Presentation on theme: "ENGLISH LEARNING FOR NON- NATIVE CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD: SHOULD IT BE “SINK OR SWIM” APPROACH? By Majida Mehana, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:
ENGLISH LEARNING FOR NON- NATIVE CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD: SHOULD IT BE “SINK OR SWIM” APPROACH? By Majida Mehana, Ph.D.
4/14/2015 Rationale for Paper It is estimated that the population of English Language Learners (ELLs) outnumbers the English monolinguals internationally three to one. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in early childhood has become a practice in many countries. The purpose of this paper was to synthesize findings of studies that addressed teaching EFL in early childhood and to draw implications for curriculum development.
4/14/2015 Schools and Bilingual Education The school is the meso level where acculturation and practicing bilingualism are taking place. Successful bilingual teachers see themselves, peers, and cultural tools as mediators for bilingualism. As the mediator, the teacher faces issues with regards to the design of the bilingual curriculum, methods of teaching, the classroom setup, communication with children, and interaction with parents.
4/14/2015 Curriculum Design-1 In a bilingual classroom, the home language (L1) and the English language (L2) are taught in addition to activities in math, science, arts, music and movement, and free play. Activities need to be conducted in both languages. Children in alternate immersion programs where the day was divided in two halves, each entirely in one language, scored higher on achievement tests than students in other types of bilingual programs or total immersion in the second language.
4/14/2015 Curriculum Design-2 Authors recommended setting a plan for bilingual education based on a comparison between developmental speech norms of the native language and English. Vocabulary used in L1 and L2 needs to be taught systematically. Literacy skills such as pronunciation, vocabulary, fluency could be taught through songs. Integrated oral and written approach yielded greater gains in children’s oral language development than the oral-only instruction. Phonics need to be blended with whole language programs because the English orthography is not phonetic.
4/14/2015 Methods of Teaching-1 Extended sessions, recasts, extended discussions, activities that target multiple intelligences, signs and cues, and translators are some of the techniques/tools that the teacher could draw upon in dual language programs. The teacher should inquire about the characteristics of the home language as some L1 skills are transferable to L2. Teachers need to know evidence based instructional approaches for bilingual education and use extended sessions as needed.
4/14/2015 Methods of Teaching -2 Authors recommended that adults increase the number of recasts for children with lower expressive skills. Head start teachers in the US used signs, picture cues, and adult or child translators. Other teachers allowed extended discussions about books. Dry drills are not recommended because they are not developmentally appropriate.
4/14/2015 Peers and Bilingual Development It is important to consider the affective and social nature of second language learning for successful learning to occur. Peers can play an important role in enhancing bilingualism as they are a major part of the social scene at school in addition to the teacher. L1 and L2 teachers should create meaningful activities for children. The language proficiency level, the context, the task and the materials, and the type of grouping and role distribution need to be planned for optimal benefit of the peer groupings.
4/14/2015 Classroom Setup and Bilingualism Teachers are the engineers of the environment and they could direct the class in positive or negative ways. Teachers respond to children’s needs by alternating between teaching and attending to children’s ideas, thus allowing space for children to develop. In safe and enriched literacy environments, bilingual children construct simultaneous worlds and develop their identities by switching between home culture/language and surrounding English environment.
4/14/2015 Schools and the Family Context Having two languages at home should be balanced so the home identity and culture are preserved. Teachers should encourage parents to read to children. Parents who are not fluent in English need help to successfully communicate with English teachers. Older siblings can act as mediators between the teacher and the younger sibling.
4/14/2015 Implications for Preservice Training The preservice training needs to be meaningful. Teachers should receive courses about literacy, biliteracy, and effective communication with bilingual children. Preservice teachers need to explore their attitude on dealing with children of varied abilities and to receive training on providing activities for heterogeneous groups.
4/14/2015 Implications for Inservice Training The successful bilingual teacher knows about the child’s level in the first language, proves useful to the child, and acts as mediator with the parents. A native speaker of English would be ideal. However, a fluent non-native English speaker could do well with proper training. It is crucial that L1 and L2 teachers plan their lessons and activities together so the child gets the utmost benefit from the program.
4/14/2015 Implications for Curriculum Development -1 Teachers should teach English through themes. Forty percent of the time would be conducted in L1 and 40 % in L2. The rest or 20 % should be allocated for unstructured activities. An option during free play for computer assisted instruction (CAI) should be included. Whole language approach needs to be blended with phonic programs. Oral games including phonological instruction should be included in an engaging manner.
4/14/2015 Implications for Curriculum Development-2 Songs and movement should be emphasized but not drills. The teacher should integrate oral and written approach to develop oral language. Parents and older siblings need to be involved. The content should be culturally and linguistically relevant. The activities should appeal to children with different abilities and intelligences.
4/14/2015 Conclusion The objective of this paper was not to emphasize learning English while losing the home language. The target was for children to achieve balanced bilingualism with mastery in both languages. Children would succeed with the contribution of parents, older siblings, role models, peers, teachers, schools, and school policies. At the heart of it all, lies a child excited to learn, a qualified teacher, a supportive parent, and an encouraging environment that embraces multiculturalism/multilingualism.