Renascence School Education News - private school

Monday, February 2, 2015

Making Reading Your Own

The Language Magazine – Todd Brekhus

“Making literacy more personal to kids, especially to second-language learners, begins with providing learners with their own personal libraries. It’s hard to think about literacy without a library of great content and great books. So, when a student is able to have his or her own personal library — especially one that’s digital, with an array of books at their fingertips for fast access — that’s a strong and positive beginning. Students are able to open up and read books they’re interested in, books at their level. Digital books now have the capability for authentic audio recording, so the students can hear how a word sounds as they are reading. Research shows that having access to a personalized library of content that’s matched to and fit for individual students is paramount. Second to that is the opportunity students have to connect with the books they read, and thus the skills of reading, in new and innovative ways. There must be different tools and resources available to students as they are reading a book to help them with comprehension or to take more ownership of their learning by having the ability to check their own reading growth. For example, having access to digital books allows for short quizzes and exercises at the end of a book to help students make more immediate and direct connection to what they are reading and learning.”(more)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Daniel Fried: More Canadians should learn a Chinese language

The Ottawa Citizen – Daniel Fried

“Is Chinese only for the Chinese? Many Canadians assume so: surveys show that only a minority could imagine classes in Mandarin (the standard dialect of Chinese for business and public uses) as deserving of a place in their local public school system. This is understandable: unlike French and English, Chinese has historically been spoken only by one specific ethnic group. But with the rise of China, and the corresponding rapid growth of Chinese language education around the world, it would be a mistake to continue to view this as the language of one ethnicity only: it is becoming a world language, and Canada must adapt. Strangely, attitudes toward Chinese language are sharply divided by political affiliation. As part of its annual survey of Albertans’ attitudes toward China, released last month, the China Institute of the University of Alberta found that 62 per cent of NDP supporters, and 48 per cent of Liberals, but only 35 per cent of Tories agreed with the statement, “The ability to speak Chinese will become more important to Albertans.” Such polarization could not come at a worse time. Almost unreported outside of China, the Chinese government has been moving swiftly to reduce the amount of emphasis given to English language education in its own schools. University departments of English are being closed, and English will be removed from the all-important college entrance exams by 2017; it seems certain that within a generation, there will be far fewer speakers of English in China than there are now. More and more, businesses and nations that wish to engage with China will need to do so in Chinese.”(more)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Students Should Retain Their Bilingual Heritage for Its Economic Value

The Huffington Post – Rebecca Callahan

“Every spring in America, white, middle-class parents value bilingualism enough to line up in the early morning hours to sign up their children for a spot in next fall’s dual-language kindergarten. This is great because as a nation, we celebrate bilingualism, right? Well, sort of. Just not for those kids who already speak another language at home. Teachers frequently emphasize the importance of English above all else when they speak with immigrant parents. Even worse, many nonnative English-speaking parents are told not to speak to their children in the language they know best, depriving them of their richest source of social, emotional and linguistic support. The reality is that these parents who sign up their kids for dual-language kindergarten are onto something. They recognize what many teachers, principals and policymakers do not: Knowing two or more languages puts you at an advantage.”(more)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making the Grade: Dual-immersion students learning en español

The Atlanta Journal Constitution – H.M. Cauley

“Two years ago, Shawn Bender found himself leading the right Atlanta public school at the right time. He had just moved to Georgia from Washington D.C., where he had been part of a school with a dual-language immersion program. That was the same year Gov. Nathan Deal announced an initiative to establish several Spanish immersion programs in the state. Bender jumped at the chance and applied, and was rewarded by having Perkerson Elementary named one of six in the state to offer the program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. “In D.C., I saw the benefits of this program, and I wanted to bring it here for kids and the community,” said Bender. “But it was so new that, at first, the response I got wasn’t all that positive. I talked about it with the teachers and parents and introduced them to research and, after many meetings with experts, they were open to the idea.” Parents from across the city who were interested in having their incoming kindergartners spend half a day learning in Spanish applied to the program, and 34 students, mostly from the surrounding neighborhood, enrolled in the first class. None of them spoke a word of the foreign language.”(more)

Want To Change How Kids See The World? Teach Them A Second Language

Good Magazine – Rafi Schwartz

“As a child in a dual-language elementary school, my teachers liked to explain that learning another language would enable me to meet more people, have conversations in new places, and generally be a better citizen of the world. And while my bilingual skills have gone woefully underused since my grade-school graduation, I am thankful for being exposed to a second language, if only for the fact that it’s given me an added “skills” line on my resume, and the ability to – every once in a while – randomly surprise some of the kiosk workers at my local mall. But, as it turns out, my learning a second language at a young age may, in fact, have affected me more profoundly than I, or anyone else for that matter, previously knew.”(more)

Language learning in the UK: ‘can’t, won’t, don’t’

The Telegraph – John Worne

” Can’t, won’t, don’t, three words which sum up our national view on speaking foreign languages. Of course it’s not entirely true, but last week saw another day of disappointment for language lovers, as we saw the continued decline in UK students choosing to study foreign languages at university level. I’m pretty much lost for words, having written and spoken on this topic many, many times in the last few years. So for inspiration I turn to the writer and author Christopher de Bellaigue, who wrote to encourage me in my labours last autumn: “It’s as well to remind ourselves that our ancestors thought nothing of picking up languages: one for the village, the other for the town, and perhaps another one entirely for the capital city, and that nowadays supposedly less educated people in other countries can end up knowing half a dozen.”(more)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Preparing students for a global society

Chron – Terry Grier

“This week, the Houston Independent School District will host school administrators from across the state, all gathering to discuss the importance of making sure Texas students are globally competitive. It’s no longer enough for our students to simply graduate from high school. They must be ready to compete in a 21st century global society. That requires a global education, which will be key to Houston’s future. A global education helps students learn more about the world, appreciate other cultures and work with people from varied backgrounds. It encourages them to learn new languages, which makes them better thinkers and learners. Most important, a global education ensures students will be competitive internationally. We want to make sure students can compete for jobs – in the dynamic and diverse city that we call home, but also around the world.”(more)

Why languages matter in schools

The Herald Scotland – Staff Writer

“As the world has become more globalised and inter-connected, so the Scottish classroom, in both primary and secondary schools, appears to have shrunk, with the teaching of a foreign language often seen as a non-essential subject and sometimes even an unaffordable luxury. Such an approach to languages may appear to make some sense when English is so widely spoken around the world, and online, but it is mis-guided in two fundamental ways. Firstly, we know that learning a foreign language early in life can give children a learning advantage later in life. Secondly, a working knowledge of languages can make all the difference in commercial and political relationships, with potential benefits for the British economy.”(more)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Advice for raising bilingual kids

The Latin Post – Jeanne Kim

“The list of benefits bilingualism brings isn’t getting shorter any time soon. Cognitively bilingual people are better able to switch between tasks, have increased problem solving capabilities, and can learn a third language more easily. For working adults, bilingualism can open more doors with jobs, and for the elderly can possibly delay dementia, including Alzheimer’s. But raising kids to speak a second language is tough, even when parents bring a heritage language into the family home. For me, growing up in English-language dominated Hong Kong, my parents had to actively help me learn their native Korean. Later, when we moved to Seoul, the challenge became helping me balance using English with friends and at school (where I spent a good portion of my time) with speaking Korean at home and in public spaces. Whatever your circumstances, here are a few tips on helping your children grow up bilingual, based on expert advice and personal experience.”(more)

Many Key US States Lack Early Development Plans for Dual Language Learners

The Latin Post – Nicole Akoukou Thompson

“Dual language learners have increased massively within the last few years, due greatly to immigration and the organic growth of Spanish-dominate U.S. born Latinos. That said, there’s evidence that identifying and supporting bilingual or multilingual students earlier in their cognitive development/educational process does not seem to be a state or national priority, although it can make all the difference in their future. Very few states demand early language assessments in early education programs, according to a new webinar by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), titled “Young Immigrants and Dual Language Learners: Participation in Pre-K & Gaps at Kindergarten Entry.” A meager 40 percent of pre-K programs in 40 states require language assessment and the screening of children enrolled in those programs. Even less (38 percent) utilize home language surveys to pre-screen children or implement policies that make translators and bilingual staff accessible (30 percent).”(more)