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Policy and practice in the education of bilingual children - Essay Example

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English as an Additional Language as Observed in a School Language is a bridge that connects people’s understandings. In order to understand each other, people must be able to share one common language. In our increasingly globalized culture, more and more people from different nationalities come together, bringing with them influences of their cultures including their mother language…
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Policy and practice in the education of bilingual children
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Download file to see previous pages Educators must observe the following key principles in teaching foreign children. First, bilingualism is an asset instead of a liability for children who know more than one other language other than their mother tongue or primary language. Baker (2006) contends that evidence supports that there are cognitive and performance advantages in being bilingual over being monolingual. Another principle to be remembered by educators is that language learners should be kept cognitively challenged with the continuous provision of linguistic and contextual support. Lastly, the acquisition of another language should go hand in hand with the student’s cognitive and academic development within the same school environment and the student would not need outside support. This implies that the school curriculum is already embedded with these language learning principles. School Observation One school was observed regarding its adherence to the policies set by the “Rationale for Planning for Children Learning English as an Additional Language” document as well as analyse its practices with theories on bilingual education. The school looked like a typical one when one enters it. No welcome procedures were observed nor signs around the school seen in relation to the cultural composition or languages of the students or teachers. However, towards the entrance of the main building, a bulletin board on Black History Month was on display. This was the only piece of evidence in the campus that showed recognition of another culture. As one enters the Year 1 Key Stage 1 classroom, the same generic ambience was observed. Children were grouped into various groups according to their ability levels. On the wall near the teacher’s desk is a list of pupils’ literacy levels indicated with pictures of fruits. For example, the low ability group belonged to the grape group. The middle ability group belonged to the banana group and the high ability group belonged to the apple group. The same was done with numeracy levels. However, these were represented by shapes. For example, the low ability levels for numeracy belonged to the triangle group, the middle ability level in the square group and the high ability level in the circle group. These groupings were for the mainstream students. The EAL learners and SEN learners belonged to another group. A special corner for learning another language featured pictures of different body parts with words in Spanish. For example, a picture of eyes with the Spanish word eyes, “Ojos” underneath. Also, there were words displayed in Spanish and translated in English such as “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”, “Hello”, “Goodbye” and so forth. However, there were no EAL books nor books with any other language except English seen in the book corner. Other adornments on the walls include different pictures of children’s actions with the words indicating the actions such as good listening, eyes looking, lips closed, sitting with their legs crossed. These pictures represented good behaviour as indicated with a thumbs-up picture. For EAL students, such visual aids are graphic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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