This week I would like to highlight two resources on Dual Language Education:
1. Ed Week’s Section on Dual Language Education by Leslie A. Maxwell. This webpage summarizes current research on dual language education programs better known as two-way bilingual education programs where 50% of students are English dominant and 50% are Spanish dominant (or other language) and the curriculum is provide equally in both languages. This webpage has videos, articles, and latest research on the benefits of this type of education programs that is on the rise in the US (it seems silly to say this part as Europe works very much this way and kids learn more than 2 language most of the time). In the latest post you can see a video of a program in CA where children experience literacy activities in Spanish and English. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/learning-the-language/2012/04/a_look_inside_a_dual_language.html
2. Diary of a Bilingual School is the second resource I am highlighting this week. The book is an account of a dual language program over a year. In their description, “the book focuses on Chicago’s Inter-American Magnet School, one of the nation’s most acclaimed dual immersion programs, where children thrive in an environment that unlocks their intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for learning. Simultaneously, without conscious effort, they become proficient in two languages and at home in a culture that differs from their own”. Its free on Kindle this week -click here to access
For any one interested in resources on diversity and dual language learners please visit the the National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness. This center provides the Head Start community with research-based information, practices, and strategies to ensure optimal academic and social progress for linguistically and culturally diverse children and their families.
Please share as appropriate
Rollanda O’Connor, researcher and faculty member fromt he University of California Riverside is providing a very rich perspective on RtI for ELLs with clear guidance for K-3 grade teachers — bridging research and practice at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Denver, CO.
1. Teach patterns in the 100 most common words: th, or, ch, wh, ee, al, ou, er, ar– match this to the 100 most common words
2. Interventions for second grade recommendations: common letter patterns and fixes, fluency (if we can increase 20 words increase we increase comprehension level) for ELLs this is usually slower so fluency is CRITICAL! conversations and justifications — why do you think that…..? type questions
3. evaluate of reading fluency and accuracy is important–
4. Work on common affixes– inflected endings: -ed, -ing, -s, -es
5. In 2nd and 3rd grade work on morphemes– meaningful parts of words– improves decoding, spelling, and reinforces word meanings- ex. “not” — un, dis, in, im (disloyal, unaware, invisible”
6. Work on cognates– for English/Spanish– google for list of cognates ex. adult/adulto, enter/entrar, intelligence/inteligencia– there programs that you can purchase but you can start with a google search for the lists
7. Examine multi-syllable words and refer back to morpheme work
8. Create exit criteria for ELLs that is a bit higher that reported– always ensuring access to RtI
She emphasizes from her research outcomes that there is a cost of waiting to provide Tier 2 supports for ELL and that we will get a significant boost if we start preventive Tier 2 interventions in K and have better outcomes by 3rd grade even above English only students! WOW– we have a lot of promise.
9. In K use pictures in phonemic awareness and stretch blending so that it sounds more like music than chopped up sounds
If we start we have 25% less of students needing later support or being identified for special education if we start in K!
This research suggest we can close the achievement gap by having similar identification rates for ELLs as English only students if we adopt early intervening
Under identification in lower grades, over identification in upper grades– can be prevented!
I just finished reading an articleon a wonderful site titled No Dual Language Immersion School for My Son’ http://spanglishbaby.com/2012/03/no-dual-language-immersion-school-for-my-son-yet/
This mother, a Colombian born like me, just heard that her son didn’t make the lottery for the Dual language-two way school in California. I felt so sad because I remember being at that moment 5 years ago when I received notice that my son, now in 3rd grade in a two-way dual language school in Boston, was waitlisted. I don’t understand why we are limited in our choices, why do we wait to teach our children a second language until they get to high school. How do we create equity for all students when we don’t equip them with the right tools and opportunities– like becoming bilingual/multilingual. Why do we send them the message that their language must be sacrificed at the expense of learning and living in an English only “world” until they get to high school and then we tell them that they need to be prepared for a “global” community. Make your voice heard! Let’s organize to promote more dual language schools.
Here are some strategies I tried and worked for now:
1. Ask about a wait list and get on it
2. Call the district office and follow up on the wait list and do the same at the school every week.
3. Don’t give up!
4. Call when school starts and let them know you are waiting for a spot and you would like to know how many students have not shown up the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd week–schools must open spots after that point
5. Try for a transfer during the school year
6. Try again for next year
7. Get involved with the parent group and perhaps they have other ideas
Good luck to all the professionals and parents who believe that all children deserve a school experience that prepares them to be global learners– dual language school (AKA Two way programs)
Bilingualism in infancy: first steps in perception and comprehension
Janet F. Werker and Krista Byers-Heinlein in Trends in Cognitive Sciences Journal 2008.
Bilingual language learning: An ERP study relating early brain responses to speech, language input, and later word production by Adrian Garcia-Sierraa, Maritza Rivera-Gaxiolaa, Cherie R. Percaccioa, Barbara T. Conboyb, Harriett Romoc, Lindsay Klarmana, Sophia Ortizc, Patricia K. Kuhla, Journal of Phonetics in 2011.
Language selection in bilingual word production: Electrophysiological evidence for cross-language competition
Noriko Hoshinoa, and Guillaume Thierryb in Brain Research in 2010.
Brian Goldstein’s, 2nd edition of Bilingual Language Development and Disorders in Spanish-English Speakers. Brookes Publishing
This New York Times article by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee provides a summary of a variety of research evidence on the benefits of bilingualism. The author summarizes research benefits in young children and the elderly and provides a new way to see bilingualism as an edge! Benefits include:
Better cognitive skills in general
Better/improved executive functioning
Shielding from Dementia and Alzheimers
Stimulating on the areas of the brains that improves functioning not seen in monolinguals
Speed in processing and shielding of distractions
Increased ability to monitor the environment
This is a great must read!
In this post I would like to describe what is SMART RTI and the latest research from its authors as to how to continue improving RTI in school district and schools.
As I sat in my office this morning, I opened the most recent issue of the special education journal Exceptional Children and found SMART RTI!
According to the authors, SMART RTI is like SMART phones, cars or houses, which are using information oriented enhancements to make these tools work better and more efficiently–in Response to Intervention (RTI) this is an opportunity to look at the “Next Generation” approach to Multilevel prevention frameworks.
What is SMART RTI (or how I like to call it SmRTI?)
Fuchs, Fuchs, and Compton (2012) in their most recent article SMART RTI: A Next Generation Approach to Multilevel Prevention- explain that as districts and schools address the issue of RTI and the time and cost of resources for implementation they should also be thinking “out of the box” to improve the implementation of the model/framework. In their redesign of RTI their overall message recommends the following features:
1. Having multi- stage screening processed versus a 1 universal screening tool to determine the needed level of intervention (investment upfront with the hope of less false-positives).
2. Having Tier 3 or tertiary prevention that integrated data-based program modification with meaningful access to the curriculum, and clear explanation of movement across tiers inherent in student IEPs– for students with disabilities.
The authors make a great point in explaining the current limitations of RTI in districts and schools today, and offer new ideas that allow RTI to expand its ability to meet the needs of all students. The authors believe that primary (Tier 1) and secondary prevention (Tier 2) benefits from data-based problem solving and standard protocols practices but that we need “experimental” instruction in the tertiary interventions. Does this mean that Tier 3 is special education? No, I believe in their article the authors are talking about the unique needs of students with disabilities and how their needs will be met across the level of tiers recognizing that they will need tertiary interventions (Tier 3) that should be handled by special education teachers. At this point, special education teacher evaluate “meaningful” access to the general curriculum and wage it against the student’s current level of performance in designing instruction, but the authors don’t address the rest of the population of students who may at times need Tier 3 level of supports– students who are English language learners and low achievers in general, or students with emotional behavioral disorders.
The authors call for SMART RTI is welcome and critical at this point when districts and schools are hitting walls in time, resources, and the number of students who are not responding. We need to support this effort to move forward and to continue the current gains we have made to close the silos of education in practice. RTI has required by design that Offices of Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, English Language Learners/Bilingual Education, and others collaborate; it has required that regular education, special education teachers and support personnel sit at the table and work together like never before to support all learners because of its ccles of progress monitoring, and its also made principals and headmasters become instructional leaders and consumers of data – we don’t want this to go away we want to make it more effective!
The article can be found at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in its premier publication Exceptional Children. Reference: Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L, Compton, D. (2012) SMART RTI: Next Generation Approach to Multilevel Prevention, Exceptional Children, 78(3), 23-279.
Please visit the The Journal of Multiculturalism in Education Volume 7 (December 2011) 1
Response to Intervention for English Learners
This article describes a framework for using Response to Intervention (RTI) with students
who are English Learners (ELs). It examines the characteristics of these students; defines
the RTI process; and then outlines how schools can use grade level teams, a school
leadership team, and professional development to support literacy instruction in this model. We
include specific recommendations to screen and monitor progress.
This newest article on how to keep a second language alive offers some good ideas for children and adults to engage in activities that will support and grow a second language that is not used very much—http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/life-bilingual/201202/keeping-language-alive
Coincidently, this week I had a conversation with one of the schools I work with on strategies to engage students who are learning in two languages to use the non-dominant language in this case monolingual English speakers learning Spanish in an English only dominant culture– and we came up with some great ideas with the help of our star intern Kelley!
1. Engage college students who studied abroad in the language in question to continue to develop their skills with students who know the language
2. Link with professionals or exchange students to read books to students via Skype in the language in question from the country that speaks the language itself
3. Identify schools in other countries that can build pen pals (epals.com- helpful website), if students don’t write yet, perhaps the teachers can do the Skypeing into each others classrooms
4. Identify volunteers, including parents, in the community where the children come from that can read or play board games in the language in question
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL IDEAS? Lets get this list growing– please share
The World Has Changed: Foreign Languages Make a Huge Difference
Is the title of the article in the Huff Post World online newspaper. It presents the perspective that because English is a global language is those who are monolingual really need to know another language– great concept and so true as I sat today in a meeting at work and I am 1 of 2 bilinguals in a group of 15 people and we are an international company. Support bilingualism!
There is also a great discussion at the end of the article that you can click on. The discussion board is entitled English is Global, So Why Learn Arabic?