It seems that the essential nature of teaching EAL/D students to SPEAK English remains invisible at best, or not evident at all, in the insatiable quest for a quick fix for initial literacy acquisition in English.
The latest ....fyi
Please post any comments or questions and add to the discussions.
The more we talk...
the more we learn...
the more we learn...
the more the students learn :).
This article written by Christine Nicholls is worth a read. She highlights the policy battles for Bilingual Education since the early 80s as experienced in the places she worked..
The following comment by Stephen Krashen, from the University of Southern California, who has extensively studied how students learn a second language, was made in 1999. It remains, and perhaps is even more relevant today.
"We must vastly improve the print environment in our bilingual programs. Reading for meaning, especially voluntary reading, is the major source of literacy competence. Yet one study of libraries in schools with bilingual programs found there was, on average, only one book in Spanish for each Spanish-speaking child.
Having just spent time in a couple of remote Indigenous Schools, I would like to emphasize the impact and necessary role of the classroom walls as oral and literacy scaffolds for children learning English as they learn through English.
Jim Cummins, from the University of Toronto, who has written extensively on bilingual education.
"One of the problems is that in some bilingual programs, there hasn't been a strong enough pedagogical vision. Bilingual education has been seen as a panacea, that all we need to do to resolve problems of underachievement is provide some first language instruction and everything else will take care of itself"
The introduction of synthetic phonics as a shortcut to literacy achievement in a language not yet spoken/in the early stages of learning the language, is not effective beyond the immediate context. It ignores the essential teaching of syntax and the semantics of cross-cultural knowledge.
I have attached a document outlining my thoughts on the current pedagogical directions applied to EAL/D learners especially those in isolated communities and learning contexts.