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  1. 1. Arzenshek 1Alex ArzenshekMrs. LesterAdv Grammar/Comp5 March 2012 Speech Do you know how learning a second language can put you at a great advantage in school,in society, and in the career force? As some of you know, I am from Canada; in fact, the Frenchprovince called Quebec. When I was younger, my mom always used to read to me in French:from stop signs to menus and from common children’s books to the TV. She would attempt toteach me words, phrases, and the language in general. As a child, I caught onto certain phrasesbetter than others. For example, I always knew ‘go to bed’ or ‘take a nap’ was never a goodthing. I learned some French effortlessly, not painstakingly like some students in a foreignlanguage class. I learned the same way most of you learned English—through repetition and inyour own environment with your family and in your home, not out of a textbook. Betweenreading and understanding two languages, I was able to expand in English in ways my friends atschool could not. Even though I did not learn French like an expert or know how to write orspell it, I excelled in English grammar, spelling, and reading. Learning a second languageallowed me to succeed in the early elementary grades. How did saying a few words in anotherlanguage change my education in such a big way? Therefore, I decided that for my senior project I was going to investigate the effects oflearning a second language and bilingualism in children. I wanted to know what it did to mybrain, how it helped me, and how it has helped every other child that learned a second language
  2. 2. Arzenshek 2in their childhood. So tonight, I am going to tell you about my journey of writing a children’sbook in French and English. Consequently, the topic of my research paper is the effects of bilingualism in children. Ilearned that everything from brain development and intelligence to dexterity and social skills isaltered by simply learning a second language at a young age. My research paper helped meunderstand the scientific and psychological effects of bilingualism. A child is at the peak age tolearn a second language. There is nothing but outstanding benefits from learning a secondlanguage. This project has also allowed me to look into my future and my career possibilities.Since I am in French Four, and I enjoy the language very much, I thought that exploring a careerin foreign language teaching or writing would correlate perfectly with my senior project. I alsofind a child’s brain and its characteristics, that we do not have, to be an amazing thing. So Idecided on a children’s book instead of another type of literature. I chose this topic because I want to know how bilingual children have such an advantagein life. Being familiar with more than one language will change your life: your careeropportunities—a higher salary, abilities to travel, and more choices. I wanted to know how andwhy bilingualism in children helps them so much. This topic is viewable in every day life, allthrough schools, homes, and businesses. We even see it here at Creekview. My paper and its topic of bilingualism in children directly correlates to my product—abilingual children’s book in French and English. The research has allowed me to comprehendwhy it is so important to write my book in the most authentic manner. I had to write it as if anyFrench person could understand it. Or as if a child learning French could use it to help. I did notknow who would read it, who it could possibly inspire, or if it could make a difference for a
  3. 3. Arzenshek 3child. Now that you know the details of my research paper and topic of my senior project, I amgoing to discuss the process I took in creating my final product, starting with my facilitator. My project facilitator was my French teacher for four years, Mrs. Katy McManus hereat Creekview High School. She has been my teacher for four years, and she has been a hugeinfluence in my love for the language. I knew she was the perfect choice. I had to remain verydiligent for the qualities I was looking for though. I was looking for very strict characteristics in my possible facilitator. In order to producethe book, I would need someone who was able to help me edit and write in French. I needed helpfrom someone who has spoken, taught, or lived around the language. I needed an expert in thelanguage, or my product would simply be riddled with mistakes and not up to professionalstandards. Since I go to Creekview and I have taken French for four years, it was fairly easy tofind my facilitator. She was very qualified. I had every day access to her in class and after class.Thankfully, she agreed to help me with my project. My facilitator, Mrs. McManus, was very capable to help me. She has a bachelor’s degreein French from Wake Forest University and a master’s degree in teaching French from GeorgiaState University. She has traveled to France multiple times while doing study abroad programs.In these programs, she has also visited numerous countries in Europe. She has also traveled toCanada. She takes trips almost every year to France with her students, even some here atCreekview. She knows the country, culture, and language inside out. She has taught French atcolleges, middle schools, such as Teasley and Creekland, high schools, and she is not atCreekview. Now that I have explained how and why I picked my project facilitator, I am goingto tell you how I created my finished product step by step.
  4. 4. Arzenshek 4 The steps I took in creating my final product, a bilingual children’s book, were importantbecause I had to produce a professional and authentic book. The first step after finding myfacilitator was to draft a story line for my book in English. I decided to write about a commonproblem faced by all children—a fear of the doctor. I thought this topic would hold a child’sattention, and they could relate to it. The second step in the process was one of the most challenging. I had to translate abouteleven paragraphs of English to French. I spent a lot of time with my facilitator during this stepbecause I had to translate it correctly. I also wanted to make it understandable for children so Ihad to keep the concepts and wording very simple. French phrasing and grammar is verydifferent so translating my story was key to making the product authentic. Next, since I was writing a children’s book, I wanted it to be creative and decorative.Therefore, I wanted it to have pictures on every page. Through my facilitator, I was introduced tomy illustrator, Amanda, who is a student of hers. She draws using special software and a tableton the computer. She is extremely talented, and I knew I could use her to create the perfectillustrations. Amanda and I had several meetings together to discuss how I wanted theillustrations to look and the overall idea of the book. I viewed her sketches and decided I wasgoing to pay her to illustrate. She created the cover and all illustrations in the book. Next, I had to search for a publisher. I wanted this book to be as authentic as possible soit had to be published. This search was probably the hardest part of the project. Finally, I came intouch with a local business, Yawn’s Books. They are located in downtown Canton, and theyagreed to publish my book for free to help local teenage authors who lived in the community. Ihad several meetings with the publisher to understand the complicated process and to knowexactly what I had to do.
  5. 5. Arzenshek 5 Next, for my book to be published, I had to create what publishers call a layout. I had todesign and set up the book exactly how it was to be printed. In this step, I incorporated both theEnglish and French story and my illustrations. I decided the cover, size of the book and pages, and colors, along with many otherintricate details. I separated the text so it is easy for children or whoever is reading it to them to simplyrefer to both languages. They are on the same page and the languages correspond correctly. Ihighlighted some common words in both languages so that children can connect the two wordsto mean the same thing. I thought this would help them in the process of learning anotherlanguage. Lastly, I turned in my layout to the publisher. We went over the small details ofpublishing and ordered the book. Within a week, I received the proof of the book. I was able todouble check everything and to view a copy of what it would look like. Finally, I ordered mycopies, and they were delivered within a couple of weeks from the publisher. *Hand out books tothe judges* Now that I have explained all of the steps I took to create my final product, I amgoing to discuss a few challenges I encountered in the process. I faced some obstacles while creating my product, but I managed to overcome andcomplete everything smoothly. One issue I had while creating my book was translating andediting the French. French and English are two languages that differ from each other in so manyways. For example, you describe things backwards in French. This process of translating myEnglish story challenged my knowledge in the French language. I had to utilize numerous dictionaries, contact a native French speaker, and refer to realFrench books. I spent at least two months on this process alone. Fortunately, I did translate my
  6. 6. Arzenshek 6story correctly with my facilitator and other sources of help. This was probably the biggestintellectual challenge I encountered during my project. It challenged everything I thought I knewabout the language and forced me to write as a native speaker. The second obstacle I faced was finding a book publisher willing to publish a bilingualchildren’s book written by an inexperienced teenager. As most of you are familiar with, bookpublishers are huge, corporate businesses that take only the best of the best. I contactedpublishers all over Georgia and even outside the state. I spent weeks emailing any sort ofchildren’s book publisher. They would want thousands of dollars or an agent or manuscript. So Idid get rejected more times than I can count. It seemed like my little project and amateur bookwas not worth their business or time. I will not lie; it was very discouraging. Thankfully, through talking to my friends, I discovered a local book store. Yawn’s Booksin downtown Canton is a locally owned business serving the Canton community. I quicklyemailed them, and they were willing to publish my book. The publishers, Nadine and FarrisYawn, were so helpful and understanding with my project. They were a huge part of mysuccess. They even helped other seniors at Cherokee county high schools to complete theirbooks for their senior project. We had meetings with the publishers and other fellow seniors totalk about the process of publishing a book. We would meet on a monthly basis to discuss ourprogress. I was able to talk to the other seniors doing a similar project as me to get some newideas and feedback. The publishers and fellow seniors helped me create my book step by step.They even took the publishing costs, which can amount to thousands of dollars. I worked withthe publisher for months and sent in my book, only paying about one hundred fifty dollars.Yawn’s Books not only saved me a huge amount of money, but they also helped me with all thecomplicated publishing details. I am very thankful that I was able to find and use them to publish
  7. 7. Arzenshek 7my book. Now that you understand some issues I faced while creating my product, I am going todiscuss what I have learned about myself throughout my senior project. I have learned that I am a hard worker, but I do get discouraged and frustrated easily. Itend to over plan and over organize to the point where I become very stressed. When somethinggoes unlike I had planned, I tend to panic. I have learned to take one step at a time. I have to believe in myself that I will finish andcomplete the project. By trusting myself and taking frequent deep breaths I was able to completemy project within the time allowed. However, I do stay organized, and I am willing tocommunicate with people. My work habits have not changed throughout my project. I knewbefore, and it is instilled in me now, that I can conquer a project as crucial as this. Because I tendto stay very organized with the due dates, I kept up with every step of this daunting project.However, I have a tendency to become overwhelmed. So this project definitely taught me to takeone step at a time. My business skills were definitely enhanced in this project. I had to communicate withmy facilitator, my illustrator, and my publisher simultaneously. Composing emails became adaily occurrence in my project, especially while trying to find a publisher. Organizing my time tobe split between all three people was crucial. I had after school meetings and often workedthrough lunch to meet my required hours. I needed to make sure my facilitator, illustrator and Iwere all aware of what I needed to do. I made numerous phone calls that usually did not turn outpositively with many publishing companies. I had to maintain my composure and businessattitude even if the phone call resulted in bad news. My telephone and email skills weredefinitely used more than any other skill during this project.
  8. 8. Arzenshek 8 Surprisingly, my career goals have nothing to do with French or writing children’s books.I absolutely love the French language and culture, which is why I chose it as part of my project. I only incorporated a children’s book into my project because I knew that it would bestdisplay the language. I would like French to remain as something I enjoy and a hobby in my life. However, I donot wish to pursue a career in French, but it will always remain a love and hobby in my life. My post-secondary education plans include me pursing a degree in nursing. I have beenaccepted to Berry College and plan to be a part of their dual degree nursing program. In this program, I will earn two degrees in five years by going to Berry for three yearsand Emory University’s School of Nursing for two years. I will receive a bachelor’s degree inscience and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, I would love to minor in French since I doenjoy the language. It has always been a part of my life, and I will continue to keep it as a hobbyeven though I am pursuing a degree in nursing and science. Thank you very much for your time tonight. I appreciate your attention. I hope youenjoyed my presentation about my senior project. Are there any questions I can answer regardingmy project? Thank you again.