Re: Fw: Is all-English best?
- Subject: Re: Fw: Is all-English best?
- From: George Cunningham <gkcunn01@BELLSOUTH.NET>
- Date: Tue, 19 Nov 2002 12:12:44 -0500
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Cristina, Karen, and others
Karen asked for the source for my assertion that there was opposition to dual language immersion programs among some bilingual teachers. It is in an article in the Harvard Educational Review (volume 67, no. 3, Fall 1997) titled "Dual-language immersion programs: A cautionary note concerning the education of language -minority students" by Guadalupe Valdes. HER requires that you be a subscriber before you can have access to back issues. We are talking HER so we are starting out with a left of center perspective and this particular article is written from a critical pedagogy perspective.
She points out that, superficially, dual language seems to have a lot of advantages, but she goes on to point out the disadvantages. Although such programs seem to benefit both middle class students who spoke only English and Mexican-American students who spoke primarily Spanish, inequalities can creep in. These are the students on which she focuses. She feels that these latter students may be made to feel inferior in this setting.
She also explains how bilingual teachers can be threatened by dual language programs. She describes a sixty-year old bilingual teacher of Mexican origin named Maria who has been involved with many different programs and campaigns to benefit Mexican-American students. She is opposed to dual language programs. Valdes explains why:
"For Maria, what is at issue here is not an educational approach but intergroup relations, and the place of the powerful and powerless in the wider society. In her view, the Spanish language is a resource that has served the community well. It has served as a shared treasure, as a significant part of a threatened heritage, and as a secret language. Many times, Spanish has also serve to bring the community together, to delineate borders, and as a entry into work domain where bilingual skills were needed. She worries about giving it away casually to the children of the powerful."
Valdes summarizes one of her concerns about dual language immersion as follows:
"An actualization of the above discussion could lead us to recall that, in this country, when all else failed, skills in two languages have opened doors for members of minority groups. Being bilingual has given members of the Mexican American community, for example, access to certain jobs for which language skills were important. Taken to its logical conclusion, if dual-language immersion programs are successful, when there are large numbers of majority persons who are also bilingual, this special advantage will be lost."
University of Louisville
----- Original Message -----
From: Cristina Sanchez-Lopez
Sent: Monday, November 18, 2002 9:56 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Is all-English best?
George K. Cunningham wrote:
"It worked well but foundered under pressure from bilingual teachers who feared
competition from too many bilingual speakers. The were particularly opposed
to Anglos learning Spanish for this reason."
Dual Language programs ( or two-way immersion programs) are difficult to keep going, but NOT because bilingual teachers feel threatened. I don't know where you get this information? The biggest factors in maintaining Dual language programs are: convincing the Anglo population (community)to buy into the program and stay with it, and continuity in a school's administration and central office. I work closely with schools (that have bilingual, ESL, Dual Language or no programs at all) on how to support children from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds.
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