LINDA M. ESPINOSA, FCD POLICY BRIEF, JANUARY 2008 <ul><li>Challenging Common Myths About Young English Language Learners </li></ul>
Myth 1: Learning two languages causes language delay <ul><li>Brain tissue density: language, memory, attention </li></ul><ul><li>More neural activity in language processing </li></ul>
“ These studies have also demonstrated that knowing more than one language does not delay the acquisition of English or impede academic achievement in English when both languages are supported .”
Myth 2:Total English immersion is best <ul><li>Loss of first language </li></ul><ul><li>English dominance </li></ul><ul><li>Poor communication with extended families </li></ul><ul><li>Lower academic achievement in English </li></ul>
Myth 3: Because we can’t speak all the languages of our children, we should provide English-only instruction. <ul><li>“ Even when teachers do not speak the child’s first language, there are many specific teaching practices that will support native language development.” </li></ul>
“ ...children who receive systematic learning opportunities in their home language from ages 3 – 8 consistently outperform those who attend English-only programs on measures of academic achievement in English during the middle and high school years.”
Supporting Home Languages <ul><li>“ Supporting the child’s home language is not just a luxury – it’s a necessity.” </li></ul><ul><li>“… children who learn literacy skills in their home language are likely to transfer those skills effectively to English.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Nemeth, K, 2009; Meeting the Home Language Mandate: Practical strategies for all classrooms ; in Young Children ~ March 2009) </li></ul>
What can we, at ISM, do to help support our students?
<ul><li>Reading/books available in the classroom in many languages (ICDL) </li></ul><ul><li>Bilingual dictionaries (translation apps) </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage children to talk about concepts in their own language with peers </li></ul><ul><li>Seek parent bilingual volunteers </li></ul><ul><li>Set tasks that require students to interview family in their own language (Skype) </li></ul><ul><li>Try to learn some words in your students’ languages </li></ul><ul><li>Get ideas from each other and your ESL team – we’re all about this! </li></ul>
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