[EDLING:198] Re: L2 in US Schools

Bernard Spolsky spolsb at MAIL.BIU.AC.IL
Fri May 14 10:15:49 UTC 2004

I was certainly impressed by the activity, but it is a very bureaucratic
public relations type site.  I continue to wonder if anyone has found a way
to change public beliefs. Or, obviously, the belief of teachers that it is
worth becoming FL teachers.  Our local director general had a simple answer:
surely any primary teacher can teach all the English that primary children
need!  Seriously, how might one go about establishing (or re-establishing)
the valuing of multilingualism in monolingual societies?

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-edling at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
[mailto:owner-edling at ccat.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Hudson
Sent: Friday, May 14, 2004 11:01 AM
To: edling at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Subject: [EDLING:197] Re: L2 in US Schools

Dear Bernard,
Thanks. I'm surprised it struck you that way. I don't know about attracting
and persuading since I've not looked at it from that point of view. You may
well be right. The main function is to report activity, of which as you say
there's quite a lot. All I can say is that FL have much higher profile now
than they did a few years ago, and that there are quite a lot more
resources for it and a clearer plan. The resources for FL are far less than
for literacy, and may not be enough to turn the situation round. The
planning is generally good. The main block is the supply of teachers, which
has very little hope of hitting the target of one FL teacher per primary
school by 2010.
         Best wishes,  Dick

At 04:04 14/05/2004, you wrote:
>I looked quickly at the site, and was impressed by it verbiage (and
>spelling mistakes).  There is plenty of activity.  But who will it
>attract?  Or convince? Bernard
>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-edling at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
>[mailto:owner-edling at ccat.sas.upenn.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Hudson
>Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2004 11:05 PM
>To: edling at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
>Subject: [EDLING:193] Re: L2 in US Schools
>Much the same debate has been going on for some time in the UK, because
>of similar problems in our education system. In fact, it's very easy to
>see that the situation has got worse in the last ten years - fewer
>16-year olds opting for languages in the last two years of school,
>fewer going on to university to study languages (with disastrous
>effects on language depts at university), and (therefore) fewer
>graduates training as language teachers, so fewer (and worse) language
>teachers in school, so fewer 16-year olds opting for languages .... But
>the government (whose head, incidentally, can speak fluent French) is
>trying hard to reverse the trend. There's quite a lot of information
>about what they're doing at http://www.dfes.gov.uk/languages/.
>          Incidentally, one interesting fact that's emerged from the
>various inquiries into the problem has been that the Republic of
>Ireland, which (of
>course) is also an English-speaking country, does not have the same
>problem. With a tenth of our population, they have the same number of
>school-leavers specialising in languages. (But more recently, I'm told, the
>rot has been setting in, which is disappointing.) So much for the argument
>that our national unconcern about foreign languages is the inevitable
>consequence of the dominance of English.
>          Dick Hudson
>At 19:07 13/05/2004, you wrote:
> >Well, although we don't have these expectations in the foreign
> >language classroom--the question is why (as B. Spolsky mentioned as well
on the
> >listserv).   Why is it seemingly unimportant for a country that has so
> >many immigrant populations to be fluent in those other languages?
> >Why are Spanish-English dual language programs so stigmatized?  Why
> >is multilingualism not seen as an asset in the hiring process (for
> >some it is--but not categorically)?  I would like to live to see the
> >day when we have a leader who is educated enough to respond in French
> >and then translate his response for the other reporters.  That'll be
> >the day.
> >
> >At AAAL, I was struck by one presentation in particular that began in
> >the speaker's mother tongue.  She mentioned how important it was to
> >align herself with her country and culture by beginning this way.
> >Although she had to present her paper in English--it was important
> >that she make the listeners aware of how this English presentation
> >affects how she is viewed within her own culture.  A growning,
> >"required" English fluency worldwide may be what is happening, but
> >that doesn't make it right.
> >
> >So we come back to how to really start changing these long-held
> >ideologies.  In a globalizing world--is it not better to make
> >relations more close by showing alliance through language learning
> >and fluency?
> >
> >-Maureen (Mo)
> >
> >"Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu> wrote:
> >I think Leo VanLier identifies some of the issues that are crucial
> >here. American linguistic culture just doesn't have the expectations
> >and values about "foreign" language learning that others, do.
> >
> >He says: d) as part of a successful education, everyone was expected
> >to succeed in language classes. [and] If there is one ingredient that
> >stands out in my mind it is EXPECTATIONS. It was simply expected that
> >an educated person spoke the three foreign languages....
> >
> >American linguistic culture doesn't have these expectations, and
> >constantly denigrates them. Did people notice what happened a while
> >back when a reporter at a press conference held by GWB asked the
> >French ambassador (foreign minister, whatever) a question in French?
> >GWB went ballistic, chewed out the reporter, castigated him, mocked
> >him, ridiculed him. Sure taught him a lesson!
> >
> >So much for the value of language learning, and using it
> >appropriately.
> >
> >H. Schiffman
> >
> >
> >Do you Yahoo!?
> >Yahoo! Movies -
> ><http://movies.yahoo.com/showtimes/movie?mid=1808405861>Buy advance
> >tickets for 'Shrek 2'
>Dick (Richard) Hudson, FBA
>Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics,
>University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
>020 7679 3152; fax 020 7383 4108; www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/home.htm

Dick (Richard) Hudson, FBA
Dept of Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
020 7679 3152; fax 020 7383 4108; www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/dick/home.htm

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