Keep Calm and Get Out of the Anglobubble!


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Why English is not enough - inspired by Professor John Hajek. Why learning a language helps with students' English literacy

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  • Question – how does learning additional languages enhance English literacy?
  • Key point – all students, all people are better off with more than one language!Hands up – how many people in the room speak more than one language?
  • Such a mindset sees everything in terms of monolingualism being the norm, even though there are more bi- and multilinguals in the world than monolinguals (Clyne, 2005)
  • Compared to Australia?Richest countries in Europe – Luxembourg, 3 languages spoken
  • Some provocations – where do you stand? Some of the things I talk about you may agree or not – that’s cool!
  • Read more:
  • Studies have shown that children need certain preparatory skills in order to learn to read. These include metalinguistic awareness2. Learning a second language has been shown to enhance children’s metalinguistic awareness and thereby their reading readiness (eg. Yelland et al 1993). The literacy debate in Australia has tended to become very narrow and focused on ‘literacy in English’. This is an ‘impoverished view of literacy’ because it makes a very simplistic link between time spent on English literacy and learning. It ignores the complex and potentially rich understandings and insights which second language learning brings (Liddicoat, A. (2001) Language learners learn to talk about language as an object, to think about the components of language and the way in which messages are structured.
  • much needed academic language proficiency in English need not be at the cost of supporting students’ emergent bilingualismStudents - over 90% are from immigrant and refugee backgrounds where the home language is not English.In terms of English-language acquisition and proficiency, these students, as a group, experience no academic disadvantage in being taught bilingually for two to three years.Bilingual education helps with English literacy!
  • The ability to understand and engage with people of other languages and cultures will be fundamental to participation in increasingly multicultural and multilingual societies and the global economy In Australia, recognition of the importance of these skills has been very slow to develop, despite our increasing linguistic and cultural diversity. Michael Clyne has characterized this as ‘a persistent monolingual mindset’,
  • Simply introducing a second language program into a primary school does not automatically ensure that the benefits to learners will become available. Questions such as the amount and quality of exposure to the second language, teacher competency, resources and motivation, methodology and continuity of programs are all key elements in delivering these benefits to children.
  • Keep Calm and Get Out of the Anglobubble!

    1. 1. WHY ENGLISH IS NOT ENOUGH Fiona Boughey @FionaR_B .au
    2. 2. This is that part of the world, with a concentration of monolingual English speakers, that operates in English, thinks it only natural that everything should happen in English and should logically be experienced and understood in English. (Hajek, 2013) THE ANGLOBUBBLE
    3. 3. THE REST OF THE WORLD Almost nine out of ten EU citizens believe that the ability to speak foreign languages is very useful and 98% say that mastering languages will be good for the future of their children. What is the richest country in Europe? How many languages do people generally speak there? In China, English is considered a basic skill, not a language
    4. 4. AUSTRALIA Language study – lifestyle choice or educational necessity? 40 minutes per week in primary – enough? Continuity? Crowded curriculum?
    5. 5. BILINGUAL EDUCATION Brain Benefits from Being Bilingual New studies are showing that a multilingual brain is nimbler, quicker, better able to deal with ambiguities, resolve conflicts and even resist Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia longer.
    6. 6. WHY LEARN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE? 1. You become smarter 2. You build multitasking skills 3. You stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia 4. Your memory improves 5. You become more perceptive 6. Your decision-making skills improve 7. You improve your English
    7. 7. Convinced? How do we communicate this to parents, principals, students…?
    8. 8. THE BENEFITS OF LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR LITERACY DEVELOPMENT Metalinguistic awareness Literacy in English Impoverished view of literacy?
    9. 9. NSW SCHOOLS WITH BILINGUAL PROGRAMS Campsie Public School (Korean) Murray Farm Public School (Japanese) Rouse Hill Public School (Chinese) Scotts Head Public School (Indonesian)
    10. 10. RICHMOND WEST 1.jpg.png over 90% home language not English taught bilingually (Chinese & Vietnamese) Literacy results improved over 2-3 years
    11. 11. ENGLISH IS NOT ENOUGH – THE MONOLINGUAL MINDSET 94% of the world's population do not speak English as their first language 75% of the world's population do not speak English at all
    12. 12. ENGLISH IS NOT ENOUGH – THE MONOLINGUAL MINDSET There is a growing belief amongst language professionals that the future will be a bilingual one, in which an increasing proportion of the world’s population will be fluent speakers of more than one language. How do our students fit
    13. 13. SUCCESS? Amount Quality Exposure resources motivation continuity
    14. 14. THE CHALLENGE Get out of the Anglobubble! Change the monolingual mindset What “crowded curriculum”? ENGLISH IS NOT ENOUGH!