Canadian Bilingual Education Implications for English Language Learning in China Presentation by Dr. Ed Nicholson Guangdong University of Foreign Studies CANADA Les Francophones au Canada Percentage of Students Enrolled in French Immersion Classes in Canada. Province
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Learning in China
Presentation by Dr. Ed Nicholson
Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Source: Statistics Canada & CPF
in four provinces and more than 50% in the remaining six.
in the program being challenged by some social agencies as being ‘elitist’ (Olson & Burns, 1983)
EFL teachers often fail to suitably challenge L2 learners by over relying on the mother tongue and by aiming instruction at the “average” student in the classroom.
Increasingly, at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, it is the students -even our non-English majors- who complain about “too much Chinese!” being used in English class by the teacher!
Immersion programs may be one way to address the expectations of some students.
Consideration # 2
Krashen (1987) believes that we acquire language by using what we know coupled with new information, an idea he refers to as his
Language which contains only structures that we already know does not aid in acquisition. This is just i. Acquisition is a result of
“ i + 1”, or current knowledge plus input just a bit beyond that. Thereforecomprehensible inputis a key concept in L2 acquisition.
i + 1
Although it is true that many - if not most - EFL students continue to regard English as a stepping stone to a better job, it is equally true that these same students will be the first generation of Chinese in large numbers to travel widely, study overseas and work for multi-national corporations. (China Daily, 2003)
Communicative competence in English is therefore a skill which may be of life long benefit - not just a language you study to pass the CET examination and add to your C.V.
The acronyms BICS and CALP refer to a distinction introduced by Cummins (1979) between two language types - Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency. Other researchers have used different terms*, but the essential distinction refers to the extent to which the meaning is supported by contextual or interpersonal cues ( gestures, facial expressions, and intonation) or by linguistic cues that are independent of the communicative context.
*See, for example, the work of Bruner  on analytic and communicative competence and Donaldson’s  description of embedded and disembedded language.
Cummins (1979) uses a visual ‘iceberg’ metaphor to explain CUP The two icebergs are separate above the surface. That is, two languages are visibly different in outward conversation, but underneath the surface, the two icebergs are fused such that the two languages do not function separately. Both languages operate through the same central processing system. Thus, skills, ideas and concepts students learn in their first language will be readily transferred to the second language.
* Meaningful social contexts often with face-to-face interaction
* Context embedded
* Nonverbal cues(tone of voice, gestures, facial expressions)
* Opportunity to clarify meaning
* Familiar concepts/topics
* 2-3 years to acquire
C A L P
Listening, speaking, reading and writing in content areas
Few nonverbal cues (especially if reading passages in texts)
Little or no opportunity to clarify meaning
5-7+ years to acquire
If we generalize this research to EFL teaching, it is arguable that the provision of both formal and informal language learning experiences in the classroom will be beneficial for the student.
… if we further generalize this idea to the immersion milieu, we see that the increased social interaction in English in context promotes the development of a common underlying proficiency.
Although is it self-evident that memory is crucial to second language acquisition (Christianson,1992) the immersion environment is particularly supportive of three different types of memory:
Our brain constantly monitors the environment for additional clues to help it understand what is happening around it. The more separate but associated referent points it can establish, the faster it will learn and recall.
In the French immersion class, the student is enclosed in an environment containing a multitude of thesereferents.
This dissection of the left hemisphere reveals thearcuate fasciculus, which interconnects Wernicke's area (an area involved in the interpretation of spoken language) with Broca's area (the "motor speech" area of the brain).
"Knowledge needs to be pulled into the brain by the student, not pushed into it by the teacher. Knowledge is not to be forced on anyone. The brain has to be receptive, malleable, and most important, hungry for that knowledge."
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