Teaching English to Hispanic students isn't the only challenge Spanish teachers in Alabama are facing. It's also refining their Spanish-speaking skills, preserving their heritage, and helping them succeed in a culture much different from their own, said Peggy Bilbro, a retired Spanish teacher at Randolph School. Bilbro joined Spanish teachers from across the state Wednesday at the University of Alabama in Huntsville to discuss ways to help their Hispanic students.
Mexican indigenous language specialists want to bring native tongues into elementary schools to prevent them from dying out. The National Institute for Indigenous Languages, or INALI, is proposing to teach indigenous children in their native tongue alongside Spanish, and having Spanish-speaking children study a local Indian language. Mexico has around 60 native languages along with the official Spanish. But with fewer people using them all the time, linguists worry they are at risk of disappearing.
Firefighters, police, and council officers in Burnley, England are taking an intensive 10-week course in Polish to help them communicate with migrant workers. They are also being joined by members of the Polish community who are learning English. Unofficial estimates have put the number of migrant workers who have come to Lancashire since 2004 at around 50,000.
About half of Hispanic high school students in Indiana would be the first in their families to attend college, and most feel they can't afford a higher education, according to a new survey. Learn More, Indiana's annual survey of high school freshmen and juniors, found that most students expect to earn a four-year college degree. But fewer Hispanic students expected a four-year degree compared to their peers. The study emphasizes the need for all students to consider themselves "college material," said Elizabeth Crouch, spokeswoman for Learn More Indiana, a group of education organizations.
Josue Juarez reached a milestone Tuesday in his young life. He graduated from preschool. Compared with many children his age, the 5-year-old from Redwood City has an academic edge going into kindergarten this fall. Many more Latino children like Josue and other student groups should participate in high-quality programs such as Preschool for All, according to a new study released today by the independent, nonprofit research organization RAND Corp. Among its key findings, the study showed that the children who could especially benefit from preschool are the least likely to be in it.
Nan Pang arrived in Newton, MA three years ago, armed only with the English he had learned in a classroom in Japan. He was incredibly shy, caged by his inability to find the right words to communicate to his peers in this new country. Three years after his arrival at Newton South High School, and now a junior, his teachers proudly boast that he'll be part of the mainstream curriculum next year. He's participating in tennis and just designed a mural in the stairwell of Newton South. Success stories like Pang's are springing up all over Newton schools: students overcoming a language barrier and sliding comfortably into a new culture — a task that some adults take a lifetime to achieve.
"Anybody here from Queens?" The question seemed natural enough, coming from a large young man wearing a Yankees cap. But it was by no means just small talk. David Lucero grew up in Jamaica, Queens, and he was trying to connect with a group of students in a large classroom overflowing with plants and fish tanks at the High School for Environmental Studies on Manhattan's West Side. Mr. Lucero, 22, will soon begin a doctoral program in molecular biology and genetics at the University of Vermont. When he spent a day at the high school recently, his prime goal was to encourage other Latino students, as well as black and Asian-American students, to pursue environmental studies in college and as a career.
In her "Learning the Language" blog, Mary Ann Zehr writes, "New Jersey recently began providing some state tests for English-language learners in Spanish, and thus joined a dozen states that provide versions of their state tests in languages other than English. In addition, Washington state has set a tentative goal of translating state tests into 10 languages by 2009. I got this information about New Jersey and Washington from communications staff for departments of education in those states after Charles W. Stansfield, the president and founder of Second Language Testing, Inc., told me that the group of states developing or providing native-language assessments is growing."
Inspired by her Peruvian-American heritage and passion to share Latino stories with children, Monica Brown's writing career is taking off like one of magic carpets she writes about in her newest bilingual biography for kids. <em>My Name is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez</em>, published by Luna Rising, sold nearly 10,000 copies in its first three months. "<em>Gabito</em> is not only a biography, but a book about imagination, observation and the unending possibilities of our own creativity," said Brown, an associate professor of English at Northern Arizona University, who specializes in multicultural literature and cultural studies. "Gabriel García Márquez was one of my earliest literary inspirations, and I wanted to introduce children to the concept of magic realism."
If there is one take-away from this newspaper's exhaustive series last week on the complicated journey immigrant students make through Dallas public schools, it is this: Students' backgrounds are as important to their success as what happens in the classroom.