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Reading 11

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PSYC 341
Richard Koestner

Reading 9 – What do we know about bilingual education for majority  language students? • Languages is an issue of considerable personal, socio-cultural, economic, and political significance o Growing globalization of business and commerce  Challenged to learn other languages to remain competitive  While globalization of market place often provokes  images of English domination, it also increases the demand to do business in local or regional languages o A revolution in electronic communications has also created a need for proficiency in multiple languages  Need for proficiency in English as a lingua franca on the internet  Internet has also created the possibility much greater communication in regional languages  There are presently more internet sites in languages other than English than English o Voluntary immigration on unprecendent scale o Socio-political era when linguistic domination by “big” languages of “little” languages is becoming more difficult • Bilingual education is defined with respect to three features: o Linguistic goals o Pedagogical approaches o Levels of schooling • Bilingual education is defined as education that aims to promote bilingual (or multilingual) competence by using both (or all) languages as media of instruction • Met (1998) pointed out, there currently exist a variety of L2 instructional approaches that integrate language and content instruction and these can be characterized as falling along a continuum from language-driven to content-driven o Language-driven approaches  content is used simply as a vehicle for teaching target language structures and skills  Primary goal: language language  E.g. non-academic content o Other end of the continuum, where content and language are equally important  mastery of academic objectives is considered as important as the development of proficiency in the target language  E.g. bilingual/immersion education • Bilingual competence: ability to use target languages effectively and appropriate for authentic personal, educational, social, and/or work-related purposes • Significant portions of the academic curriculum  at least 50% of the prescribed non- language related curriculum of studies for one or more years • Generic definition of bilingual education: o 1 type: “immersion” nd o 2 type: regions of the world where there are large numbers of immigrants or speakers of indigenous languages Issues in Bilingual Education for Majority of language students • Bilingual education for majority language students is varied and complex as each community adopts different programmatic models and pedagogical strategies to suit its unique needs, resources, and goals • While bilingual education programs in different communities share the general goal of bilingual proficiency along with grade-appropriate L1 development and academic achievement, their specific goals with respect to L2 differ o One way of characterizing their alternative linguistic goals:  Promote national policies of bilingualism  Promote national langs in countries with one official lang, but students who speak a variety of other langs  Promote proficiency in important regional and/or world languages  Promote proficiency in important regional and/or world languages  Promote proficiency in heritage languages  Promote indigenous languages that are at-risk  Promote foreign lang learning for educational enrichment • Theoretical and Pedagogical o Fundamental human ability  learn language, and, on the other hand, with practical educational factors that can influence the implementation and outcomes of bilingual education o Cannot be generalized to programs where participation is not voluntary Language Development and Academic Achievement • Most extensive body of research with these foci has been conducted in Canada or French immersion programs for English speaking students in different regions of the country, starting in 1965 with Lambert and Tucker’s pioneering evaluation of St. Lambert French immersion program • Students in bilingual programs who speak a dominant societal language acquire significantly more advanced levels of functional proficiency in the L2 than students who receive conventional L2 instruction – that is, instruction that focuses primarily on language learning and is restricted to separate, limited periods of time • Reported that immersion students’ comprehension skills (in reading and listening) seem to be more advanced than their production skills (in speaking and writing) • Students in bilingual programs who speak dominant societal lang usually develop same levels of proficiency in all aspects of L1 as comparable students in programs where L1 is the exclusive medium of instruction • Early total immersion  Lag in develop of L1 literacy skills (reading, writing, and spelling) among students in initial years of bilingual programs in which all academic instruction is presented in L2 o L1 development of students who begin bilingual education beyond primary grades of school usually shows no such lags o Students in latter programs exhibit age-appropriate L! skills at all grade levels  Reduced exposure to instruction in L1 as a result of participation in bilingual program in elementary or secondary grades does not usually impede the normal L1 development of majority lang students • Majority lang students in bilingual programs indicate that they generally achieve same levels of competence as comparable students in L1 programs o Bilingual program students who receive math instruction in French (their L2), but are tested in English (their L1), may exhibit deficiencies in math due to incomplete mastery of lang of testing  One students receive academic instruction in L1, these disparities usually disappear o Instruction in academic subjs through medium of an L2 does not usually impede acquisition of new academic skills and knowledge in comparison to that acquired by students receiving the same academic instruction through the medium of their L1 Focus on Form or Meaning • Defining characteristic of bilingual education is the use of the target languages to teach prescribed academic subjs o Immersion programs  characterized as pedagogy with a “focus on meaning” in contrast to pedagogical approaches which “focus on forms”  Expected to learn target lang by using it for academic or other authentic communicative purposes; whereas latter, mastery of formal structures and properties (rules) of the lang are taught as pre-reqs to functional use of lang  Rationale: by integrating lang and academic instruction  take advantage of children’s natural ability to learn language which occurs during authentic, meaningful, and significant communication with others • Immersion students often fail to master important aspects of the target lang, such as verb tense, pronouns, and prepositions o More exposure to target lang do not always outperform students with less exposure • Genesee (1987) argued that students in bilingual/immersion programs that emphasize functional use may fail to exhibit continuous growth in both their repertoire of communicative skills and their formal linguistic competence because they are able to get by in school using limited set of functional and structural skills o not compelled by teachers’ instructional strategies to extent linguistic competencies • “focus on forms”  instruction that highlights specific linguistic structures and forms within the context of communicative instruction as instruction with a “focus on form”  isolated instruction of linguistic forms • Norris and Ortega (2000) conducted meta-analysis of studies that have examined alternative types of L2 pedagogy 1) L2 instruction that focused on linguistic forms, either in context of meaningful communication or otherwise, had significant positive effects on acquisition of target forms 2) Instruction with focus on form was effective in enhancing linguistic competence whether or not there was integration of form and meaning 3) Instruction with an explicit focus on form was more effective than instruction with an implicit focus on form 4) Positive effects of form-focused instruction on acquisition were reliable over time  although, positive effects diminished as time between instruction and testing increased • Instruction that heightened students’ awareness of these forms and gave them opportunities to acquire them had positive influence on students’ competence with these forms • Meta-analysis of effectiveness of L2 instruction demonstrated potential benefits of instruction that explicitly teaches forms relevant to students’ communicative needs or that draws attention to linguistic forms by making these forms salient during communicative classroom activities Age • “younger is better” when it comes to learning a second language  widely hypothesized • Critical period effects may be more significant for L1 than L2 development • Evaluations of bilingual programs for majority lang students with different starting grades has produced two patterns of results o There is research that shows that, when it comes to learning second langs in school, older students can make impressive progress  Students participating in late French immersion programs beginning in secondary school significantly outperform students at same grade level in core French programs, as one would expect given the considerably difference in [email protected] exposure enjoyed by late immersion students  Evaluations of 2 year late immersion programs  late immersion students can achieve same or almost same levels of L2 proficiency as students in early immersion programs • RESULT: outperformed early immersion students when length of exposure to L2 was equated • Evaluations of more conventional L2 programs with different starting grades have reported similar success for older vs younger learners in school settings o Other evaluations have reported that students in bilingual programs with an early starting point achieve significantly higher levels of L2 proficiency than students in programs with a delayed or late starting point  Genesee (1981) found that early immersion students who started in K performed significantly better than one-year late immersion students o Findings indicate that advantage of late immersion students in 2-year programs is linked to amount of L2 exposure as well as age of exposure o CONCLUSION: EFI (early French immersion) students consistently out-perform MFI (middle French immersion) and LFI (late French immersion) students overall  Differences between EFI and LFI tend to diminish as students approach the end of secondary school, attesting to rapid progress that late immersion students can make if they stay in program o Benefits of early-entry bilingual/immersion programs:  Students’ innate or natural lang learning ability • Older students have benefit of well-developed L1 that can facilitate acquisition of L2 literacy skills  reverse transfer for L2 to L1 • Self-selection  success of late L2 learners, voluntarily opt for bilingual education are highly motivated  Their attitudinal openness to new langs and cultures  Opportunity for extended exposure afforded by early starting grade  Optimal fit btwn learning styles of young learners and effective L2 pedagogy • Educators and parents concerned that academic performance will suffer if they begin to receive academic instruction through medium of new lang in higher grades o Early intro of L2 for purposes of academic instruction is that academic
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