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English as a Third Language for Lower Income Children in Holland Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa “On the Wing� Early Bird Conference Rotterdam, Holland 16 November 2005

Format 1.  The Mother Tongue Dilemma 2.  The Benefit of Bilingualism that Transfer to Trilingualism 3.  How do the learner’s L1 and L2 influence the acquisition of L3? 4.  Challenges to Third Language Success 5.  Facts and Studies about Third Language Learning 6.  Eight Key Factors in L1 and L2 that influence L3 success 7.  Implications for the Individual and his Family (Strategies and attitudes) 8.  The Institution (Curriculum structure and Teacher training)

The Mother Tongue Dilemma The questions:  Can a child develop strong second language skills if they have a weak mother tongue (as in when they come from poorer backgrounds and have not been properly schooled in the home language)? Can English as a third language serve as a social “equalizer” without having negative metacognitive consequences for the child? The implications:  If no, what are the implications for national language policy?  If yes, what are the factors that influence their success and how can they be manipulated in the child’s favor?

“Multilingual Education”   UNESCO adopted the term multilingual education at its General Conference in 1999, to mean “use of at least three languages in education - the mother tongue, a regional or national language and an international one”.

The Benefits of Bilingualism that Transfer to Trilingualism   Bilinguals deal with levels of abstraction earlier than monolinguals_   Bilinguals learn how to switch back and forth between tasks when the rules (such as the rules of a language) change at a faster pace than monolinguals_.   Bilinguals learn how to inhibit--or not pay attention to--a previously learned set, a skill that depends on development of a particular part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, which functions in concert with other areas_.   Bilinguals use more of their brains than monolinguals_.   Multilinguals more creative than monolinguals in 30 out of 33 studies4.

The Benefits of Bilingualism that Transfer to Trilingualism  Cognitive benefits:  Social benefits:  Economic benefits:  Personal benefits:  Communication benefits:  Cultural benefits:  Academic benefits:  Enhanced higher thinking skills (metalinguistic awareness, creativity, sensitivity to communication).  Integration, appreciation of other cultures  Marketability of bilingual skills, government- and businessrecognized need.

The Benefits of Bilingualism that Transfer to Trilingualism  Psychological well-being, self confidence, sense of belonging, enhanced identity with roots.  Literacy in three languages enables access to wider literature and a wider communication network of family, international links.  Greater tolerance, less racism, bigger intercultural sense.  Easier to learn the third language, increased curriculum achievement--impact on other subjects.

The Facts and StudiesThe Mother Tongue Dilemma 1.  There is a direct link between academic results and the time spent learning in the mother tongue_. 2.  A child’s proficiency level in the native language relates to the speed and extent to which the second language develops.

The Facts and StudiesThe Benefits of Multilingualism 3. Bilingual students achieve higher results on English-language proficiency tests than their Anglophone, monolingual peers_:   Significant effects of bilingualism were found on four of five measures, i.e., listening, speaking, writing, & vocabulary/grammar. No significant effect on reading ability was observed.

The Facts and Studies 4. The more languages you know, the easier it gets to learn an additional one. 5. Third-language learners are highly successful; they learn more language faster than second language learners of the same target language; and (2) their behaviours are those of the self-directed learner. 6. Semilingualism is a relatively rare phenomenon and is defined by a lack of dominance in any of the languages one is acquainted with.

The Facts and Studies   In 2000, more than a third of the population of Western Europe under 35 was of immigrant origin, according to a recent UNESCO report on linguistic diversity in Europe_.   A study done in The Hague in 1999 showed that in a sample of 41,600 children aged between 4 and 17, about 49% of primary and 42% of secondary school pupils use a language other than Dutch at home, such as Turkish, Hindi, Berber or Arabic_.

The Facts and Studies   In 2000, more than a third of the population of Western Europe under 35 was of immigrant origin, according to a recent UNESCO report on linguistic diversity in Europe.   A study done in The Hague in 1999 showed that in a sample of 41,600 children aged between 4 and 17, about 49% of primary and 42% of secondary school pupils use a language other than Dutch at home, such as Turkish, Hindi, Berber or Arabic.

First and second languages influences on the acquisition of a third language   Typology (similarity between languages)   Speaker’s level of proficiency   Linguistic awareness   Time spent on language   Education level of the student   Age when language is learned   Parent involvement   Teacher qualifications

Typology   “This appears to be the most important variable in determining the likelihood of language transfer”   Similarity between languages   Languages which share grammar (as with Latin roots), vocabulary, or have a similar phoneme base are easier to learn.

Speaker’s level of proficiency   “There is a general consensus among researchers that language transfer is more likely to occur at lower levels of proficiency”_ when they use L1 or L2 to fill in language gaps in L3.

Linguistic awareness   “…characterized by increased meta-linguistic awareness, greater creativity and cognitive flexibility, and more diversified mental abilities.”   “Awareness is not limited to linguistic structure and semantics but also affects phonological, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic knowledge…”

Time spent on language   The more language is practiced, the more proficient one becomes.   “Amount of exposure has a strong effect on the likelihood of both positive and negative language transfer…”_   The role of linguistic exposure functions similarly in L2 and L3 acquisition.

Education level of the student   [Language] learners who have highly developed language skills (such as reading, writing and richness of vocabulary) in their native language will most likely find that these skills facilitate second language acquisition,� though this has been less explored in L3 learners.

Age when language is learned   In a comparison of children in grades 2, 6 and 9, it was found that the older children used more language transfer (displaying greater metalinguistic awareness)_. The younger the children; the general guideline is that child learners are less likely to draw on the L1   “…the ages 4-10 are marked by ‘syntactic conservationism’ during which children tend to stick to one syntactic pattern, whereas adults are more flexible.

Parent involvement   “Parents who want their children to learn their mother tongue must realize that it will take work, beyond simply speaking their mother-tongue to all the time to their child….This means things like reading out loud… singing to them and teaching them the songs and nursery rhythms, showing video films…and having other adults and children speak to the child,,,taking the child for a visit in the country where the language is spoken…   “…minority-language maintenance [is] embedded in a more general attempt to maintain traditional cultures…”

Parent involvement   Characteristics of Good Parent Involvement:   Links with school to support child’s academic, not discipline, concerns   Monitor children’s homework   Help students with school work (research, etc.)

Parent encouragement   High level parent involvement has a direct correlation to third language success.   Clear parental roles (as identified in “contracts” at the start of the year) ensure appropriate intervention.   Parental support in ensuring native language fluency (and literacy) a key to academic success.   Parental use of and attitudes about home language directly impact language maintenance, and self-esteem

Teacher qualifications   Teachers who have more graduate education and more specialized training for working with language minority children are more successful.   Teachers with greater knowledge of the home language(s) of their students are more successful.   Knowledge of evaluation methods that ensure “instructually embedded assessment”.

Program design should include:                          

Ongoing assessment using multiple measure. Inetgrated schooling (all language learners together) High expectations by teachers Equal status of languages Healthy parent involvement Continuous staff development second language taught through academic content Critical thinking across language program Activation of students' prior knowledge Respect for students' home language and culture Cooperative learning Interactive and discovery learning Intense and meaningful cognitive/academic development

Guidelines for Assessing Bilingual and Trilingual Children   Assessment must be developmentally and culturally appropriate.   The child's bilingual linguistic background must be taken into consideration in any authentic assessment of oral language proficiency. Bilingualism is a complex concept and includes individuals with a broad range of speaking, reading, writing, and comprehending abilities in each language. Furthermore, these abilities are constantly in flux.

Guidelines for Assessing Bilingual and Trilingual Children   The goal must be to assess the child's language or languages without standardizing performance, allowing children to demonstrate what they can do in their own unique ways. Assessment must be accompanied by a strong professional development component that focuses on the use of narrative reporting, observations of language development, and sampling the child's language abilities.

Guidelines for Assessing Bilingual and Trilingual Children   A fully contextual account of the child's language skills requires the involvement of parents and family members, the students themselves, teachers, and staff in providing a detailed picture of the context of language learning and the resources that are available to the child (Nissani, 1990). What is called for is a description of the child's language environment, of the extent to which significant others-adults or children-provide language assistance by modeling, expanding, restating, repeating, questioning, prompting, negotiating meaning, cueing, pausing, praising, and providing visual and other supports. Assessment of the child needs to take into account the entire context in which the child is learning and developing.

Implications   The Individual and his Family (Strategies and Attitudes)   Frequency: Opportunities to use English   Interest and Motivation   Parental encouragement   Pride in home language   Use of home language   Teaching of home language   The Institution (curriculum structure and teacher training) School structure   Teacher preparedness   Knowledge of students’ home languages   Student-Centered Learning

Individual learning strategies   The degree of proficiency, time and order of foreign language learning are less important than motivation and interaction with the target language.   Furthermore, proficiency and degree of activation are more important than typological similarity with target language.

Individual learning strategies   Metacognition   Role of First, Second Languages in Third Language Acquisition   Use of inference   Vocabulary acquisition   Motivation and frequent use

Metacognition: The Multilingual Mind   The manner in which word forms are connected to the other words in the multilingual minds: is this connection is mediated by the first language or not. It has been found that first languages do not necessarily play a privileged role in the acquisition of subsequent languages. The reaction times measured showed that despite the claims in the literature, first language does not seem to have a determining role in the development of a third language.   Findings suggest that both L1 and L2 have a role: L1 is the default supplier during transfer lapses and L2 during interactional strategies.

Metacognition: The Multilingual Mind   Parasitism as a default mechanism in L3 vocabulary acquisition (Christopher J. Hall and Peter Ecke) presupposes that new words are integrated into existing lexical network with least possible redundancy and as rapidly as possible in order to become accessible for communication.   The authors propose that the multilingual lexicon admits cross-linguistic transfer (CLI) from all possible source languages and at all representational levels.

Semilingualism   The term semilingualism is often used to describe the language situation of immigrant and language minority populations whose native language may be different from the standards of their native country, yet whose second language is also considered substandard.

What kind of an Issue?   Identity?   Linguistic?   Political?

Individual: Opportunities to use English   Understand how English is formed.

What motivates students?   Teacher enthusiasm   Relevance of the subject   Organizaition of course course   Appropriate difficulty level   Active participation by student   Variety of activities and methodology   Personal link between teacher and student   Use of approrpriate, concrete and clear examples.

Steven Zemelman, Harvey Daniels, y Arthur Hyde (2002): Best practices                          

Student-centered Experiential Holistic Authentic Expressive Reflective Social Collaborative Democratic Cognitive Developmental Constructivist Challenging

Community Perspective   Sociocultural processes strongly influence, in both positive and negative ways, students' access to cognitive, academic, and language development. It is crucial that educators provide a socioculturally supportive school environment that allows natural language, academic, and cognitive development to flourish.   Community or regional social patterns such as prejudice and discrimination expressed towards groups or individuals in personal and professional contexts can influence students' achievement in school, as well as societal patterns such as subordinate status of a minority group or acculturation vs. assimilation forces at work. These factors can strongly influence the student's response to the new language, affecting the process positively only when the student is in a socioculturally supportive environment.

Institutional Strategies for third language learning   Curriculum structure   English immersion   Early exit programs   Late exist programs   Teacher preparedness   Knowledge of students’ home languages   Student-Centered Learning

Acquiring a Second Language for School   Learning a second language for school is not simply a linguistic challenge; it poses social, cultural, academic, and cognitive challenges as well.

Early English Immersion   All instruction is in English   English is taught through the content areas (as well as a separate subject)

Early Exit Programs   There is some initial instruction in the child’s primary language, thirty to sixty minutes a day,   This is usually limited to the introduction of initial reading skills. All other instruction is in English.

Late exist programs   Receive a minimum of forty-percent of their total instructional time in Dutch.   Students remain in this program through sixth grade, regardless of when they are reclassified as fluent-English proficient.

Results: Comparing the three programs   Children in immersion programs had comparable test scores regardless of the school they amended; the same was true for students in the early-exit programs (Ramirez et al., 1991, p. 96).   In sum, after four years [K-3] in their respective programs, limited-English proficient students in immersion strategy and early-exit programs (as defined in this study) demonstrate comparable skills in mathematics, language, and reading when tested in English (ES, p. 20)

Different growth curves between immersion strategy, early-exit, and late-exit students   While the growth curves for immersion strategy and early-exit students show growth for first to third grade in mathematics, English language, and reading skills, they also show a sawing down in the rate of growth in each of these content areas as grade level increases. This deceleration in growth is similar to that observed for students in the general population.   In contrast, the growth curves for students in the late-exit program from first grade to third grade and from third grade to sixth grade suggest not only continued growth in these areas, but continued acceleration in the rate of growth, which is as fast or faster than the normal population. That is, late-exit students appear to be gaining on students in the general population.

Virginia Collier’s Model   When first language instructional support cannot be provided, the following program characteristics can make a significant difference in academic achievement:   Second language taught through academic content   Conscious focus on teaching learning strategies needed to develop thinking skills and problem-solving abilities   Continuous support for staff development emphasizing activation of students' prior knowledge, respect for students' home language and culture, cooperative learning, interactive and discovery learning, intense and meaningful cognitive/academic development, and ongoing assessment using multiple measures.

Teacher Preparedness   Knowledge of students’ home languages   Student-Centered Learning

Quality of the Teacher   High EFL teacher qualifications mean   Being versed in appropriate teaching methods   Understanding of students’ native language structure (or being able to speak it)   Understanding of learning styles   Owning a good toolbox of motivational skills   Appropriate use of evaluation and feedback mechanisms   Respect for other cultures

Aspects of a good teacher training program:   Train teachers in English language instruction;   Have regular meetings for discussing instructional issues and exchanging ideas;   Develop an activity-based and thematic syllabus;   Program coordinators observe classrooms several times a year;   Apply a formative evaluation using   Observation   An attitude survey of teachers, parents, and administrators   A teacher survey, and   English language testing.

Teaching practices-What not to do   Do most of the talking in classrooms (poor language teachers make about twice as many utterances as do students). Students produce language only when they are working directly with a teacher, and then only in response to teacher initiations.   In over half of the interactions that teachers have with students, students do not produce any language as they are only listening or responding with non-verbal gestures or actions.   When students do respond, typically they provide only simple information recall statements. Rather than being provided with the opportunity to generate original statements, students are asked to provide simple discrete close-ended or patterned (i.e., expected) responses.

Teaching practices-What to do   Teacher should make classes student-centered and try NOT speak most of the time, nor initiate the majority of the exchanges by asking display questions, but rather seek out student-initiated requests.   As students prefer to verbally request help only in small group or one-to-one interactions with the teacher, teachers should call on students individually and approach them personally to offer support.   Teachers should not only modify their own speech in response to students' requests (verbal or non-verbal), they should also request modifications of the students' speech.   Sustained negotiation - in which teachers and students verbally resolve incomplete or inaccurate messages – should occur frequently.

Classroom strategies: Methods for better third language learning   Cooperative learning and other grouping strategies (allow for native language use)   Task-based or experiential learning   Whole language strategies   Push for vocabulary development (grammar follows natural samples)   Use of graphic organizers/portfolios to track development.

Does English as a third language help or hurt immigrants in Holland?   English as a high prestige language: Europe’s lingua franca in 2005.   Bilinguals performed better learning English (as a third language) than monolinguals.   The more languages you know, the easier it gets to learn an additional one. Third-language learners are highly successful; they learn more language faster than second language learners of the same target language; and (2) their behaviours are those of the self-directed learner.

English as a third language HELPS low income children in Holland when…   School programs are accompanied by   (1) Home stimulation and support for all three languages with special emphasis on native language fluency;   (2) Parents' motivation for schooling is high and the give value to their children’s efforts; and   (3) Children's self-esteem is integrated into the academic, social, cultural and cognitive goals of multilingualism.

Future challenges   The practical obstacles include   Continual increase in immigrant community growth.   Shortage of teachers who can teach with knowledge of students’ native languages   A complex set of legal, administrative and funding issues in urban school districts that balance the needs of schools   The political obstacles include   Wariness and lack of support among substantial portions of the population.   Rights of new immigrants a priority?   Threat to the status of Dutch

UNESCO recommendation  

Mother tongue education and multilingualism are increasingly accepted around the world and speaking one’s own language is more and more a right. International Mother Language Day, proclaimed in 1999 by UNESCO and marked on 21 February each year, is one example.


Encouraging education in the mother tongue, alongside bilingual or multilingual education, is one of the principles set out by UNESCO in a new position paper. This includes: 1. Promoting education in the mother tongue to improve the quality of education. 2. Encouraging bilingual and/or multilingual education at all levels of schooling as a means of furthering social and gender equality and as a key part of linguistically diverse societies. 3. Pushing languages as a central part of inter-cultural education.

National Language Policy   Language is a sensitive political issue, as it is a profound symbol of national and personal identity.   In the Netherlands, itself containing a high percentage of immigrants, research has begun into the common challenges facing both "old" and "new“ [language minorities]. Whether or not the EU is willing to include the thorny issue of immigration in a future language policy remains a point of debate…

Background  Master’s from Harvard University in International Education and Development and doctorate (Ph.D.) from Capella University (cross-disciplinary approach comparing findings in neuroscience, psychology, pedagogy, cultural anthropology and linguistics). Bachelor’s of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor’s of Science (Communications) from Boston University, magna cum laude. • Director of the Institute for Research and Educational Development (IDEA), Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador and professor of Education and Neuropsychology. • Teacher (pre-kindergarten through university) with 22 years of comparative research experience and support to hundreds of schools in 17 countries.

For more information: Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa, Ph.D. Universidad San Francisco de Quito Casa Corona, primer piso Campus Cumbayá Diego de Robles y vía Interoceánica ECUADOR Tel.: (593)-2-297-1700; (593)-2-297-1937 Fax: (593)-2-289-0070. P.O.BOX 17-1200-841, Quito - Ecuador Telf: 297-1700 x1338

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  Sanz, C. (2000) "Bilingual education enhances third language acquisition: Evidence from Catalonia", Applied Psycholinguistics 21, 1: 23-44.   Sikogukira, M. (1993) "Influence of languages other than the L1 on a foreign language: the case of transfer from L2 to L3", Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 4:110-132.   SWAIN, M. et al. (1990) "The role of mother tongue literacy in third language learning", Language, Culture and Curriculum 3,1: 65-81.   Schmidt, P. (1991, February 20). Three types of bilingual education equally effective, E.D. study concludes. Education Week, pp.1, 23.   Secada, W. G. (1990). Research, politics, and bilingual education. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, 508, 81-106.   Snow, M. A., A. M. Padilla, et al. (1988). "Patterns of Second Language Retention of Graduates of a Spanish Immersion Program." Applied Linguistics 9(2): 183-197   Sousa, David. (2002). Como Aprende el Cerebro, 2da edición. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.   SWAIN, M. et al. (1990) "The role of mother tongue literacy in third language learning", Language, Culture and Curriculum 3,1: 65-81.

  Taboors, P.O. (1997). One Child, Two Languages: A Guide for Preschool Educators of Children Learning English As a Second Language,   Tomlinson, Carol Ann. (1999). The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of All Learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.   Tomlinson, Carol Ann. (2003). “Deciding to Teach them All” Educational Leadership, October, 6-11.   UNESCO. (July-Sept. 2003). The mother-tongue dilemma. Education Today Newsletter.   UNESCO. (July-Sept. 2003). UNESCO and Multiliongualism. Education Today Newsletter.   Valencia Garate, J. and J. Cenoz Iragui (1993). "Bilingualism and Third Language Acquisition." ERIC Database(ED364118).   Walsh, J. (2004). Minority voices show strong instinct for survival. The Guardian Weekly. Brighton UK: IATEFL   Werker, J.F. and Tees R.C. (1984) Cross-language speech perception: Evidence for perceptual reorganization during the first year of life. Infant Behavior and Development 7, 49-63.   Wolfe, Patricia. (2001). Brain Matters: Translating Research into Classroom Practice. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development.

  The Brain and Learning:

Recursos del Internet:

   Harvard and MIT Brain Scan project    Brain Imaging Montreal Neurological Institute    Explanation of Brain Imagining (Neuroscience for kids)    Watching the Brain in Action    Basics of brain imaging    UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging    The Human Brain Dissected    Memory and the Brain    Geocites on the Brain 

English as a third language for lower income children en holland(tracey tokuhama espinosa)  
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