Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Deal with it

The Economist – Staff Writer

“LANGUAGE-learners like to swap war-stories about their struggles, whether with Chinese tones, Japanese honorifics, German articles, Russian cases or Danish pronunciation. Each language challenges the learner with something unique. After twenty years of knowing passable French, Johnson learned today that two French words are masculine in the singular and feminine in the plural: amour (love) and orgue (organ, the musical kind). It is un amour fou, but des amours folles. This kind of thing can only make the learner shake his head: isn’t French grammar complicated enough already, to say nothing of French amours? It is easy to spend an entire lifetime learning the quirks of one’s native language, without having to boggle the mind with a foreign one. All this diversity, when not a headache, is something to admire. But one quirk unites the world’s languages rather than dividing them: the weirdness of prepositions. Not all languages have prepositions as such: some languages use word endings instead of prepositions. But whether standalone or as endings, they are odd all around. Prepositions seem simple enough. A child learns them as spatial relations, perhaps in a book with deceptively simple pictures. The box is on the table. Now it is under the table. The ball is in the box. Now it is next to the box.”(more)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

As teaching methods improve, Oregon cuts years off English-language instruction

Oregon Live – Betsy Hammond

“Over the past six years, Oregon schools have become dramatically more successful at helping students from other language backgrounds master English within five or six years. As a result, English as a second language courses have become sparse in middle and high schools, with elementary students accounting for more than 75 percent of those who get daily help acquiring English. As recently as 2008, it was much more rare for Oregon schools to complete the job of teaching English to non-native speakers by the end of elementary school. Instead, middle and high school students made up 40 percent of students still learning English. Several factors have driven the change: New standards for what to teach, better teaching materials, introduction of a single test to judge English proficiency across Oregon, more accountability for schools’ results with English learners and loads of training in teaching methods that work better than the old ones.”(more)

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Reinvention of Bilingual Education in America’s Schools

Salon – Sarah Carr

“One afternoon last fall, I watched as a group of young Hispanic students trained to become the best Spanish-language spellers in America. Their thick practice packet for the fourth annual National Spanish Spelling Bee began with examples of the easiest words students might expect to encounter in the bee’s first round, like esperar (to wait for), cuidar (to take care of), and peluca (wig); it extended to much harder 20th-round samples, like fisioterapeuta (physical therapist), otorrinolaringologo (ear, nose, and throat specialist), and nenufar (water lily). The students, many of whom attended Sunland Park Elementary School in southern New Mexico, located just feet from the Mexican border, beamed with pride when they nailed words.”(more)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Why English isn’t enough

The Guardian – Nigel Vincent

“…why would an international business hire a monolingual English speaker when it can hire a bilingual, trilingual or quadrilingual German, Swede, Korean or Chinese? When it comes to international employment, by sitting on our linguistic laurels we disadvantage the United Kingdom…the fact that we have English only, whereas others have very good English plus another language, means that they are ahead of the game, and we need to catch up.”(more)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Do young people care about learning foreign languages?

The Guardian – Holly Young

“Do young people in the UK care about learning languages? With A-level entries for languages falling over the last few years and acceptances for language degrees last year dipping to the lowest in a decade the simple answer would seem to be no. Or at least, less than they previously did. This is disconcerting news for a country which is not exactly famed for its multilingualism.” (more)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Best Language for Math

The Wall Street Journal – Sue Shellenbarger

“Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish use simpler number words and express math concepts more clearly than English, making it easier for small children to learn counting and arithmetic, research shows.” (more)

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Picture Of Language: The Fading Art Of Diagramming Sentences

NPR – Juana Summers

“When you think about a sentence, you usually think about words — not lines. But sentence diagramming brings geometry into grammar.” (more)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Exercise in math class? How one math teacher gets kids moving while studying

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“I recently published a post titled “Why so many students can’t sit still in school today” that was very popular with readers. The piece mentioned Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but another factor, as well: the idea expressed by pediatric occupational therapist Angela Hanscom that academic pressures in school have reduced or eliminated the time that kids have for recess, physical education or other activities that allow them to get up and move.” (more)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bilingual parents: Talking to your child in your native language makes it easier for them to learn English

The Deseret News – Emily Hales

“Parents who worry that speaking their native language at home will disrupt their child’s ability to learn English have nothing to fear.” (more)

Monday, July 28, 2014

How to teach … grammar

The Guardian – Emily Drabble

“Do your students struggle with misplaced commas or muddled tenses? Here are the best lesson resources on teaching good grammar.” (more)