Saturday, July 13, 2013

Language Development and Dual Language Learners

*It has meaning to them, allow it to have meaning to you*

In the Newsletter entitled “Ensuring all children start school ready to learn” it’s focus is on language development and dual language learners. Dual Language learns are students that speak more than one language.

I found this information very informative and contrary to what I thought as a teacher. “Researchers have found that babies have an innate capacity to learn two languages from birth, and that, contrary to what some believe, this early exposure to both languages does not cause confusion, or delay development in either language.”

“In fact, findings from a multi-state study show that Spanish-speaking preschoolers' reading and math scores were higher when they received more instruction in Spanish, especially when they attended high-quality programs. In the long term, programs that teach students in two languages have fewer high school dropouts, and those students outperform other English learners who are taught in English only.”

As an Early Childhood Educator I was more focused on helping the students understand the overall language in the classroom which was English. I never allowed the students to embrace their native language by also providing it in the classroom, but it wasn't because I didn't want to, it was because the only language that I spoke was English. So, that was all I could provide to them.

It was also understood that parents put their child (ren) in preschool so that they could have a better understanding of the English Language. It would have been a great opportunity for me to have learned a few words in their native language so that they would feel more connected to me as a teacher.

My suggestion to all of you is to do just that. As you strive to mainstream your dual speaking students in your classroom and engulf them in the English language. Take some time out to learn a few key words in their language so that they will feel more connected to you as their teacher. And even if you mispronounce a word, at least they know you cared enough to try.

"Conversations at the federal level about optimizing and increasing early learning investments provide an important opportunity for our states to find common ground on how to best meet the needs of DLLs ( Dual Language Learners) and prepare and support qualified teachers who serve them." 

Ms. Darla <3

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