Archive for December 28th, 2009

Why do people react so negatively to the idea of dual-language programs?

In Austin, the school district is looking to start a dual-language program. If you read the comments in reaction to this you see a lot of mixed reactions. It seems that many people don’t (or don’t want to) understand the purpose of dual-language education. Or is it that they’re afraid of people who speak other languages?

What I find so surprising is that people would be threatened by the idea of using state and federal money to educate children in two languages (English and another language). The negative comments seem to indicate that some people believe that teaching in two languages will cause children to not learn English. But, that is simply not true. People all over the world speak two languages. English is a very common language all over the world. I don’t think there is any way that the language is threatened.

Dual-language programs do work. Children can and will become bilingual given input and opportunity to use the two languages. Knowing two languages can be a benefit educationally. Culturally, knowing more than one language can help you connect with people from other backgrounds and cultures. I think that knowing two languages can help children understand that there can be other ways of constructing words and sentences. Even one’s vocabulary can be enhanced by learning vocabulary in another language and translating to your own.

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Another Year

I started this blog a year ago on Christmas. We were in Wisconsin and everyone was sick. This year no one is sick and the one family accident we had turned out okay (though it could have been tragic– a helmet saved a life and we’re thankful for that, so wear those helmets!).

My dad died 3 years ago– I miss him. I’ve read that in Mexican tradition the third and final death is when you are no longer remembered. But, how can I forget? My parents are part of who I am– they are a part of me. My dad had qualities that I wish I had. I hope that some part rubbed off on me, but there we are different too. He was outgoing. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. I’m terrible at that, I’m most comfortable with people I know and have a terrible time talking to people I don’t know. But, I do manage to get through lectures and through talks at conferences. Read the rest of this entry »

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