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An introduction to bilingual education english language as a second language

How Bilingualism Informs Language Teaching This paper Introduction Bilingualism provides a perspective on linguistic and cultural diversity. The value of becoming bilingual or multilingual extends to intercultural communication and confers the ability to make peace. The first article in this series explained the various meanings referred to when people use the word "bilingualism," then showed how a realistic meaning of bilingualism should be considered the goal of learning a second or foreign language.

Bilingualism was shown to be a stance, a developmental state, a field of study, an educational goal, and the means to achieve it in a balanced way through bilingual education. Learning is a process of organic growth, and each person has a unique developmental path. The goal was therefore identified as bilingual functioning to a useful extent according to the needs of the individual.

This second article will apply the bilingual perspective to language teaching. It discusses the difference in perspective between a monolingual and a bilingual language teacher. It finds support for the bilingual perspective in first language acquisition studies an introduction to bilingual education english language as a second language the distinction between natural acquisition and deliberate learning. It presents a taxonomy of types of language acquisition informed by bilingualism and its types such as simultaneous bilingualism from age zero.

Having two native languages from early infancy is shown to be qualitatively different from learning one language after another, with bilingual acquisition characterizing children in intercultural families when their parents aim for bilingualism.

This paper shows how bilingualism clarifies the effectiveness of language teaching approaches, bilingual development at different ages, the viewpoint of students, the societal context of language teaching, and language acquisition. The next series on bilingualism will present a taxonomy of the various phenomena of bilingualism, in the context of Japan but similar elsewhere, in terms of the levels of bilingualism briefly introduced in the first chart below, including the disciplinary level in applied linguistics where languages in contact are studied.

The Bilingual Perspective on Language Teaching After recent presentations at both regional and international conferences, participants asked about the possibly different perspective on language teaching when teachers themselves are bilingual.

Language Minorities

The author answered that a monolingual foreign language teacher tells you in effect to 'go where I have not gone,' whereas a bilingual teacher tells you with his or her example, 'come to the state of functioning that I represent. Monolingual teachers refer to native speakers of the target language who must rely on the students to speak their L2 of necessity, which can be an advantage in some situations.

  1. The family situation of two parents with different native languages is where bilingualism is an apt term, which also includes multilingualism. Bilingualism across the lifespan.
  2. If they were able to understand and respond to most of what they heard in the weaker language, it shows that they had invisibly built up a vast structure in the brain for that language, which could then be activated when needed.
  3. Bilingual acquisition is also called bilingual first language acquisition De Houwer, 2009, p.
  4. Whereas, a teacher who knows the students' language can also access a much wider context including the students' cultural background.
  5. Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Bilingual teachers refer mainly to native speakers of the target language who know the students' L1 and C1 native language and culture well. Non-native professional teachers are usually bilingual to some extent, so some of the strengths of the bilingual perspective apply to them as well.

Bilingual Education: Effective Programming for Language-Minority Students

There will always be exceptions, such as monolingual teachers who have a broad perspective, and bilingual teachers who have a narrow perspective on language teaching. Bilingualism in this paper refers not only to being bilingual to some extent but also to having some knowledge of the field of bilingualism. As explained in previous articles, bilingualism is a matter of degree, and there are varieties of bilinguals who are not balanced in the two languages.

This discussion is about pedagogy, how being bilingual as well as studying the academic discipline of bilingualism can widen the usual perspectives on language teaching. Bilingual teachers tend to be more tolerant of first language use in the foreign language classroom, because they see students developmentally. Their linguistic repertoire grows from one to two valued languages through which they can express themselves and interact with wider social circles.

People cannot leave an essential part of themselves at the door, so to prohibit or denigrate the native language of students may not be constructive toward their bilingual identity formation. Bilingual teachers also have direct experience of learning another language and, up to the intermediate level at least, understanding second language vocabulary in terms of their first language.

They may therefore be tolerant of students with little experience abroad using the strategies they choose such as bilingual dictionaries. Bilingual teachers may use both languages in class strategically.

By mixing the two languages at certain times, they can lighten the cognitive load on students while modeling the goal of bilingual functioning. In effective immersion approaches, languages may not be alternated in the same period. What is ideal or optimal depends on various factors such as the motivation and willingness of students to communicate, which may differ considerably among individuals. The bilingual teacher always has the language choice available, or the option of using both languages.

Students will notice at the very least that the goal of bilingualism is attainable, and may be inspired by the teacher as a model of their own goal.

  • Monolingual teachers refer to native speakers of the target language who must rely on the students to speak their L2 of necessity, which can be an advantage in some situations;
  • L2 education is a huge industry that often reaches learners too late;
  • Foundations of bilingual education and bilingualism 4th ed;
  • To simplify for the purposes of this paper, second language acquisition means new language components that become part of an individual's linguistic repertoire while remaining intelligible in terms of the original language.

A bilingual method of teaching can save time by explaining how to do activities in the native language of the students L1which leaves more class time for them to use the target language L2or by translating difficult words.

Often the most difficult part of class for students is to understand what they are supposed to do, or what the native-speaking teacher is saying.

A teacher may talk about "asthma" and then try to explain in other English words what it means. They may need body language, writhing and choking, leaving students still puzzled if not worried.

Japanese students might hear it as Azuma, a surname, but they can easily understand the Japanese translation zensoku. In preparing for classes, a monolingual or monocultural teacher may be focusing on how to have students master certain lexical or grammatical items, or functional communication strategies in target language situations in the teacher's culture.

Whereas, a teacher who knows the students' language can also access a much wider context including the students' cultural background. Bilingual teachers can therefore gauge how receptive their students might be to certain topics or pedagogical approaches. Not only focusing on target language items and functions, the bilingual teacher can consider pedagogical issues on many levels. Although the chart below will be detailed in the next article, with specific phenomena listed under each level, it provides an image of the bigger picture that can be applied to teaching.

The puzzle illustrates how, although the categories overlap, various factors have shaped the students in class today. For example, government policies and societal attitudes toward foreign languages have affected the institutional culture of schools in ways that new teachers from other countries cannot readily discern.

Those levels plus the family background of students can help explain why, for example, students have made limited progress toward becoming bilingual, because of starting too late, actively using L2 infrequently, passive education based on grammar and translation, and not internalizing other languages for cultural reasons. The chart below illustrates that, compared to a focus on target language patterns, a bilingual perspective provides a multidimensional view of language teaching.

Bilingualism and Language Acquisition What is taught is not the same as what is learned, which raises questions such as what approaches or methods lead to more effective language acquisition. Much of the literature in applied linguistics is devoted to second language acquisition research, and yet the basic theories are still contested and findings remain inconclusive. To simplify for the purposes of this paper, second language acquisition means new language components that become part of an individual's linguistic repertoire while remaining intelligible in terms of the original language.

In an educational context it is sometimes useful to distinguish between foreign language FL learning, where the surrounding society does not generally use the L2, and second language SL learning, where the L2 is the majority language of the surrounding society. A more important distinction for bilingualism, utilized in the chart below, is sometimes drawn between learning and acquisition.

In this view e. Some other applied linguists, particularly second language acquisition researchers, reject the distinction between second and foreign language, calling both of them second language or L2 Ellis, 1997, p.

They also either reject the distinction between acquisition and learning, or call both of them acquisition and then debate what that means Ellis, 1997, p. For the purposes of this paper, however, the FL-SL distinction is useful in terms of an introduction to bilingual education english language as a second language need for frequent or sufficient exposure to both languages. Weekly foreign language lessons are thus ineffective, while some types of bilingual education such as immersion and dual language education are shown by research to be effective Baker, 2006, pp.

The learning-acquisition distinction is similarly useful to show the ineffectiveness of most foreign language teaching systems and the need for authentic communication. This theory of acquisition explains the effectiveness of content-based language education Baker, 2006, p. L2 education is a huge industry that often reaches learners too late. With L1 acquisition a stark contrast between acquisition and learning becomes clear, as the idea of L1 learning with intentionality, teaching or study from age zero is developmentally impossible.

First or native languages grow purely by natural acquisition in the earliest stage, with listening most essential. The acquisition of languages after childhood still works effectively by natural acquisition, with listening essential, in addition to deliberate learning. Learning without acquisition in this sense is ineffective, because a language has too many details and possible patterns to develop consciously in memory at any age.

This theory may explain much of what is misguided in L2 education and point the way to more effective approaches that lead to bilingual acquisition. Generally, to gain native-like fluency, the earlier children start, the better.

Languages are more volatile at younger ages, easily learned and easily forgotten. Particularly the weaker language needs to be maintained regularly for balanced bilingualism.

  • In terms of the levels of bilingualism illustrated in the first chart, this second chart is about the individual level of language development;
  • The family situation of two parents with different native languages is where bilingualism is an apt term, which also includes multilingualism;
  • Bilingualism sheds light on identity issues involved in becoming bilingual, so learners can be given guidance on the option of biculturalism;
  • Language teachers can suffer less frustration and misunderstanding by realizing that learners' mixing of languages is a developmental stage on the way to fuller bilingualism;
  • Bilingualism counters many misconceptions held in monolingual and monocultural societies about languages in contact in individuals and communities, so language teachers can help learners overcome barriers to becoming bilingual and bicultural;
  • If the language teacher is bicultural to some extent in the culture of the students, then everyday teaching decisions can be more culturally appropriate.

In case studies, Japanese children who had lived abroad for several years were rusty or appeared to forget their native language, yet it was reactivated when they returned to Japan, where they were observed to be fully bilingual Childs, 2006. There was another case study of a three-year-old Japanese boy in Toronto who was exposed to Japanese at home and English at school.

He would speak English to the teacher and switch to Japanese when he turned to his mother Ritchie, 2006showing that he was a balanced bilingual.

These examples show what is possible when two languages are started at an early age, and the language acquisition capacity that all children have. Sufficient input and interaction in each language just needs to be maintained and developed in daily life.

Types of Language Acquisition To connect bilingualism with language acquisition more precisely, consider the above chart of types of language acquisition.

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In terms of the levels of bilingualism illustrated in the first chart, this second chart is about the individual level of language development. In the title of this chart, acquisition refers in the broadest sense to internalized contents and patterns that form an individual's linguistic repertoire. The italicized terms in the subtitles of the types refer more specifically to the distinction between acquisition and learning introduced in the previous section.

Each of the four types of language acquisition will next be discussed briefly in connection with bilingualism and applied to language teaching. First or native acquisition of one language refers to natural acquisition from regular interactions in a language used by parents, siblings, playmates, and others close to the family.

So what is thought of as native-speaking pronunciation, even for monolinguals, is actually achieved completely around age eight. For the purposes of this article, knowledge of L1 acquisition informs language teaching by encouraging approaches that are natural in ways such as the order of acquisition of grammatical functions and skills, with listening first and most fundamental.

Second-Language Acquisition— A Process Parallel to Acculturation?

Visible objects, illustrations, gestures, and clear contexts of conversation scaffold the acquisition of new language by making what is heard understandable.

Knowledge of L1 acquisition also points to the need for language teaching approaches that are natural in terms of authentic communication, with passive viewing of media ineffective compared to interaction with people in meaningful situations.

Infants or learners also have to speak, to hear their own voice and to get feedback, in order to make adjustments in their pronunciation and usage toward a target model, by engaging in authentic conversations. What infants do naturally could serve just as well as advice for second or foreign language learning.

Another type is second or foreign language learning, generally involving formal education in school after early childhood or informal self-study. L2 learning is what people usually have in mind as the receiving end or counterpart of language teaching, yet what is ultimately acquired is not the same as what is taught. Individuals build their own language systems largely subconsciously with the language they acquire and learn according to their own unique developmental path.

In terms of types of bilingualism, L2 learning is consecutive or sequential, with L2 started after acquisition of a native language. L2 education in most of the world tends to be ineffective, if the goal is for students to become bilingual.

It constitutes a weak form of bilingual education Baker, 2006, pp. This article shows some ways that L2 education could be more effective by applying findings from the field of bilingualism.

  1. The acquisition of languages after childhood still works effectively by natural acquisition, with listening essential, in addition to deliberate learning.
  2. A more important distinction for bilingualism, utilized in the chart below, is sometimes drawn between learning and acquisition.
  3. Bilingualism clarifies the different domains and purposes affecting language choice and use. For the purposes of this article, knowledge of L1 acquisition informs language teaching by encouraging approaches that are natural in ways such as the order of acquisition of grammatical functions and skills, with listening first and most fundamental.
  4. For language teaching it is also informative that integrative motivation tends to result in more effective L2 acquisition. Besides active or receptive bilingualism, another type of bilingualism is defined by when the two languages are started.
  5. By mixing the two languages at certain times, they can lighten the cognitive load on students while modeling the goal of bilingual functioning.

First and second language acquisition were also discussed in the previous section. The main purpose of this chart is to expand the usual parameters to cover a more complete range of possible scenarios, characteristics of language acquisition, and applications to language teaching.

The focus of this paper is on how bilingualism can inform language acquisition and teaching.

  • Generally, to gain native-like fluency, the earlier children start, the better;
  • Bilingualism clarifies the societal context of language education, cultural attitudes regarding the value of languages, and unstated government policies, so language teachers can adjust their expectations and navigate educational institutions in the host society.

A third type is multilingual learning, which is qualitatively similar to L2 learning in that languages are generally learned one after another. But because of the cognitive skills sharpened in learning L2, L3 becomes easier to learn than L2 was, and so on with further languages. This third type also includes multilingual acquisition, which will be better understood after discussing the fourth type, bilingual acquisition. Multilingual acquisition from early childhood tends to be rare except where communities are multilingual, as a child would need regular exposure to three or more languages in daily life.