Archive for February, 2010

Bilingual Before Birth

I thought this was a cool study reported by Discovery News and AFP last week. I haven’t been able to find the original study to read– or at least to link to the abstract, but it’s by Janet Werker and colleagues and it appears in Psychological Science. Basically, they found that babies who had been exposed to two languages in utero were sensitive to those two languages after birth. In contrast, babies who’d only heard one language were only sensitive to that language. Read the rest of this entry »

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The book I wish I’d written

François Grosjean has an upcoming book called Bilingual: Life and Reality (Harvard Press). While I haven’t yet read it, I am looking forward to doing so. It’s written for the public, but I can also see using this book for an undergraduate course in bilingualism. The focus is on what’s true and what are myths about bilingualism. And it brings together educational, political, and practical issues around bilingualism. It’s based in theory and provides real-life examples. It sounds like it will be a wonderful book.

There are so many issues around bilingualism and what it is and isn’t. Even though about half of the world is bilingual there are many misconceptions about what it is and what it means to be bilingual. In the U.S. there are persistent myths about whether children will be confused by bilingualism or whether children can become delayed. There are also numerous stereotypes that play into people’s fears about speaking languages other than English. I often joke that in the U.S. school system we first eradicate children’s home languages and then in High School we expect kids to learn a second language in 5 hours a week or less. It just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Grosjean has also written an article addressed to parents about bilingualism. It’s available here in English and here in French.

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Dynamic Assessment Webinar

I’m doing a webinar. What’s that you ask? Well, I’m not totally sure, but I’m doing one anyway. In theory though, you view PowerPoint on your computer and get on the telephone to listen to the talk. It’s done in real-time and I think you can ask questions.

Anyway, the webinar is sponsored by Second Language & Literacy Connection. My webinar will be on Feb 23rd focusing on dynamic assessment of narratives. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Dynamic Assessment Webinar.

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