Teaching for Transfer Adapted from workshop presented by Rae Si’ilata Tamaki Tu Pakari 2 September 2011 “Language is central to our individual and group identity, being the principle medium by which knowledge, ideas, and cultural values are transmitted.” Waite, (1992: 9) “Aoteareo: Speaking for ourselves” Draw a picture of your perception of how a monolingual’s brain and language system operates. Draw a picture of your perception of how a bilingual’s brain and two language systems operate. Waite, (1992: 9) “Aoteareo: Speaking for ourselves” Old Balance Theory Alternative naïve picture of two language balloons inside head. Monolinguals perceived as having one well filled balloon. Bilinguals perceived as having two less filled balloons. As L2 is pumped higher, L1 diminishes in size leading to confusion, frustration and failure. Old Balance Theory No links between compartments. Tried to reduce L1 balloon/ space to provide space for L2. Saw bilingualism as a problem. Led to subtractive approach to education: English medium educators believed they needed to replace students’ first languages (often colonised or minority languages) with a second or dominant language (usually English). Examples: Te Reo Maori, Pasifika languages, Welsh, Gaelic, Irish. Modern View The brain has only one central cognitive and language processing system. All languages enrich concept development. L1 builds a rich conceptual system. Ideas learnt in one language can be transferred to the other language. Bilingualism seen as an advantage especially in academic development. Being Bilingual & Biliterate Balanced Bilingualism / Biliteracy Unbalanced Bilingualism / biliteracy Involves becoming proficient in both languages and literacies. Both languages are adequate for the different purposes for which they are needed. One language is dominant over the other which is not adequate to: - raise children or -use for learning. Providing, of course, teachers of bilingual learners know what they are doing. Professional knowledge is essential. 7 Interdependence of the languages Cummins (1996, pp. 110-111) posits a common underlying proficiency (CUP) model in which literacy related aspects of a bilingual’s proficiency in L1 and L2 are seen as common or interdependent across languages. 8 Interdependence across languages The interdependence hypothesis was formally expressed as follows (Cummins, 1981): To the extent that instruction in L1 is effective in promoting proficiency in L1, transfer of this proficiency to L2 will occur provided: There is adequate exposure to L1 (either in school or environment) and adequate motivation to learn L2 There is an underlying cognitive/academic proficiency that is common across the two languages. 9 9 The Iceberg Analogy 10 11 11 Iceberg Analogy Common underlying proficiency model Two languages visibly different in outward conversation however they both operate through the same central processing system or ‘think tank’. 12 12 Implications of Iceberg Analogy - CUP If the individual is literate in L1 then skills are transferrable to L2 The brain has the capacity to store multiple languages Information processing skills and educational achievement may be developed through two languages as well as through one. The student’s school language must be sufficiently developed to process the cognitive challenges of the classroom. Speaking, listening, reading or writing in L1 or L2 helps develops the whole cognitive system. When one or both languages are not fully functional cognitive or academic performance may be impacted. 13 Research suggests “that academic and linguistic skills in a minority language transfer relatively easily to the second language. Simply stated, a child who learns to read in Spanish at home, or in school, does not have to start from the beginning when learning to read in English”. (Baker, 2006, p. 330) “Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education” What the research says about teaching for transfer If biliteracy is encouraged, literacy skills in a minority language appear to transfer to the second language (if using a similar writing system). While the vocabulary, grammar, and orthography may be different, generalisable skills in decoding and reading strategies may easily transfer from first language literacy to second language literacy. (Baker, 2006, p. 330) “Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education” What the research says about teaching for transfer Concepts and strategies easily transfer from first language to second language literacy, e.g. scanning, skimming, contextual guessing of words, skipping unknown words, tolerating ambiguity, reading for meaning, making inferences, monitoring, recognising the structure of text, using previous learning, using background knowledge about the text. Self-confidence in being literate can also transfer (Cummins, 2008). (Baker, 2006, p. 330) “Foundations of Bilingualism and BICS AND CALP (Cummins, 1994) BICS = basic interpersonal communication skills CALP = cognitive academic language proficiency BICS AND CALP (Cummins, 1994) How long to acquire these? BICS: 2-3 years CALP: 5-7 years The First Language All students have a first language or languages Students who are able to use their cultural and linguistic capital at school (including their first language) are automatically advantaged over those who are not able to The most effective way for students to learn a second language & to succeed academically is when the first language is included directly in the teaching and learning process and particularly when it is used as a medium of instruction for 50% of the time (May 2009). Research Research supports this position unequivocally: Two major longititudinal studies in USA where L1 was significant part of instruction resulted in bilingual students outperforming other students in relation to grade age norm acheivements in English as well as their L1 (Thomas & Collier, 2002; Ramirez et al., 1991, 1992) Language Learning in Maori Medium Contexts • Teachers need professional content knowledge in bilingualism, Bilingual /Immersion Education theory, research and pedagogy. • Bilingual/ Immersion Education is a major professional field with its own professional knowledge and expertise, similar to other curriculum areas (Baker, 2000; 2006; Cummins, 1981). • While schools would not consider employing teachers who know little about Maths, many currently employ teachers to run programmes who know little about bilingualism and Bilingual /Immersion Education. • May, Hill and Tiakiwai, (2004) argue that increasing Māori Medium Education (MME) educators’ access to such professional development, needs to be an urgent priority in order to successfully operate, review and develop high quality programmes. • International research in bilingual education can have relevance for Māori medium settings in New Zealand. Key messages from research: It is possible to learn to read and write in school to high levels in two languages by year 8 This high level of literacy/biliteracy in two languages is what drives academic achievement at school • Biliteracy or being able to work and move easily in two languages is a very different skill from having literacy in any one language • Learning to be biliterate is therefore a very different process from learning to be literate in any one language • Oral language can be caught but biliteracy must be taught 22 Language Learning in Different Contexts “There is now extensive experience of bilingual education in a number of countries, including Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Māori in New Zealand, which makes bilingual educational provision much easier than in the past. However, although bilingual New Zealanders make up close to 20% of the population, there is a tendency for bilingualism to be associated with minority, marginal and outsider status.” (Franken & McComish, 2003, p.17) Importance of Linking to Students’ Worldview Our experiences to date are the pegs on which we hang new information. If I can’t attach new information to old conceptual knowledge then I can’t learn it. It’s as simple as that. When all my pegs are unrecognised, unvalued, unmentioned; by implication my past experiences are worthless and so am I. How can I learn at school? And why would I? An inclusive curriculum means including the kids we teach in the books we choose, the stories we tell, the classroom environment and the content we select. Even more important is the way we teach: the interaction between every teacher and every student. Lingo Video, Australia language proficiency, their experiential background. What do you know about your students' language skills? What do you know about their prior knowledge? How will you find out this information? How will it affect your planning? How will you utilise their total language resource in your programme? Thinking About Transfer in Your Own Context Talk with the Reo Maori kaiako and think together about how you might implement ideas around teaching for transfer across languages: the two languages are used strategically to build on conceptual/language and literacy knowledges in either reo. A few possible suggestions: Could some topics be taught at the same time? E.g. Maui topic in Te Reo: How could that knowledge be tapped into for Te Reo Pakeha? E.g. Change text purposes/types / Translanguaging: put in one language and output in another? Inquiry question: Different inquiry questions around the same topic or theme? Language functions? Teaching same functions at same time? Listening/speaking/writing purposes linked?