy the lower socioeconomic stratas, the majority of recent immigrants and ethnic minorities to not have the economic resources that the middle-class emmersives have. Parent involvement is a huge part of the success of emersion schools. If a parent is working long hours to make ends meet-they are not there to provide support in L1 development. They don't give as much time in the L1 and Cummins also metions that the quality of language shared between the persons in the home environment makes a difference as well. Although not mentioned in the articles it would also be pertinent to look at the differences in diet, excercise in sleep habits that often differ from middle-class language majority students and thier minority counterpoints. Some may not agree with me, but I firmly believe that things like the time involved in making healthy food, the relative safety of the neighborhood for kids to play outside, the money required for extracurricular sports, and the time available to make sure your children are getting to bed on time, and the knowlege of how doing these things helps your children are a luxury that is afforded to middle-class families.

Socially, Cummins mentioned the importance of the learners motivation to learn the L2. If you are in a minority ethnic group that is economically oppressed, there seem to be some hostility toward learning and absorbing that language and culture. That is why it is imperitive to the success of the program that it be valued by its local community. Dual-immersion programs seem to address this problem as long as they are equally valued by the language majority. I see Spanish dual-immersion programs to have the most probability of success in the US in this respect. In Minnesota, for example, I don't think that we would be able to find a large enough group of language majority students to enroll in a Somali-English or Hmong-English dual immersion program because not enough parents would recognize the value of Somali or Hmong language skills. So if you can't find the population for a dual-immersion you would have to find other ways to those language minority students to feel pride in thier language and that their dual languages are appreciated. I don't think that we have been successful in that in the US in general.

3. What is different between the two groups of students and thier attitudes of school success?

One other possible explanation for the difference in success between immersives and submersives is that immersion students are told that they are in a gifted program, while language minority bilinguals are often treated as remedials. This is where it gets tricky in transitional and bilingual programs. If students, parents, and the community feel that the bilingual education is remdedial students lose motivation and pride in thier educational experience. Immersion students can feel successful in the L2 because there is nobody to tell them that they are inferior. They are learning a language as "an extra" so performance is based on more developmentally appropriate standards. Language minority students, however are expected to be proficient in English and thus thier L2 skills are scrutinized in all of thier interactions. They are held to a higher standard and, thus, feel like they are failing.

4. How long does it take to get fluent?

The difference between these two groups is evidence in the time given to master the L2. In immersion programs the L1 and L2 will both be used in school throughout the academic career and attain academic proficiency in the L2 equal to monolinguals at the end of elementary school. However in many Immersive programs, students are expected to leave the transitional program after 1-2 years when they have interpersonal fluencey. According to Cummins " The assumption that children must be mainstreamed in order to learn English is essentially a rejection of the counter-intuitive'less Equals More" rationale of bilingual education." Meaning that students need to fully develop the underlying Cognitive/Academic Language proficiency in L1 before expecting the student to do so in the L2. Without that continued support in L1- the result will be a weakening of the base on which you will build the L2.

In general, I think these articles make a good case for as much maintanence of the L1 as possible- to strengthen the success of academics in L2. Now the question for schools in deciding what they can do best to support that language minority students. In a situation where a bilingual school is not practical, they could look at longer transitional schools. Transitional schools would be dependent on finding good teachers in that language and gaining support from the community so that it is not viewed as remedial. For communities where that is not possible (maybe only a small number of a given language group) supporting parents to provide L1 support. All would be an improvement.

A comment from reading Sharri’s sharing. I agree with Collier’s paper that when we learn L2, it is accumulate process. No one can learn a second language and be proficiency in a very short period of time. It will take years to get better with the learning process. The important point of view here is since it is fast speed generation, every one thought that they can learn things in a faster way and be able to use it in a second after only spent a little time of learning. Our student expected to learn a second language in a short time and if they don’t get it as they wished, they are easily get discouraged and thought that language is too hard for them, then they probably just quit to learn a second language. So, by knowing that learn a second language is time consumed, the teacher may help the student to set up realistic goals, and help them to achieve it.

I am reading the book of “balance reading and language learning?----- A resource for teaching English language learners. Since our project is “ESL?, so I though it might be good to share with you some of the ideas that the book mentioned now, so that it might also help you to prepare your parts.
Through the framework of a balanced reading program, the author emphasizes several things for English learners. So here I will just list few of them to share with you all.
Part one: getting to know our student. It is include setting up the learning environment and also know each English language learners. Part two: establishing the balanced literacy program. It is reading to, with and by children and thematic planning. Part three: read –aloud and share reading. This is only a few steps that might help a teacher in a classroom. But I really like the author’s idea which she knew that it is challenge of figuring out how to teach ESL learner effectively and of setting up an environment where all of the ESL learners.

Shannon- that is great for our section on resources for ESL teachers. I think that one section I hadn't considered in my "what ESL models are there and what are thier effectiveness" that I could mention that one model could be that any ESL support is provided by the classroom teacher. Although this is probably less desireable to a certain extent (but more practical in areas where there may only be a limited number of ESL students, or they can't find qualified ESL teachers) , it is possible that this is a model. Your reading on the read aloud and sharing and thematic planning is similar to what we did in immersion teaching. Going back to Collier's comparison of immersion and ESL students, this is a very good method for increasing linguistic competence while teaching content at the same time.

I forgot to put my name there for the comment for reading Sherri’s.
To Maureen: Indeed, in this book, the author mentioned several concepts from Collie’s and Cummin'S. We all know that most ESL students are immigrants, or kids born here with parents who speak another language at home. So it is kind of important for a teacher to know his or her student’s background. One of the models in this book also include the parents participate. I ready think that the modals and effective ways of teaching an ESL class are kind of similar with teaching other languages. By reading this book, also helped me with my Chinese class. I will send you more to answers your question about “what ESL modals are there and what their effectiveness?

I think the ESL is ESL and to give whatever name does not make different in teaching and learning. The key issue how to teach the language in a alived way and learner learn in a alvied way. Means the whole purpose is to learn and use them student can keep what they learnt. Language if you don't use it, it will die quickly. The language used frequentcy is the very important. No frequency no fluency.