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Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism



Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism

Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism



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  • I believe it's somehow very much related to how words sound alike or different from familar words children are used to, i.e. when a child is trying to understand meanings in a different language they are most likely to make mistakes as they tend to approximate odd words to familiar sounds of their own language.
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    Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism Presentation Transcript

    • Ten Key Factors that Influence Successful Bilingualism and Multilingualism: Policy implications
      Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D.
      Rottedam, The Netherlands
      November 18, 2009
    • Background
      • Master’s from Harvard University in International Education and Development and doctorate (Ph.D.) from Capella University (cross-disciplinary approach comparing findings in neuroscience, psychology, pedagogy, cultural anthropology and linguistics).
      • Director of the Instittue for Research and Educational Development, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador.
      • Author of Raising Multilingual Children (2001), The Multilingual Mind (2003), and Living Languages (2008).
      • Teacher (pre-kindergarten through university) with 20+ years of comparative research based on family case studies (Japan, Ecuador, USA, Canada, France, Switzerland, Germany).
      • Three children (raised in English, Spanish, German and French).
    • Today’s topics
      Part I
      Myths of Multilingualism
      The Ten Key Factors
      Part II
      Backward Design
      Objetives in language learning
      School impact on languages
      Qualities of a good teachers
      Successful programs
      Successful schools
      Questions and discussion
    • Part I
    • True and False Quiz
      • Do you believe the statement is true or false?
      • Why?
      (Origins: These are statements made by teachers, doctors and parents I met while doing my research.)
    • True or False?
      By learning more than one language a child can suffer brain overload.
      Nitsch, C., Franceschini, R., Lüdi, G., Radü, E.-W., 2006; Hirsch, 1997.
    • True or False?
      2. Some languages are easier to learn than others.
      Baker, 2004; Pinker, 2000.
    • True or False?
      3.Bilinguals are more creative than monolinguals.
      Ricardelli, 1992
    • True or False?
      4. Bilingualism can cause problems such as stuttering and dyslexia.
      Harley 1989; McLaughlin 1992.
    • True or False?
      5. It is impossible for an adult to learn a new language as fast as a child.
      Harley 1989; McLaughlin 1992.
    • True or False?
      6. It is impossible for an adult to learn a new language without an accent.
      Harley 1989; McLaughlin 1992.
    • True or False?
      7. When a child learns his languages from birth he is effectively learning them as two first languages.
    • Two languages in one brain:
      Brain scans show that people brought up bilingual from birth have languages in the same area of the brain as monolinguals, whereas people who learn languages after the first seven months or so actually use different areas for processing sounds, or simply do not perceive sounds which are not representative in their native language at all.
      Kovelman, Baker, and Petitto, 2008; Fennell, Byers-Heinlein & Werker , 2006.
    • True or False?
      8. All people have the same area of their brain to speak different languages.
    • True or False?
      9. It is not recommended that children learn literacy skills in two languages simultaneously.
    • True or False?
      10. The general research findings examining trilinguals brains to date point to no pattern for multilingualism.
      Nitsch, Franceschini, Lüdi, Radü, n/d
    • True or False?
      11. Multilingualsare shown to be faster at working memory tasks than monolinguals.
      Baddeley, 2001
    • True or False?
      12. Bilingual students achieve higher results on English-language proficiency tests than their Anglophone, monolingual peers.
      Cenoz & Lindsay, 1994
    • True or False?
      13. A nine-year-old has the same size brain as an adult; therefore they learn foreign languages in the same way.
      Suddath, Christison, Torrey, Casanova & Weinberger, 1990.
    • True or False?
      14. The more languages you know, the easier it gets to learn an additional one.
      Government of Canada, 2003; University of Oxford, 2003
    • True and False?
      15. The quality of the first language impacts the quality of the second language, and the quality of the third language depends on the quality of the second language.
      Cenoz & Lindsay, 1994
    • True or False?
      16. Most of the world is monolingual.
      Nitsch, 2004
      • A child should first study his native language, then after he has mastered this, then learn a new one.
      • A child who learns two languages simultaneously will be confused and have lower intelligence.
      • A child with two languages will never feel completely secure in either.
      • A bilingual child will always have identity problems and feel a lack of belonging to his cultures because he will never fully be a part of either.
      • Bilinguals tend to translate from the weaker language tothe stronger.
      • True bilinguals never mix their languages.
      More myths…
      Gutierrez, s.f.; Kandolf, 1998; Narváez, 2009
    • More myths….
      • All people who are bilingual from birth make excellent translators.
      • True bilinguals never confuse their languages; if they do, they are actually semi-linguals.
      • There are some language programs which can actually teach foreign languages in a matter of weeks or evn days, which means there is no reason, except for lack of motivation, that many people take years to learn another languaes.
      • The ability to learn a foreign language is directly related to the level of intelligence of an individual.
      • Bilinguals have split personalities.
      • Older people can never become fully bilingual.
      Gutierrez, s.f.; Kandolf, 1998; Narváez, 2009
    • The Ten Key Factors
      1. Timing (Windows of Opportunity)
      2. Aptitude
      3. Motivation
      4. Strategy
      5. Consistency
      6. Opprotunity and support (home, school, community)
      7. Linguistic and historic relationship between languages
      8. Silblings
      9. Gender
      10. Hand-use as a refleciton of cerebral dominance for languages
    • 1. The Windows ofOpprotunity 
      1. First: 0 a 9 months
      (A window-and-a-half: 9 a 24-30 months)
      2. Second : 4 a 8 years
      3. Tthird: 8 years + (from old-age and back)
      Language Milestones*
      2-3 Normal Mixing Stage
      3-4 Labeling of Languages
      5+ Cognizant of “translation concept” 
      4-10 “syntactic conservationism”
      *Remember that children can vary by as much as a year in either direction related to language development!
    • 1. Cummins (1981); 2. Gibbins (1999); 3. Corson (1993, 1995)
    • 2. Aptitude
      • Something one is born with
      • Approximately 10% of the population
      • Measuring
      • MFLAT
      • Gardener’s definition of “Intelligence”
      • Levine’s neurodevelopmental constructs
    • 3. Motivation
      Positive (+)
      Negative (-)
      • Internal vs. External
      • Positive vs. Negative
    • 4. Strategy 5. Consistency
      • Seven most practiced strategies
      • Do not have to be simple
      • They should be consistent (especially for younger children).
    • Sample Strategies
    • 6. Opportuniy and Support
      • How many times a day does the child have the chance to use the target language(s) in a given day?
      • At Home
      • In School
      • Within the Community
      • Who takes responsibility for language learning? (The Child himself? The School? The Community? The Family?)
    • 7. Linguistic and historic relationship between languages
      • “Historical” vs. “Linguistic” relationships and languages
      • Language Sub-Families Families
      • Related languages are easier to learn.
    • Sample language families (Europe)
      Proto-Indo-European Lenguages
      • Indo-Iraní
      • Iraní (Persa, Kurdo)
      • Indo-Aryan (Hindú, Urdu, Bengalí, Nepalés)
      • Indo-Europeas
      • Románicas (Francés, Español, Portugués, Italiano, Rumano)
      • Holandés (Alemán, Inglés, Holandés, Danés, Sueco)
      • Checa-Eslovaco (Checa, Eslovaco, Polaco, Serbo-Croata, Ucraniano, Ruso)
      • Celta (Gaélico, Galés)
      • Báltico (Lituano, Letón)
      • Griego
      • Albano
      • Armenio
      Other European languages
      • Ugrofinés (Finlandés, Húngaro, Estonio)
      • Vasco
      • Caucásico (Georgiano, Chechenio)
    • Sample language families (Africa)
      • African languages
      • Afro-Asian
      • Semita (Árabe, Hebreo)
      • Chádica
      • Berebere
      • Cushitic
      • Egipcio
      • Nilo-Sahariana (Masai)
      • Niger-Congo
      • Yoruba
      • Bantú (Suahilí, Bantu)
      • Khoisan (Nama)
    • Sample language families (Asia)
      Asian Pacific languages
      • Dravídica (Tamil)
      • Munda (Khmer, Vietnamita)
      • Burushaski
      • Altaico (Mongol, Turco, Tungús)
      • Japonés
      • Coreano
      • Sino-Tibetano (Chino, Tibetano, Birmano)
      • Thaís (Tailandés)
      • Austroneasiano (Malayo, Bahasa, Hawaiano, Tagalos)
      • Papua
      • Aborigen Australiano
    • Sample language families (America)
      • American languages
      • Esquimal - Aleuta (Inuit, Groenlándico)
      • Na-Deme
      • Athabasken (Navajo)
      • Algonquino (Otras lenguas indias nativas americanas)
      • Iroquoian
      • Siouan
      • Uto-Azteca (Náhuatl , Quechua )
      • Quechua
      • Tupí-Guaraní
      • Jívaro
      • Ticuna
    • Linguistic typologies
      Based on Greenberg, 1966, Typological Ensembles
    • Native languages speakers
      • There are roughly 2,500-6,000 lanagues in the world.
      • The twelve most widely spoken languages with approximate number of native speakers are the following, totaling a little more than half of the world’s population:
    • 8. Silblings
      • Positive influences
      • Negative influences
    • 9. Gender
      • Are there differences between boys and girls (men and women) related to language?
      • How are these measured?
      • What does this imply in terms of children learning foreign languages?
    • 10. Hemispheric dominance for languages
      • Reflection of cerebral dominance
      • 95% of right-handed people and 70% of left handed people are left hemisphere dominant for languages.
      • What does this mean for teaching materials that are developed “for the majority”?
    • 11. What other factor is missing?
    • The Ten Key Factorsin Raising Multilingual Children
      1. Timing and The Windows of Opportunity
      2. Aptitude for Foreign Languages
      3. Motivation
      4. Strategy
      5. Consistency
      6. Opportunity and Support (Home, School and Community)
      7. Language Typology and Similarities
      8. Siblings
      9. Gender
      10. Hand Use
      11. ????
      Tokuhama-Espinosa, 2000
    • Part II
    • (Neuro)linguistics
      • Bilingual children learn have higher levels of abstraction at earlier ages than monolinguals. (1)
      • Bilinguals learn to manage language rules at an earlier age than monolinguals. (2)
      • Bilinguals learn to inihibit (ignore information calling for attention) earlier and with faster speed thab monolinguals, which directly relates to executive funtions (3).
      • Bilinguals use more of their brians than monolinguals. (3).
      • Multilingual children are more creative than monolingual ones in 30 of 33 tests of creativity (4).
      1. Suzanne Flynn professor of linguistics and second-language acquisition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ellen Bialystok, professor of psychology at York University in Toronto. 2. Adele Diamond, director of the Center for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Waltham. 3. Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington . 4. Lena Riccardelli (1992).
    • Emotional aspects of learning
      “When a concept fights with an emotion, the emotion almost always wins.”
      Sousa, D. (2002). Cómoaprende el cerebro, p.53.
    • The Fink’s Four Teaching Components
      L. Dee Fink (2003) Creating Significant Learning Experiences, p.22
    • Backward Design
      Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998/2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
    • Three steps to ensuring understanding (backward design)
      Adopted from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998), Understanding by Design.
    • Step 1. Identify desired results
      Start with the end in mind.
      Think of “competencies” (knowledge, skills and attitudes): What should students know, understand and be able to do?
      • Determine important knowledge (facts, concepts, principles, dates, formulas).
      • Determine important skills (processes, strategies and methods).
      • Determine important attitudes (e.g., empathy, intellectual honesty, perseverance)
      • Determine what content area will be the focus of evaluation.
      • Whyit is important to do so?
      • What is the enduring understanding that is the object of the teaching?
      Adopted from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998), Understanding by Design.
    • Step 2. Determine Acceptable Evidence (Evaluation activities)
      • Backward design’s focus forces us to think about each unit of the class in terms of assessment evidence to document and validate desired learning objectives.
      • How do we know if the students are achieving the results we desire and the standards we need?
      • What will we accept as evidence of learning (the achievement of the competencies)?
      Adopted from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998), Understanding by Design.
    • Step 3. Lesson Plans (Activities, Experiences and Instruction)
      • What activities will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed in this subject (in this unit, in this class)?
      • What should be taught and how should I teach it in order to reach my stated goals?
      • What materials are needed to conduct the activities?
      Adopted from Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (1998), Understanding by Design.
    • School influences….
    • The Facts and Studies
      Cenoz and Lindsay (1994) in their study, "Teaching English in Primary School: A Project To Introduce a Third Language to Eight Year Olds” highlight the important role of the teacher³.
      1. UNESCO. (July-Sept. 2003). The mother-tongue dilemma. Education Today Newsletter 2. Aarts and Verrhoeven (1999). "Literacy Attained in a Second Language Submersion Context." Applied Psycholinguistics 20(3): 377-394.). 3. Cenoz, J. and D. Lindsay (1994). "Teaching English in Primary School: A Project To Introduce a Third Language to Eight Year Olds." Language and Education 8(4): 201-210.
    • What motivates students?
      According to Sass (1989), the eight most influential factors that motivate students and that are controlled by the teacher are:
      Teacher enthusiasm
      Relevance of the subject
      Oagnzaition of course course
      Appropriate difficulty level
      Active participation by student
      Variety of activities and methodology
      Personal link between teacher and student
      Use of approrpriate, concrete and clear examples.
      Sass, E. J. "Motivation in the College Classroom: What Students Tell Us." Teaching of Psychology, 1989, 16(2), 86-88.
      • Typically, teachers who have more graduate education and more specialized training for working with language minority children are more successful.
      • Teachers with greater knowledge of the home language(s) of their students are more successful.
      • Knowledge of evaluation methods that ensure “instructually embedded assessment”.
      Teacher qualifications
    • High EFL teacher qualifications means:
      Being versed in appropriate teaching methods
      Understanding of students’ native language structure (or being able to speak it)
      Understanding of learning styles
      Owning a good toolbox of motivational skills
      Appropriate use of evaluation and feedback mechanisms
      Respect for other cultures
      Quality of the Teacher
      • Do most of the talking in classrooms (poor language teachers make about twice as many utterances as do students). Students produce language only when they are working directly with a teacher, and then only in response to teacher initiations.
      • In over half of the interactions that teachers have with students, students do not produce any language as they are only listening or responding with non-verbal gestures or actions.
      • When students do respond, typically they provide only simple information recall statements. Rather than being provided with the opportunity to generate original statements, students are asked to provide simple discrete close-ended or patterned (i.e., expected) responses.
      Teaching practices-What not to do
      Ramirez, Yuen, & Ramey, 1991, Executive Summary
      • Teacher should make classes student-centered and try NOT speak most of the time, nor initiate the majority of the exchanges by asking display questions, but rather seek out student-initiated requests.
      • As students prefer to verbally request help only in small group or one-to-one interactions with the teacher, teachers should call on students individually and approach them personally to offer support.
      • Teachers should not only modify their own speech in response to students' requests (verbal or non-verbal), they should also request modifications of the students' speech.
      • Sustained negotiation - in which teachers and students verbally resolve incomplete or inaccurate messages – should occur frequently.
      Teaching practices-What to do
      Musumeci, D. (1996). "Teacher-Learner Negotiation in Content-Based Instruction: Communication at Cross-Purposes." Applied Linguistics 17(3): 286-324.
    • Aspects of a good teacher training program:
      Train teachers in English language instruction;
      Have regular meetings for discussing instructional issues and exchanging ideas;
      Develop an activity-based and thematic syllabus;
      Program co-ordinators observe classrooms several times a year;
      Apply a formative evaluation using
      An attitude survey of teachers, parents, and administrators
      A teacher survey, and
      English language testing.
      • Ongoing assessment using multiple measure.
      • Inetgrated schooling (all language learners together)
      • High expectations by teachers
      • Equal status of languages
      • Healthy parent involvement
      • Continuous staff development
      • Second language taught through academic content
      • Critical thinking across language program
      • Activation of students' prior knowledge
      • Respect for students' home language and culture
      • Cooperative learning
      • Interactive and discovery learning
      • Intense and meaningful cognitive/academic development
      Program design should include:
    • Questions?Thank you for coming!
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    • For more information:
      Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D.
      Universidad San Francisco de Quito
      Edif. Galileo #101
      Telf: +593 2 297-1700 x1338 o +593-2-297-18937
      ttokuhama@usfq.edu.ec ortracey.tokuhama@gmail.com
      Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa is a professor of Education and Psychology at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador at the undergraduate and Master’s levels.
      Tracey received her doctorate (PhD) in the new field of Mind, Brain, and Education Science in July 2008 (Capella University), her Master’s of Education from Harvard University (International Development) and her Bachelor’s of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor’s of Science (Communications) from Boston University, magna cum laude.