Posts Tagged children
A particular challenge in assessment of bilingual children is to distinguish between differences in their language performance due to not knowing English and differences (or low scores) due to having language impairment or learning disabilities. I’ve been doing research in dynamic assessment for a number of years to explore whether this is an option for children from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds. Two of my research studies focused on evaluation of children’s naming skills and included bilingual children in a Head Start program: Peña, Quinn, & Iglesias (1992) and Peña, Iglesias, & Lidz (2001).
There’s a very nice opinion piece in the NY Times on how to teach children who don’t speak English as a first language. Various perspectives are represented and these are based on available data. While I found the different viewpoint interesting and fact-based, the comments were less so. Comments for the most part were based on people’s own experiences and arm-chair analysis. Not that ones own experiences don’t count. But, an experience is only an n of one. We need facts and careful study based on larger numbers in order to develop policy and guidelines. For children in the process of learning a second language there are a number of factors that impact school success so that a one-size-fits all is probably not feasible. So, what is it we do know?
Okay, I confess I didn’t really attend the National Association for Bilingual Education last week in Austin. Actually, I didn’t even realize it was in Austin till a couple of colleagues e-mailed me to ask if I was going. I’ve been so immersed in my own research, conference travel, and trying to complete a couple of papers I’ve been sitting on that it just didn’t make it on my radar. But, I did hang out in hotel lobbies and hotel bars after sessions to meet up with people who DID attend. In fact, I had a drink with Alba Ortiz (also at UT Austin) whom I hadn’t seen in a while. Why do we not take the time to see the people with whom we have common interests and who are just a few blocks away more regularly?
Bilingual children in the US grow up under many different circumstances. Many bilingual children are early sequential bilinguals who use one language at home and English at school. Some are simultaneous bilinguals who grow up using both languages. Read the rest of this entry »