NABE Weekly eNews
Apr. 24, 2014

ELL students neglected in school turnaround efforts
THE Journal
A new evaluation of School Improvement Grant recipients shows that even in schools with high percentages of English language learners, ELL students were poorly represented in strategic reform efforts. The report — Study of School Turnaround: A Focused Look at Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants That Have Large Percentages of English Language Learner Students (issued by the United States Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences) — looked at 11 schools that participated in the SIG program over a three-year period (from 2010–2011 to 2012–2013) and evaluated the depth to which these schools addressed the needs of ELL students, using a point-based system.More

For Latino parents, bilingual classrooms aren't just about language
Right now, across the country, parents are in the midst of trying to get their children enrolled in bilingual classrooms for next September. The motivation is usually straightforward. Parents want their kids to learn a foreign language. The thinking is that a second language will bring significant cultural and economic advantages.More

Digital storytelling for cognitive processing in ELLs
By: Beth Crumpler
Telling stories accesses the cultural background and prior knowledge of English language learners and helps them learn to tell a narrative with which they self-identify. This includes telling stories or narratives through digital means, or digital storytelling. It transcends language, culture, age and socio-economics by engaging them in an appealing textual, visual and auditory display of information. Incorporating digital storytelling in the ESL classroom allows learners to tell narratives about their experiences and apply critical thinking and cognitive processes to new information. More

Finn: Being bilingual offers more benefits than disadvantages
Iowa State Daily
Children that learn a second language at an early age have many benefits over children who are monolingual. Countries all around the world such as China, Germany and many others begin to teach children a second language as soon as elementary school. Here in America, however, policy makers don't realize the benefits of learning a second language. They seem to have the mindset that if the rest of the world is speaking English than what need is there for Americans to learn anything else?More

English learners seek place in Fort Collins, Colo., culture
Bertha Castro knows that English is important to her family's success in Fort Collins — even if it's "very difficult" for her. Castro, 41, and her family have lived in Fort Collins for 14 years. Her native — and preferred — language is Spanish. But Castro's eldest daughter will move from a bilingual school to Poudre High School next year, and she knows being able to communicate in English with her daughter's teachers is important. "It's hard for me, but I practice all the time," Castro said. "It's pushing me forward because it's necessary now that I try."More

English language learners need help, not an inflexible state mandate
The Boston Globe
In 2002, when Massachusetts passed a ballot measure restricting bilingual education and mandating English-only immersion as the official policy for students with limited English, it substituted one inflexible, state-mandated approach for another. The hope was that most students placed in so-called sheltered immersion programs would learn English far faster — indeed, within a year. That presumption proved too optimistic in many cases. Now, lawmakers need to reconsider the immersion-only requirement and enact a policy aimed at producing the best academic results for students.More

Promise zones
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
A child's zip code should never determine her destiny; but today, the community she grows up in impacts her odds of graduating high school, her health outcomes, and her lifetime economic opportunities. For kids who don't get an equal start in life, the President is committed to partnering with local leaders to give them proven tools to rebuild and put people back to work. It will take a collaborative effort—between private business and federal, state and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; and striving kids and parents—to ensure that hard work leads to a decent living for every American in every community.More

How toddlers learn verbs: New insight
University of Liverpool via Science Daily
Parents can help toddlers' language skills by showing them a variety of examples of different actions, according to new research. Previous research has shown that verbs pose particular difficulties to toddlers as they refer to actions rather than objects, and actions are often different each time a child sees them.More

Long waiting list prompts bilingual school to grow
The Charlotte Observer
Charlotte, N.C., has the one of the largest populations of foreign-born citizens in the state, yet it lacks one of the most basic services needed for such families to succeed: an organized way for preschoolers to learn English before starting kindergarten. Currently, the city has one small nonprofit bilingual preschool and two others affiliated with Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter and St. Mark's Episcopal Church. Collectively, they hold about 150 students, with a waiting list quadruple that number and rising.More

English higher education faces enrollment slowdown
The New York Times
The credit ratings of English universities risk being damaged by a slowdown in their enrollment of full-time students from outside the European Union, according to a recent credit outlook paper published by the Moody's rating agency. The agency cited a recent report by the Higher Education Funding Council for England that said enrollments had stagnated for the past two years, following strong growth in previous years, raising fears that Britain might be losing out to rival international education providers in the United States, Australia and Canada.More

English learners seek place in Fort Collins, Colo., culture
Bertha Castro knows that English is important to her family's success in Fort Collins — even if it's "very difficult" for her. Castro, 41, and her family have lived in Fort Collins for 14 years. Her native — and preferred — language is Spanish.More

From second language learning to bilingualism in schools
Psychology Today
We are many who feel that education should help children and adolescents acquire a second or third language while retaining their first language. Education should also encourage the active use of those languages, if at all possible. More

Dual-language learning for all students is visionary
The Voice of Tucson
Being visionary didn't work for Arizona. Being reactionary was a bust, too. It's time to apply some hard-nosed realism to the fact that our schools are not serving a population of kids who are fast becoming the majority of K-12 students.More

Top 8 surprising reasons why you should learn a new language
Hutong School
Studies show that learning another language can increase brain power, according to Ellen Bialystok a psychologist at York University in Toronto; "Being bilingual has certain cognitive benefits and boosts the performance of the brain, especially one of the most important areas known as the executive control system." Researchers from University College London studied the brains of 105 people — 80 of whom were bilingual.More

The importance of dual language immersion programs
Anyone who felt the ice was thinning regarding the controversial nature of bilingualism education took it on the chin after the fallout from Coke's recent Super Bowl commercial featuring "America the Beautiful" sung in eight languages. Yeah, there are still plenty of myopic folks who simply believe, "Either speak English or leave."More

Students in Nebraska's two dual-language programs outperforming peers
Castellar Elementary in Omaha is a unique school. One of 10 dual-language schools in the district, students enrolled in the dual-language program are taught in both English and Spanish. The program operates on a 50/50 model. 50 percent of the students are Hispanic and 50 percent non-Hispanic. Also, the lessons are taught 50 percent in English, and 50 percent in Spanish. Omaha Public Schools implemented dual language classes 14 years ago, after district officials realized a particular demographic of students were failing to meet state academic standards. Not all students, but specifically English language learners — or ELL's.More

Our brains are hardwired for language
Northeastern University College of Science via Science Daily
People blog, they don't lbog, and they schmooze, not mshooze. But why is this? Why are human languages so constrained? Can such restrictions unveil the basis of the uniquely human capacity for language? New research shows the brains of individual speakers are sensitive to language universals. Syllables that are frequent across languages are recognized more readily than infrequent syllables. Simply put, this study shows that language universals are hardwired in the human brain.More