Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Teaching Multilingual Children -Extended comments

      Extended Comments from Brigette's blog on Rodriguez and Collier

In Brigette’s blog she talks about the article from Virginia collierTeaching Multilingual Children, and the article from Richard Rodriguez, Aria. She points out how both discuss the issue of bilingual education, but stressing different perspectives: Rodriguez describes a very personal side of it- his one feeling with the experience of learning a new language with all the bumps and struggles that it brings along in one’s life. In his case, the process of becoming a “public success” it was very sad, scary and confusing as he became distant from his loved ones while he acquired a new language; he referred to this painful process as “loss of closeness”. He achieved his public individuality and moved away from the disadvantage child position he was in before, as he overcame the silent period and started to assimilate into public society, but something was missing and was sadly broken: his  private individuality, and the ties with his family and all the security that, at the time, it meant . Losing his essential identity shook up his whole life, the roles and the way he perceived his family. Rodriguez’s article make me think about what Bonny Norton referrers  to as subtractive bilingualism; Rodriguez learned English at the cost of losing his mother tongue, instead of developing his second language with no or little lost of his first language (additive bilingualism). English language learners need to adapt to the new culture without losing their identity or their mother tongue.

Brigette also comments on Collier’s article in which she examines the challenges bilingual teachers face. They should appreciate and validate all the background knowledge that ESL students bring to class. Brigette points out in her blog; the seven guidelines that Collier offers to help teachers better understand how to teach ESL students, effectively.   As a fourth language speaker myself, I totally agree with Collier when she says not to treat the ELL as deficient or having deficiencies: teachers need to understand what the process they are going through, be aware of the emotional and social factors which affect L2 learners, and consider all the variables that affect their learning process, as well-teachers need to become knowledgeable and be well qualified to teach ESL to be academically proficient-it is not enough to just speak English to teach English-
I agree with Brigette, that students need to be taught English to succeed in the American society, but as Delpit would agree, many children are learning English and forgetting their native language because it is the language of the “culture of power”.  Brigette connected Delpit and Collier, that seem to agree that “teacher should value and appreciate students’ own language and culture, and also agrees that students should be taught the values of the “culture of power” in order to be successful in society today.”  She also connected Collier with Finn, both see literacy as power: “…both feel as though the students not only need to be shown the importance of literacy, but need to be taught it in an empowering way, so they can achieve powerful literacy.” (Brigette, blog)

Virginia Collier                         Richard Rodriguez

1 comment:

  1. Marcia:
    I also agree that children need to be taught standard English in order to succeed in our society. However, I do not think that they should abandon their native language, either. There is room for both.