Advocate for Languages!
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Advocate for Languages!
Collection of articles that discuss the cognitive and social benefits of learning a second/foreign language and the preferred approaches to teaching/learning.
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Language lovers of all ages honoured in national competition

Language lovers of all ages honoured in national competition | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
The winners of the third annual SBS National Languages Competition have been announced. Here they share their passion for learning another tongue.

Mandi Wicks the Director of SBS’s Audio and Language Content said the competition received 4,000 entries from around the country, representing 80 different languages.

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FSI's Experience with Language Learning

FSI's Experience with Language Learning | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

The Foreign Service Institute's School of Language Studies (SLS) offers instruction in over 65 languages, with course length and curricula varying to accommodate a range of language proficiencies, from basic to advanced. The following language learning timelines reflect 70 years of experience in teaching languages to U.S. diplomats, and illustrate the time usually required for a student to reach “Professional Working Proficiency” in the language, or a score of “Speaking-3/Reading-3” on the Interagency Language Roundtable scale. These timelines are based on what FSI has observed as the average length of time for a student to achieve proficiency, though the actual time can vary based on a number of factors, including the language learner's natural ability, prior linguistic experience, and time spent in the classroom.

Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

Really interesting list of languages and timelines required by the average learner as determined by US Foreign Service (and huge questions around current allocation of hours per week). This aligns somewhat with the ADF extra language allowance (3 levels), although there are some discrepancies eg German and Indonesian. Check out this other site and show to your students to promote language learning beyond the compulsory years: http://www.defence.gov.au/PayAndConditions/ADF/Chapter-4/Part-3/Div-1.asp

 

 

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K12 curriculum roundup: More than words

K12 curriculum roundup: More than words | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Today’s most progressive language instruction covers more than speech. Educators now work to build students’ fluency in the culture behind the words.

Global competency, also called “interculturality,” has emerged as a priority in districts seeking to develop students’ understanding of both their own and other cultures, says Jacqueline Van Houten, world language instructional lead for Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky.

“Kids have opportunities that they’ve never had before to communicate online or in person,” Van Houten says.
Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

This article discusses the US context but important messages here for all language educators. In Australia, we have had a 'curriculum roundup' and fortunately in WA, policy focuses on primary years. However, we still have a long way to go in terms of interculturality - deep understanding of it, how to foster it and what it really looks like in the language learning classroom (and beyond). Click the title to read the full article.

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Sectors looking for bilingual and culturally-aware workers

Sectors looking for bilingual and culturally-aware workers | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

WORKERS who can speak a second language or have experience with other cultures should highlight this on their resume as it can give them an edge in many sectors.

Jobs that require human understanding, such as social work, customer service, and hospitality, or that deal with technical jargon, such as healthcare or law, can benefit greatly from workers with these skills.

In many parts of Australia, demographics are becoming increasingly diverse so workers are required to follow suit.

The 2016 Census reveals a third of the population was born outside of Australia and while England and New Zealand – both with very similar cultures to Australia – make up the largest proportion of this group, the proportion of those born in China and India in particular is growing.

There were more than 300 different languages spoken in Australian homes in 2016 and one in five Australians spoke a language other than English at home.

Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

Intercultural competencies are crucial, and especially in the jobs that require human interaction and will not be threatened by automation in the future. Intercultural skills are also transferable: someone who has learnt an additional language will be more skilled and compassionate when communicating with a less than proficient speaker/patient/customer, even if they can't speak the other language.  A great article, although the quote “We have families that say to us ‘Can you not speak in our native language and instruct our child in English?’ is worrying. I would encourage a translanguaging attitude in the education sector, rather than an 'English only' approach. Click on the title for the full article.

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'Lost opportunity' as NSW students give up language study in Year 6

'Lost opportunity' as NSW students give up language study in Year 6 | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
"School principals and senior staff and parents all need to understand much better the cognitive and personal benefits of language learning, benefits to literacy, to divergent thinking and intercultural understanding," Dr Moloney said.

"There needs to be more public conversation about this. There is an argument that we should have compulsory language programs in all primary schools, like in Victoria, and also in years 7 to 10."
Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

WA is now in first year of implementing its new policy which will see Languages compulsory from Yr3-8 by 2023. All students should be encouraged to fully develop their home languages by engaging with the many local community language schools. Yes schools should make allowances for small classes to run. We all know the benefits of language learning and positive impact on literacy development, intercultural skills etc... Click on the title to read the full article.

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Meet One Family That Speaks Greek, Swedish And English At Home | Here & Now

Meet One Family That Speaks Greek, Swedish And English At Home | Here & Now | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Erik Anderlind said teaching their children to be multilingual came naturally because he is from Sweden and his wife is from Greece.

"It's very important to maintain the language and so, we heard somewhere that speaking around five hours per week is a good way of maintaining the language," he said. "If you speak a lot less, then you tend to forget."

And it helps that there are other parents to bounce ideas off of. Erik Anderlin said about 20 to 30 other families at the Newton school his daughter attends are also teaching their children a language in addition to English.

"It's very important for kids to learn a language because I see it as a gateway to learning a culture better — understanding people much deeper than you can if you're just talking to someone in English," he said.

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Deaf heart - Earshot - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Deaf heart - Earshot - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Jodee Mundy is the only person in her family who can hear. Ever since she was little, she has moved between the Deaf community and mainstream society, feeling a little out of place in both.
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Language-learning apps don't capture how long it takes to actually learn a language - ABC News

Language-learning apps don't capture how long it takes to actually learn a language - ABC News | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
According to the ads for some language learning apps, you can have a conversation in a new language in three weeks. But the time it takes to learn a language depends on what you're using it for, writes Ingrid Piller.
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Multilingualism must be celebrated as a resource, not a problem

Multilingualism must be celebrated as a resource, not a problem | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Part of South Africa’s challenge is that language, and in particular multilingualism, is generally seen as a problem rather than as a rich resource. Several other African countries view their indigenous languages as resources: Kiswahili in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and Afan-Oromo in Ethiopia are all good examples of this. And some small corners of South Africa are getting it right; isiXhosa is used to teach maths and science in the Cofimvaba district of the Eastern Cape province.
Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

South African context but many similarities with Australia.

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Cultural heritage is a child's right, so let's celebrate International Mother Language Day - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Cultural heritage is a child's right, so let's celebrate International Mother Language Day - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Kids of migrants and Indigenous people have a right to speak, grow up with, and celebrate their own heritage languages, wherever they reside. On International Mother Language Day, let's celebrate that right and the benefits it brings to us all.

Click the title for the full fabulous article.

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Power of language

Power of language | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
The greatest harm we are doing to our people, at least in my view, is that by not respecting their languages we insult their authentic beings; their identity as members of linguistic groups and carriers of tradition. The languages of our people become marks of shame which they cannot use in formal settings. They are punished when they speak them in school and, of course, they are shut out of jobs if they carry the accent of their mother-tongue
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Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education brochure

Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education brochure | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

Click on the title for the link to the brochure.

Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

Click the title for access to a great brochure about the importance of mother tongue maintenance and role in education. Despite all the research that supports children continuing to speak and develop their first language, I occasionally come across educators who discourage the use of a language other than English in school. "To forbid learners from using their first language is to deprive them of the greatest tool they have" (He, 2012)

 

21st February 2018 is International Mother Language Day.

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Supporting language development in the early years

Supporting language development in the early years | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

Language fulfils animportant function: language and culture are inseparable expressions of each other. Encouraging parents whose first language is not English to speak that language consistently with their child gives their child many advantages: they will become bilingual, they will learn about the culture embedded in that language by sharing with family and friends, and their ability for language learning will be stronger, thus helping them learn English more easily at play school or school, according to Dr Priscilla Clarke.

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Why are Australians linguistically lost? | Pursuit by The University of Melbourne

Why are Australians linguistically lost? | Pursuit by The University of Melbourne | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

Formal teaching of English grammar was taken off the Australian curriculum in the 60s; but it's back and University of Melbourne experts say it's a great thing.

Fifty years ago, about 40 per cent of all secondary school students in Australia studied a second language into their final year of school. Today, that number is closer to 10 per cent.

While the benefits of learning a second language are wide-ranging and well documented, Australia is falling behind other OECD countries in this area.

According to Professor Hajek, learning the grammar of a second language has often been harder for Australian students to grasp as they have very little or no explicit knowledge of English grammar from their primary or secondary education. And a number of studies support this, connecting first language metalinguistic ability with second language proficiency.

Teaching beginner second-language classes to University students who have no prior metalinguistic knowledge, is a bit like teaching two languages at once; the new language (like Italian, for example), and the metalanguage of their mother tongue.

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The future of English as a global lingua franca - Big Ideas - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The future of English as a global lingua franca - Big Ideas - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Brexit will likely strengthen the position of English as Europe’s lingua franca and at the same time de-stabilize the status of standard English.
Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

A fascinating discussion. Challenge educators and systems to acknowledge that language is everything, and prompt them to "notice it, rather than see through it".

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BBC - Future - What is the best age to learn a language?

BBC - Future - What is the best age to learn a language? | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Broadly speaking, different life stages give us different advantages in language learning. As babies, we have a better ear for different sounds; as toddlers, we can pick up native accents with astonishing speed. As adults, we have longer attention spans and crucial skills like literacy that allow us to continually expand our vocabulary, even in our own language.

And a wealth of factors beyond ageing – like social circumstances, teaching methods, and even love and friendship – can affect how many languages we speak and how well.
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The benefits of a bilingual brain in the modern world

The benefits of a bilingual brain in the modern world | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
Should we raise our children to be multilingual or not?

As we have seen in this short summary, research on multilingualism is very important for advancing our understanding of brain development and functions.

Despite scientific evidence that learning two or more languages is not "harmful", occasionally concerned parents and teachers are still asking whether they should raise their children multilingual.

My answer is an unconditional yes.
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Americans are losing out because so few speak a second language

Americans are losing out because so few speak a second language | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
The United States may be the single most powerful nation in the world militarily, and remains a global economic giant, but we have seen repeatedly that our influence is limited. In part, we are constrained by our inadequate understanding of other nations and peoples, and by our inability to communicate effectively with them. It is therefore disturbing, and evidence of a dangerous myopia, that we continue to neglect training and education in languages other than English. In 1979, I was a member of the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies, which found that “Americans’ incompetence in foreign languages is nothing short of scandalous.
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Rewriting the rules of language learning: Translanguaging

Rewriting the rules of language learning: Translanguaging | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
In our multicultural world, identities build on one another. A person can be born in one country but call many countries home, in the same way that they can celebrate the traditions of their home culture whilst also taking part in those of others. Growing up internationally is an exceptional experience that influences every child’s identity in a unique way.

It is a challenge but also an enormous learning opportunity. The multicultural mind-set that can be gained by learning how others communicate is something that enriches expat children’s time at school, as well as their view of themselves and the world.
What is translanguaging?

One important way to incorporate this goal into day-to-day teaching and learning is through translanguaging. This is a model of language learning which allows the student to grow their school language skills whilst at the same time accessing, developing and making connections with their mother tongue or home language.

It is a mindset that goes beyond the language classroom, integrating language learning with all school subjects and encouraging students to access their multilingual abilities to express themselves throughout their school day.
Kate Reitzenstein's insight:

What are the attitudes towards translanguaing at your school? This is an excellent article that clearly puts the case forward for why we need to change our mindset about language and learning.

I am really looking forward to an upcoming conference on 19-20 May at Curtin University which will focus on translanguaging in Aboriginal contexts: http://news.curtin.edu.au/events/translanguaging/

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Maria Fernanda Marín Gutiérrez's curator insight, August 1, 2018 4:11 PM
As translanguaging is my line of interest, it was very useful to read this kind of articles. "Rewriting the rules of language learning" highlight the importance and innovation of translanguaging since it allows the use of both the first and the second language in the classroom, what lead students to feel confortable in their classes. Also, this model gives them more opportunities to have a great experience while learning due to the few limitatios they can find when they need to produce.  
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Grammar gripes: why do we love to complain about language? | Books | The Guardian

Grammar gripes: why do we love to complain about language? | Books | The Guardian | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

Now that every English speaker in the world can talk to every other English speaker in the world, the virus is mutating vociferously. The modern grievance airer must keep pace. So I have compiled a list of changes for which to watch out in 2018.Hate teams ‘versing’ each other or ‘because life’? Technology and jargon are changing language whether we like it or not

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Commentary: The benefits of bilingualism go beyond knowing two languages

Commentary: The benefits of bilingualism go beyond knowing two languages | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

Mastering a second language improves your functioning in ways not commonly discussed, says a language expert from NUS.

 

Researchers in Montreal, Canada have recently discovered that bilingual children befriend others more democratically, resisting some of the “just-like-me” social preferences often evident in children.

Recent research from the National University of Singapore shows that bilingual children demonstrate fewer racial biases than monolingual children. Bilingualism therefore opens up a child’s social world and unlocks early potential for building social connections.


Read more at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/commentary-bilingualism-mother-tongue-language-benefits-9984098
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Words can change the world: how language learning deepens connection | Louka Parry | TEDxAdelaide - YouTube

Why learn another language? Words provide us with the ability for connection, empathy and perspective-taking. And when you learn multiple languages you improve your brain, you accelerate your capacity to learn, and you become a better communicator. Vitally, you are also able to step into the world of another human being. To truly understand them and speak to their heart. The question isn’t why should you learn a language, it’s why wouldn’t you.
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International Mother Language Day 21 February

International Mother Language Day 21 February | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world's rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost. (Click the title for the full article)

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‘Multilingualism is an enrichment, not a deficit’: raising bilingual kids in Germany

‘Multilingualism is an enrichment, not a deficit’: raising bilingual kids in Germany | Advocate for Languages! | Scoop.it
There was a time when bilingualism was regarded suspiciously. But experts point out far more benefits than disadvantages for children raised with more than one language.
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