This is a review of the interesting articles, Twitters, Facebook posts and more which took place this week in and around our Multilingual Living universe. Thank you everyone for sharing your tips with me! Keep them coming!
Home Languages STRENGTHEN school languages!
Perhaps the world is finally coming to realize what researchers and families have known for a long time: strengthening your home language with your children = strengthening your child’s school language!
- Here is a great article just about this topic titled “Using Spanish to Build English Skills” . Here families are encouraged to strengthen their home language use as “literacy in home language gives extra strength to development in English.”
Teaching Languages vs Living Languages
For some reason, we seem to think that our children can only learn our language if we “teach” it to them. This is exactly the wrong approach to raising multilingual children! The last thing our children need are language lessons from us. What we need to do is to LIVE the language for them: use it in context, share words and sentences and experiences with them, include them in our very own language joy! What follows are some great articles for educators from which all of us can benefit:
- This post from Karen Nemeth is a letter which can be given to school or program administrators of dual language programs. Here’s one snippet: “…research has shown that lessons are less likely to result in positive outcomes than play based learning.”
- And speaking of Karen Nemeth, here is an audio discussion with her, Dr. Ellen Bialystok, and Liz Willen titled Settling The Great Bilingual Education Debate.
- Ana Lomba warns us about the growing trend toward “fast food approach to foreign languages.”
- Here is a link to a fascinating study whose purpose is to demonstrate “that codeswitching and multilingualism are a natural occurrence which can support academic achievement, cognitive development, and multilingualism.” They ask the question: “Is multilingualism in American schools only possible after students we have achieved monolingualism?”
- I really enjoyed this article about six things all language teachers should know about tasks. Whether you are a teacher or a parent of a multilingual child, these six things are so very useful!
Is Bilingualism the Key to Language Survival?
Some interesting articles came out today focused on recent studies which argue that bilingualism may be the key to helping languages survive! Instead of watching dominant languages overtake and kill off smaller, less utilized languages, perhaps there is a way for all to coexist in peaceful harmony.
- On June 21st, an article in Mother Jones magazine appeared titled “Is English Killing Other Languages?” The article discusses a study which argues “if the languages are sufficiently grammatically similar to one another and both are perceived as economically or socially valuable, then they can survive together in the same place for an indefinite amount of time.”
- Then on June 23rd, an article appeared in ABC Science Online titled “Bilingualism key to language survival” in which the following is stated: “Australian linguist, Professor Nicholas Evans, from the Australian National University in Canberra agrees that bilingualism is key to the survival of non-dominant languages. But he does not agree with Dr Mira and colleagues’ conclusion that languages have to be necessarily similar to coexist.”
Here are some interesting links that you might want to check out as parents of multilingual children. I found them interesting, fascinating and down-right neat:
- As a bilingual homeschooling mom, I am always delighted to find others out there! Mommy Maestra is just getting started in this journey and shares her experiences via her blog.
- Did you know that our ability to communicate is inseparable from our musical sense. Watch at least the beginning of this audio slide-show to understand why speaking our language(s) to our unborn children has benefits!
- Discussions on the Multilingual Living Facebook page were very interesting this week: Family feuds over World Cup standings, whether to switch to the community language with our kids when others are around, and more.
- The Bilingual Blogging Carnival is almost here! Make sure to send in a latest blog entry so that you can join in the fun!