Challenging Myths MYTH # 1 Learning two languages causes language delay. Brain tissue density: language, memory, attention; More neural activity in language processing.“Studies demonstrate that knowing more thanone language does not delay the acquisition of English or impede academic achievement inEnglish when both languages are supported.”
MYTH # 2 Total English immersion is bestLoss of first language English dominance Limited communication with extendedfamily Lower academic achievement in English Mabuhay! Bienvenidos! Huan ying! Selamat Datang! Hos geldiniz! Inde torn lap! Welkom! Hwangyong hamnida! Haere mai! Irashaimasu! Welcome!
“...children who receive systematic learning opportunities in their home language from ages 3 – 8consistently outperform those who attend English-only programs on measures of academic achievement inEnglish during the middle and high school years.”
MYTH # 3 Because we can’t speak all thelanguages of our children, we should provide English-only instruction. S: The numbers are coming off! T: What should we do? S: I can fix it with tape. T: Thanks for looking after your classroom. S: I will count. Uno, dos, tres, quartro, sinco, sies…see it is six and it goes here. T: Great counting! Would you like to teach the whole class how to count in Spanish? S: (big smile) OK! T: Gracias amigo.“Even when teachers do not speak the child’s first language, there are many specific teaching practices that will support native language development.”
SupportingHome Languages “Supporting the child’s home language is not just a luxury – it’s a necessity.” “…children who learn literacy skills in their home language are likely to transfer those skills effectively to English.” (Nemeth, K, 2009; Meeting the Home Language Mandate: Practical strategies for all classrooms; in Young Children ~ March 2009)
Maintaining Home Languages Read, read, read in your language Bilingual dictionaries (translation apps) Read in your language Always use your language at home Read in your language Become a bilingual parent volunteer Use Skype with family and friends Read in your language Share ideas with each other Praise all efforts Did we mention READ?