College of Foreign Languages, Zhejiang Normal University
MA in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics 2011-2012/2
Dr. Wu Benhu
Session 4 Bilingual Education
Berns, Margie and Keith Brown. 2010. Concise Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Elsevier. Bilingual Education by C. Baker 243-250; Bilingualism and Second Language Learning by T. K. Bhatia 413-419.
Simpson, James (ed.). 2011. The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics. London: Routledge. Chapter 16 Bilingual education. 229-242.
Q03 What is the relationship between the historical development of monolingualism and the present-day bilingual education? Gogolin (2011: 232)
It is important for us to be aware of the fact that the emergence of monolingualism met the needs of the historical development of modern society. Our present-day promotion of bilingual education should not ignore the social needs of the adoption of the common language with its appearance of monolingualism.
So the promotion of bilingual education should be considered in the context of the dominance of monolingualism because it is undesirable to promote bilingualism at the expense of weakening the dominance of the common language. Or bilingualism should be complementary to monolingualism rather than replacing it. We may discover that transitional bilingual education is adopted for this purpose:
Here, all the teaching takes place in the first language of the children in the beginning. The second (or majority) language is gradually introduced, at first in language as a subject only, then after some time also in other content areas. The aim of such models is to support the acquisition of the second (or majority) language and to prepare their transition to monolingual mainstream classes.
(Cummins 2003, cited in Gogolin 2011: 243)
Q04 What approach should be adopted in China’s English language teaching with the insight of the threshold hypothesis? Gogolin (2011: 236)
With the insight of the threshold hypothesis, we need to pay special attention to the psychological conditions of foreign language learning with three points highlighted as follows:
1. A minimum foundation of Chinese should be considered when Chinese children are required to learn English.
2. English language learning can be combined with Chinese language learning in elementary schools.
3. Transitional models can be adopted in English language teaching of China’s elementary schools, starting with a ‘more Chinese, less English’ beginning, and then continuing with a process of ‘less and less Chinese, more and more English’ transition in which elementary school students are learning both Chinese and English.
Q05 What can we learn from the following innovative approach to bilingual education? Gogolin (2011: 236)
We can try ‘Content and Language Integrated Learning’ by adding a component of English language learning in our course of Applied Linguistics with the following strategies in mind:
1. Focus on the content in reading as its dominant proportion of the learning process.
2. Shift the focus temporally to language learning when the comprehension is hindered with a language problem.
3. Return to content learning once the language problem is resolved.
Q06 What insight can we gain from the strong forms of bilingual education? Baker (2010: 243-247)
The 8 advantages of the strong models of bilingual education:
1. Bilingual education enables both languages to reach higher levels.
2. It ideally develops a more sensitive view of different cultures.
3. It frequently leads to biliteracy.
4. It increases curriculum achievements through content learning.
5. It enables students to share cognitive benefits.
6. It raises students’ self-esteem.
7. It helps students establish a more secure identity at various levels.
8. It helps students gain more economic advantages.
Q08 What are negative and positive effects of bilingualism? Bhatia (2010: 418)
We need to pay attention to both negative and positive effects of bilingualism:
1. Some negative effects of bilingualism
1) Exposing children to more than one language during their childhood may lead some of them to semi-bilingualism and confusion.
2) Crowding their brain with two or more languages may lead children to linguistic deficiency, both in competence and performance levels (semi-lingualism, stuttering, etc.).
3) Crowding their brain with two or more languages may cause a wide variety of cognitive and psychological impairments such as low intelligence, mental retardation, left-handedness, and even schizophrenia.
2. Some positive effects of bilingualism
1) Bilingual children can demonstrate more cognitive flexibility than monolingual children.
2) Bilingual children can perform better than monolingual childre in both verbal and non-verbal measures.
What activities in bilingual education can you benefit from?
Propose a learning or teaching activity derived from one of the bilingual education models and justify your proposal.
(You are required to present your course work as responses to the article “应用语言学：第04讲：Bilingual Education” in the category “应用语言学课程” of 吴本虎学友之园 – 博客生活 http://www.cnweblog.com/wubenhu/ This course work is required to be presented by 24:00, 14 March 2012.)
Readings for Session 5
Technology and language learning
Simpson, James (ed.). 2011. The Routledge Handbook of Applied Linguistics. London: Routledge. Chapter 14 Technology and language learning; Chapter 47 Multimodality; Chapter 42 Corpus linguistics.