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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!
WHY ENGLISH IS NOT
This is that part of the
world, with a concentration of
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 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
What is the richest country in
How many languages do people
generally speak there?
In China, English is
considered a basic skill, not
Language study – lifestyle choice or
40 minutes per week in primary
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.
WHY LEARN A FOREIGN
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
Convinced? How do we
communicate this to
parents, principals, students…?
THE BENEFITS OF
LANGUAGE LEARNING FOR
Literacy in English
Impoverished view of
NSW SCHOOLS WITH
Campsie Public School (Korean)
Murray Farm Public School (Japanese)
Rouse Hill Public School (Chinese)
Scotts Head Public School (Indonesian)
over 90% home language not
taught bilingually (Chinese &
Literacy results improved over 2-3
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
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
How do our students fit