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Reading and Writing: developing strong literacy bilingually. Kathleen Heugh Research Centre for Languages and Cultures University of South Australia Bilingual Schools Network MLTAV Workshop at Camberwell Primary School 11 October 2012.
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developing strong literacy bilingually
Research Centre for Languages and Cultures
University of South Australia
Bilingual Schools Network
Workshop at Camberwell Primary School
11 October 2012
Two languages, part of student’s repertoire (bilinguality/multilinguality)
Focus on (social) process – ‘languaging’ Merill Swain; ‘translanguaging’ Ofelia Garçia
Increasing awareness of what bilingual learners do to make meaning
Reappraisal of the role of translation and interpreting
What are these students doing?
‘Learning to read’ stories
and the kind of literacy needed
across the curriculum
‘Reading to learn’ science, mathematics, history, geography etc.
from Year 4 onwards.
Most children change from local language(s)
to English (French or Portuguese) or a dominant regional language
e.g. by the end of year 3 in Africa and India.
Attempts to use L2 for teaching & learning
for whole curriculum
from year 4 ≠ workable.
It creates a double jump for students from a minority community
The double jumpis too great.
Student achievement more or less similar across most reading programs
Gaps begin to widen depending upon program
Students in dual language (immersion) programs outperform other students
Keeping languages separated prevents most multilingual children from writing and speaking.
Mixing languages (code-mixing, code-switching) is normal.
If most vocabulary used in English has been borrowed and absorbed from other languages, what does this suggest to us in our teaching contexts?
Read Ekkehard Wolff on the way Ugandan children use access to different language codes to maintain social controls.
If your methods work and your students make good progress – then you are doing well.
If your methods don’t work, ask yourself questions, and explore alternatives.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
We can all learn from one another.
We can add to our toolbox – bit by bit.
We only have to add what we understand and what makes sense to us.
What makes sense to me may not make sense to you and vice versa.
‘Based on regression analyses of both the PISA 2000 and 2003 data, the single key factors that proved the strongest determinants of reading literacy performance in Finland were students’:
(Linnakylä, Malin & Taube, 2006)
Finnish children learn to read in 2 / 3 languages:
Finnish, Swedish and English; developing high level bi/triliteracy
From an inner city two-way immersion school in Los Angeles (poor children, weakest group, Year 2):
Bilingual Science Experiment
Bilingual Narrative Story
Bilingual: bar graphs / maths
Based on genre theory – learning to manage the formulae for different writing requirements provides access to written texts
At what stage, one can build in metacognitive awareness of languaging (translanguaging), comparisons between languages, translation skills etc.?
Groups: 2 or more languages
Task 1a: Proverb (wise saying)
Think of a well-known proverb that is known in different communities (even if there are some differences)
Translate this into the languages of the group
help each other to do this
What challenges did you face?
How did you resolve these?
Try to turn this into a small poster or pamphlet with each of the language versions side-by-side
Question: If you could you use a task like this in your context, what would your students learn? What other benefits are there?
Task 2a: In groups with 2 or 3 languages
Agree on a simple science experiment that you all know about
Using a typical formula for writing up the experiment – do this, and try to do it in two or three language versions.
Make a list of the scientific terminology used. What are the similarities and differences between this terminology in the 2/3 languages of the classroom?
Are any of these words used differently in other contexts? What do you notice about the structure of the sentences (subjects, objects, verbs)?
Task 2c: How could you help the students to develop their academic reading and writing of text about experiments?
Task 3: In groups with 2 or more languages
Develop a story-line with the following elements:
List of characters
Try to write it up simultaneously – stage by stage in as many language versions as possible.
This means co-operative writing where there are gaps of expertise in some of the languages, borrowing of vocabulary and code-switching is legitimate.
The idea is to reward and acknowledge diversity – not to punish it – this will encourage development in writing and reduce student fear. It also maximises reading opportunities for the whole class.
The following examples of bilingual materials – developed by a young teacher, Chandni, who works with Tribal children in a slum on the outskirts of Bhopal. Chandni, without knowing anything about bilingual education, or the need to extend literacy across the curriculum translated material from the internet into:
Hindi (the dominant language) and Gondi (the Tribal language), then she laminated the pages and put them together in a spiral bound book.
Blackledge, Adrian and Angela Creese. 2010. Translanguaging as pedagogy in the bilingual classroom. Multilingualism.A Critical Perspective.201-214.
Garçia, Ofelia, 2009. Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Linnakylä, P. Malin & Taube. 2006.The Finnish success in PISA – and some reasons behind it. PISA 2003.
Slavin, Robert and Cheung, Alan. 2003. Effective Reading Programs for English Language Learners: A Best-Evidence Synthesis
Swain, Merill. 2006. Language, agency and collaboration in advanced second language proficiency. In Byrnes, Heidi (ed) Advanced Language Learning: The Contribution of Halliday and Vygotsky. London: Continuum. 95-108.
Thomas, Wayne P. & Collier, Virginia P. (2002). A National Study of School Effectiveness for Language Minority Students' Long Term Academic Achievement. George Mason University, CREDE (Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence). http://www.crede.ucsc.edu/research/llaa/1.1_final.html.
Does reading approach matter in two-way immersion programs
Teaching English Reading in a bilingual classroom. http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&sqi=2&ved=0CC0QFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fell.tamucc.edu%2Ffiles%2Fmodule_3.ppt&ei=_g90UN_zHKnMmgWDrIDoBg&usg=AFQjCNGRZJ8iywBFGIymLDmv3EfEBxN8ow&sig2=y8l3P5jB61YOwUBScBCTqg
Ekkehard Wolff provides an interesting discussion of how Ugandan children, who have access to Nubi (an informal code), Ganda, Swahili and English, make conscious decisions about when to change language (code-switch) (Wolff 2000). This demonstrates quite clearly that children are able to make sophisticated decisions about their language use. The older children use local conventions to decide or control who is allowed to use which code, and when. The older children use their social standing (age which requires respect) to exert power over or control of the younger ones. The younger children are only allowed to use Nubi and Ganda in the presence of the older children, whereas the older children will show off their linguistic power by making use of all of the codes, but use KiSwahili and English to symbolise their superior status over the younger children. This study is an excellent example of the social and political power of language use as well as code-switching. (http://www.praesa.org.za/files/2012/07/Paper4.pdf).