Wednesday, November 21, 2012

[MLE] Decade Notes on Education for All ; Early childhood


Dear multilingual education friends,

The first End of Decade Note on Education for All 2012 is on Early Childhood Care and Education. It is published by UNICEF and UNESCO Asia Pacific.“The EDN present a review of regional and national progress toward the six EFA goals, take stock of the progress, persisting issues and remaining challenges in achieving the goals, and highlight examples of innovative policy reforms and strategies, particularly those aimed at reducing disparities in access to and quality of education.”
Have a look at Section 4.3 on MLE’s value for addressing language inequities, “Addressing Language Inequities in Ethnolinguistic and Indigenous Communities: The Value of Multilingual Education.” Here are some quotes:

In many countries, there is a perception that using a native or minority language may hinder economic progress.”
 
But there is an excellent counter-example to this quote as follows:
In these communities, experiences in the region point to the need for encouraging young students to consider careers in ECCE; for example, to prepare teachers for ECCE programmes in Nepal, the Government introduced early childhood development as an optional subject in the secondary school curriculum (grades 9 and 10). Graduates with early childhood development as their optional subject are given priority to work as ECCE teachers in the future. In these communities, ECCE provides a double dividend: a pathway towards the holistic development of young children and the empowerment of youth in the community.”

And regarding a research done in Vietnam:
The results indicated superior performance by the cohort of students who had received mother-tongue based ECCE in key areas of cognitive development”

Friday, November 16, 2012

[MLE] Is 3 years enough? Research findings from Cameroon

Dear  Multilingual Education friends,

Is three years of mother tongue medium education long enough? There is a report (The Kom Experimental Mother Tongue Education Pilot Project. Report for 2012,” by Stephen L. Walter and Kain Godfrey Chuo) on the Kom Pilot project in Cameron where children from 12 different schools were educated in their mother tongue, Kom, for three years and joined the main stream school grade 4 onwards. The research compares these students with their comparison group with English medium education while they are grade 3, 4, and 5. Here I quote some of their main findings and suggestions.
    1. The three year period of the intervention is not long enough to adequately prepare students for an effective transition to L2 instruction. (Note: Those who have been in English-only schools for all 5 years are even less prepared for the demands of Class 5 than are the children from experimental schools.)
    2. The students coming from the experimental schools still show in Class 5 some of the educational benefits derived from having been in the experimental program.”
To access to the full report, click here with control key: http://www.mlenetwork.org/sites/default/files/The%20Kom%20MLE%20Project%202012.pdf

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[MLE] Advocacy video from ABC Australia in Timor Leste

Dear Multilingual Education Friends,

Here is an video on mother tongue based MLE in Timor Leste by ABC Australia. Note that there IS opposition and misunderstanding to the program but the program is still going on.

Friday, October 12, 2012

[MLE] Bilingualism benefits


Dear Multilingual Education friends,

A recent study from Europe is showing that Children from low income families benefit from being bilingual. NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum) based in England highlights an interesting study on this topic in their website (http://www.naldic.org.uk/eal-advocacy/eal-news-summary/200912?dm_i=11M1,Z16E,7M1CX5,2XSTQ,1 ). Quote:
This is the first study to show that, although they may face linguistic challenges, minority bilingual children from low-income families demonstrate important strengths in other cognitive domains.....Our study suggests that intervention programs that are based on second language teaching are a fruitful avenue for future research” says Engel de Abreu.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

[MLE]: The Hindu: Let a hundred tongues be heard

Dear multilingual Education friends,

Shrimps back gets broken when whales fight. This is an idiom from Korean, meaning when there is fighting between powerful men, weak people could be a scapegoat of the fighting unless they are very careful. This metaphor seems to fit well in this big fighting between English and Hindi and many other local languages which could be scapegoats of this fighting. The English whale seems to be winning the game as there are scare materials available in Hindi for tertiary level education in Delhi and even many government schools in Karnataka will use English as a medium to compete with English medium private schools. Sumanyu Satpathy, linguist at the University of Delhi, wrote an article on it in the Hindu. A few quotes:
“The domination of English and Hindi is turning Indian education and culture into a depressingly monolingual affair.”
“If you live in any of the Hindi-speaking States, it is likely that every other day you would hear of debates about the future of Hindi. Naturally, the spectacular rise of Hindi is not often talked about in these quarters as a threat to the linguistic diversity in India,”
“the Odisha government has announced that English medium public schools will be set up in three tribal districts in the State. This is going to prove disastrous for the linguistic ecology of India, and consequently for the local cultures.”
 “not an insignificant number of students in premier departments and colleges in Delhi University complain of the dearth of textbook material in Hindi. Elsewhere in India, higher education is also officially available in both English and the State language; but the production of textbooks in the local language is awfully impoverished.”
 “The argument here is not about banning English medium schools; far from it. It is, rather, for strengthening local-language-medium schools, improving their pedagogic tools, and for generating opportunities in the local markets on a par with the globalised market for a healthy linguistic diversity.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

[MLE] Article "Linguistic Right And Language of Politics "

Dear Multilingual Education friends,

Samir Karmakar of Jadavpur University , Kolkata wrote on CounterCurrent an short article on Linguistic Right And Language of Politics. He points out through a powerful graph that even the state languages are declining. He criticises the multilingual education efforts as they still seems to promote a shift to English:
The introduction of mother tongue in the elementary education, as is proposed by different agencies, is mainly from the angle of cognitive development. In order to facilitate the young learners' cognitive development, their mother tongues are proposed to include in the language curriculum in elementary level under the assumption that, as has been pointed out by World Bank in Priorities and Strategies for Education (1995), this approach will “promote the cognitive development needed for learning a second language”. As the learner moves to the higher education, mother tongue will be gradually replaced by English only. (How innocent could be the ambush to clear the blockage in the name of “God”, “an impressive expression of the public will and without regard to partisanship”!)
He argues:
Introduction of mother tongue in the elementary education is not enough to empower the people linguistically, until and unless it's presence in the entry point to the market is assured. What is required to assure the latter one is the political and economical empowerment of All. Interestingly, not much hullaballoo on this issue!
His conclusion is:
A true multilingual approach should unleash the scope to all at every level of the tertiary educational system in India ; and this can be achieved only through the political and economical empowerment of all. If this demand sounds too much to achieve the stated goal of multilingualism we need to recognize linguistic liberty is still a distant dream even after the half decades of political independence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

[MLE] Spell well, read well, write well

Dear multilingual education friends,

The value of a working orthography is often overlooked while pursuing MLE. We often focus on the educational factors and tend to overlook the linguistics. Butch Hernandez wrote an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Spell well, read well, write well in which he writes that teacher want to develop learning material, but often struggle:
The problem lies in orthography, or more specifically, the absence of one for the desired mother tongue. Orthography is actually the set of spelling and writing rules that govern a particular language.
In her piece “How Spelling Supports Reading,” Louisa Moats, a literacy research and professional development expert, explains that “research has shown that learning to spell and learning to read rely on much of the same underlying knowledge—such as the relationships between letters and sounds—and, not surprisingly, that spelling instruction can be designed to help children better understand that key knowledge, resulting in better reading.”
Moats adds: “Research also bears out a strong relationship between spelling and writing: Writers who must think too hard about how to spell use up valuable cognitive resources needed for higher level aspects of composition. Even more than reading, writing is a mental juggling act that depends on automatic deployment of basic skills such as handwriting, spelling, grammar, and punctuation so that the writer can keep track of such concerns as topic, organization, word choice, and audience needs. Poor spellers may restrict what they write to words they can spell, with inevitable loss of verbal power.”