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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. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Reading and Writing: developing strong literacy bilingually

Kathleen HeughResearch Centre for Languages and CulturesUniversity of South Australia

Bilingual Schools NetworkMLTAVWorkshop at Camberwell Primary School11 October 2012First things first: what does bilingual (immersion) education mean now?Conventional view:Two languages, taught as separate entities (Lambert 1970s)Focus on Form (structure lexis, syntax, 4 skills)Code-switching and code-mixing regarded as illegitimate practicesGrammar-translation methodology gave way to other methods (direct, audio-lingual, communicative etc.)Contemporary view:Two languages, part of students repertoire (bilinguality/multilinguality)Focus on (social) process languaging Merill Swain; translanguaging Ofelia GariaIncreasing awareness of what bilingual learners do to make meaningReappraisal of the role of translation and interpreting

Reading and writing: a continuum rather than 2 separate skills

What are these students doing?4Gaps between early literacy and academic literacy: language policy & curriculum weakness in most settingsFocus on teaching literacy only to Year 3

Gap between early literacy Learning to read stories

and the kind of literacy neededacross the curriculum

Reading to learn science, mathematics, history, geography etc. from Year 4 onwards.

This involves a mental (cognitive) jump for all children around the world

Gaps between early literacy and academic literacy - continuedMost children change from local language(s) to English (French or Portuguese) or a dominant regional languagee.g. by the end of year 3 in Africa and India.

Attempts to use L2 for teaching & learningwhen learners have 500-600 words, and simple sentence structures [simple syntax]

for whole curriculum which needs 5000-7000 words and complex structures and sentencesfrom year 4 workable.

It creates a double jump for students from a minority community The double jump is too great.

56Graph slides

Common findings in relation to most language learning & reading programsYears 1-3

Years 4-6

Years 6/7+

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 studentsThe potential of immersion programs Carefully prepared reading across the curriculum in Years 1-3, in two languages canRemove the double cognitive jumpReduce the single cognitive jumpBetween year 3 an 4 (and beyond)Benefits all children, including those considered vulnerableCarefully prepared reading across curriculum continued in Years 4-6+ offers greatest rewardsMaximising opportunities for print and reading everywhere in the school in two or more languages

Using students multilinguality and intercultural knowledge to advance reading and writing9Teachers who are aware of their students multilinguality can turn this into powerful literacy (multi-literacy) development.Involving childrens prior knowledge is important for:Building self-esteem essential for successful learningSharing prior knowledge increases the knowledge base of the entire classCan provide opportunities to develop both reading and writing resourcesEncourages cultural respect and social cohesion

Which rules are really necessary in writing?11Keeping 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.

14Who are the model teachers and which methods work best?If your methods work and your students make good progress then you are doing well.If your methods dont work, ask yourself questions, and explore alternatives.Dont 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.

Success of Finnish & Swedish learners in Finland, PISA assessmentsBased 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: Own interests, attitudes and activities outside school. Finnish students interest and engagement in reading, which were assessed in PISA 2003 only as a national option, had the strongest explanatory power in reading performance, even stronger than parents socio-economic or cultural status. This was the case in both language groups, the Finnish and Swedish speakers (Linnakyl, Malin & Taube, 2006)AND: Finnish children learn to read in 2 / 3 languages:Finnish, Swedish and English; developing high level bi/triliteracy

A few ideas to combine reading and writing across the curriculumFrom an inner city two-way immersion school in Los Angeles (poor children, weakest group, Year 2):Bilingual Science ExperimentBilingual Narrative StoryBilingual: bar graphs / mathsBased on genre theory learning to manage the formulae for different writing requirements provides access to written textsQuestion: At what stage, one can build in metacognitive awareness of languaging (translanguaging), comparisons between languages, translation skills etc.?

Reading and writing in bi/multilingual classrooms practical examples19Groups: 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 grouphelp each other to do thisWhat challenges did you face?How did you resolve these?Task 1b:Try to turn this into a small poster or pamphlet with each of the language versions side-by-sideQuestion: If you could you use a task like this in your context, what would your students learn? What other benefits are there?

Developing strong academic literacy across the curriculum - example 223Task 2a: In groups with 2 or 3 languagesAgree on a simple science experiment that you all know aboutUsing a typical formula for writing up the experiment do this, and try to do it in two or three language versions.Task 2b: 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?

Developing strong narrative skills in two languages example 324Task 3: In groups with 2 or more languages Develop a story-line with the following elements:TitleList of charactersSettingPlotResolution 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.

Simple materials across the curriculumThe 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.

Concluding TipsMaximise both reading and writing opportunities in both languages.The stronger the academic literacy in the L1, the stronger it will become in the L2.Integration of reading and writing, and ensuring opportunities for awareness of the formulae in multiple genres, exponentially increases academic literacy.Increasing awareness of academic literacy as an ongoing process across: the entire curriculum and school; Students, staff, parents, school community.Visibility of bilingual (multilingual) texts across the school.ReferencesBlackledge, Adrian and Angela Creese. 2010. Translanguaging as pedagogy in the bilingual classroom. Multilingualism.A Critical Perspective.201-214.

Garia, Ofelia, 2009. Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Linnakyl, 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). reading approach matter in two-way immersion