This is a review of the interesting articles, Tweets, 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!
Wanted Foreign Language Babysitters
You want to raise your child bilingually but don’t have the language skills yourself? Or maybe you work outside the home and want to ensure that your child is getting as much language exposure as possible? Hire a nanny who speaks the target language! At least that is what many families are doing according to this New York Times article. Thank you Maria via email and Teresa via Facebook for bringing this to our attention!
I am delighted to hear that more and more families are taking things into their own hands. If our children are not going to have the opportunity for bilingualism via current channels, then let’s create our own! Because the truth is, no one is as interested in your child’s language exposure as you are.
The article points out the degree to which families will go to expose their children to additional languages but it also caused confusion and even worry in some families. Here is one tweet that appeared linking to the article:
“The NYTimes says raising a bilingual child actually hurts their verbal and reading comprehension.”
Unfortunately, tweets like these give the impression that families are causing harm by raising children bilingually. However, as you will see below, the full quote from the article refers specifically to testing scores done only in English – not an assessment of overall verbal and reading comprehension of bilingual children. Here is the actual quote from the article:
George P. Davison, head of school at Grace Church School, a competitive downtown school, said that bilingualism tended to suppress verbal and reading comprehension test scores by 20 to 30 percent for children younger than 12. “If anything, it can have a negative effect on admissions,” he said.
The issue here is with testing in English and admissions tests that are done at competitive schools. A bilingual child’s overall verbal and reading comprehension may very likely be advanced when both/all languages are taken into account. Thus, what the quote above tells me is that testing in education is still sorely in need of review and revamping. It would be fabulous if the reporter who wrote this article (her focus is on education in the New York region) wrote an article about how school administrators, principals and teachers can better assess test scores from multilingual children – contacting Karen Nemeth would be a great start!
As I read on Twitter from @joe_bower: “scores, rankings, percentile points: it’s hard to believe we’re talking about education and not a sport.” As bilingual families, it is up to us to help educate our educators if we want to ensure fair testing results of our children. Monolingualism is not the answer for flawed testing in our multilingual 21st century world (as it was in the previous century!).
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