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Dynamic assessment can help language learners have more success

Phys Org – Jim Carlson

“Altering or individualizing assessment procedures can propel second-language learners toward more successful mastery of that language, ongoing research by Penn State Associate Professor of Education Matt Poehner and his interdisciplinary team suggests. Poehner’s interdisciplinary work is centered on dynamic assessment, which seeks to identify the skills that students possess as well as their learning potential, to paint a broader picture of a person’s capabilities. Instead of assigning a student a specific task and simply watching him or her complete it, dynamic assessment entails helpful intervention when problems surface.” (more)

COLUMN: Being multilingual is more important than people think

The Indiana Daily Student – Tejus Arora

“Language is at the core of human existence. It’s the medium through which we perceive the world around us, express our perception, establish and maintain relationships and create a community. It cultivates value and a global working economy. Now imagine you knew more than one language to perceive, express, create, learn, teach and so on. Your perception of the world would widen, your avenues of information intake would increase; your personal enrichment would be unparalleled by your monolingual peers.” (more)

Kiwis be warned: the global jobs market demands polyglots

Stuff – Simon Draper

“The Asia New Zealand Foundation knows from our work with schools that children who are bilingual find it easier to acquire further languages and become multilingual. We have visited schools in Gisborne and Taranaki with children who are already bilingual in te reo and English. Their teachers have been struck by how easily these students have picked up Mandarin. Multilingualism is normal in much of the world, and young people lap up the opportunity to learn new languages if they are in the right environment. But here in New Zealand, the reality is that students are often forced to choose between te reo and another language when they are given choices. If New Zealand wants to raise global citizens, then students need to know where they stand in the world, and knowing who they are as New Zealanders is a fundamental part of that.” (more)

The Mystery of People Who Speak Dozens of Languages

The New Yorker – Judith Thurman

“No one becomes a hyperpolyglot by osmosis, or without sacrifice—it’s a rare, herculean feat. Rojas-Berscia, who gave up a promising tennis career that interfered with his language studies, reckons that there are “about twenty of us in Europe, and we all know, or know of, one another.” He put me in touch with a few of his peers, including Corentin Bourdeau, a young French linguist whose eleven languages include Wolof, Farsi, and Finnish; and Emanuele Marini, a shy Italian in his forties, who runs an export-import business and speaks almost every Slavic and Romance language, plus Arabic, Turkish, and Greek, for a total of nearly thirty. Neither willingly uses English, resenting its status as a global bully language—its prepotenza, as Marini put it to me, in Italian. Ellen Jovin, a dynamic New Yorker who has been described as the “den mother” of the polyglot community, explained that her own avid study of languages—twenty-five, to date—“is almost an apology for the dominance of English. Polyglottery is an antithesis to linguistic chauvinism.”” (more)

Mutual Understanding with Intercomprehension

Language Magazine – Clorinda Donato and Pierre Escudé

“What if the target language suddenly became multiple languages learned in tandem through a strategy that encouraged students to seek reciprocal, similar, and contrasting patterns with the languages they already knew? In 1913, Jules Ronjat offered a scientific description for this natural and spontaneous strategy to explain the high level of European multilingualism prior to World War I.” (more)

America’s Bilingual Roots

Language Magazine – Dominika Baran

“Every September, or August in some cases, teachers welcome into their classrooms students whose first language is not English. Some of these may be immigrant or refugee children who have just arrived in the U.S. and know not a single English word. Others may have grown up in immigrant households and first encountered English literacy in kindergarten, so that even as bilingual speakers in higher school grades they are daunted by academic English.” (more)