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JALT 2012 How Bilingualism informs Language Teaching


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Converted from Keynote for iPad to PDF. Japan Association for Language Teaching JALT 2012 annual international conference. Photos are of my half-Japanese sons when they were 2-3 years old (now they are grown up). Click in the circle to hear the recorded presentation synchronized with the slides, so you just sit back. It includes a lively question-and-answer session at the end, a total of 42 minutes. Or click on the small triangles to just read the slides.

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JALT 2012 How Bilingualism informs Language Teaching

  1. 1. How Bilingualism informs Language Teachinga presentation by Steve McCarty at the JALT International Conference Hamamatsu, Japan October 14, 2012
  2. 2. Bilingualism asan attitude or stance a discipline in Appliedthat more languages Linguistics - the study are better (an "-ism") of languages in contacta state of being or a goal of education,becoming bilingual learning, or a childs to a useful extent natural acquisition
  3. 3. Levels of Bilingualism Individual level Societal level(Bilingual development) (Social context) Family level School level(Bilingual child-raising) (Bilingual Education)
  4. 4. In what ways does this analysis inform language teaching?
  5. 5. Why shouldmastering L2 as much aspossible NOT be the goalof L2 education, learning,or childrens acquisition in all cases?
  6. 6. Among the many reasons to reconsider L2 goals:• Extrinsic norms and goals in terms of proficiency tests and so forth supersede the whole persons needs and developmental path.• Implausible or overly idealized goals like the native speaker model demotivate and disengage students from realistic goals.• "The goal of L2 education should not necessarily be the unequivocal and complete mastery of that language. In subtractive cases of L2 replacing L1 (Baker 2006: 4), often where immigrants childrens L1 is not valued in the community (Vaipae 2001), more can be lost cognitively than gained." McCarty, S. (2008). The bilingual perspective versus the street lamp syndrome. IATEFL Voices, 203, 3-4.
  7. 7. "Bilingualism is the ostensible goalof second and foreign language education" McCarty, S. (1992). The JALT N-SIG on Bilingualism: The bilingual perspective.The Language Teacher, 16 (5), 3.
  8. 8. Types of Language Acquisition First / native Second / foreign (L1 acquisition) (L2 / SL / FL learning) Multilingual 2 native languages (L3, L... learning (Bilingual Acquisition, or acquisition) La & Lb, or BFLA)
  9. 9. Biculturalism (C1+C2) and multiculturalism (C3, etc.) are alsoincluded in the broad field of bilingualism. The JALT BilingualismSIG serves the needsof intercultural familiesto raise well-adjusted (bilingual) children. Bilingualism also sheds light on language teaching, in some of the following ways.
  10. 10. Bilingualism constitutes the goal of plural languageacquisition as well the means of becoming bilingual, thusproviding an overall orientation to language teaching. Bilingualism sheds light on identity issues involved inbecoming bilingual, so learners can be given guidanceon the option of biculturalism. Bilingualism clarifies the standpoint of studentsdevelopmentally and socially, so language teachers cangrasp the levers of group dynamics and motivation. Knowing the types of bilinguals, critical periods, and whatto expect when L2 learning is started after early childhood,language teachers can advise the public and policy makerson when and how to start L2 learning. Bilingualism counters many misconceptions held in Japanand much of the world about languages in contact inindividuals and societies, so language teachers can helplearners overcome barriers to becoming bilingual.
  11. 11. Bilingualism clarifies the societal context of languageeducation, such as the relative value of languages, unstatedgovernment policies and cultural attitudes, so languageteachers can adjust their expectations and navigateeducational institutions in the host society. Bilingualism clarifies the different domains and purposesaffecting language choice and use, and the harmlessnessof mixing languages or strategic code-switching, solanguage teachers can add nuanced realism to the basicaim of balanced input and interaction in each language. Bilingual education, focusing on the medium ofinstruction, clarifies the effectiveness of content-basedlanguage teaching, so language teachers can evaluateeducational options such as mainstream, ethnic,international, or bilingual schools.
  12. 12. Finally, bilingualism sheds light on language acquisition,how research on first language acquisition, bilingualacquisition, and bilingual education informs L2 teaching.Reflecting on these and other insights from bilingualismcan make a difference in everyday decisions in practiceas well as in cultivating theories to undergird oneslanguage teaching. Thank you! Do you have any questions, ideas or suggestions to addto this presentation? See the handout for the authors online publications on Bilingualism in English and Japanese, available at