Promote the Maintenance and Development of Heritage Languages

Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) has worked with partners, particularly the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, on the Heritage Language Initiative to promote the maintenance and development of heritage languages in the United States (languages other than English used in immigrant and indigenous communities around the country). Bilingual programs in schools and communities are key elements of this movement. In 1999 and 2002, CAL and its partner organizations organized and sponsored two national conferences on heritage languages and produced proceedings from the conferences.

They also launched the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages in order to continue to collect and disseminate resources for the field, including profiles of heritage language programs. Bilingual education is also relevant beyond the borders of the United States, and the Center has sought to contribute positively to the improvement of the education of second languages worldwide. In 2004, for example, the Center published a report titled “Expanding Educational Opportunity in Linguistically Diverse Societies,” which profiled programs in 13 countries where a key element was instruction in the mother tongue.

The current global Education for All effort has not yet focused on language, despite the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) argument for the use of the mother tongue in primary instruction, and CAL’s efforts are directed at informing international and national educational institutions about this issue. Throughout the Center’s history, the education of ethnic and linguistic minorities has been a constant concern.

In its research, resources, and services, the Center has sought to integrate a better understanding of language and culture to improve learning opportunities and language development for these students. These efforts are described in the next section, along with CAL’s involvement with the development and implementation of two-way immersion bilingual education.

Public and Private Schools Should Learn From One Another In Improving Support for Their High Schools

I was reading the sports section of USA Today the other week and the listing of top 25 High School Football Teams in the country. It was interesting to note that seven of the top 25 high school teams (or 28%) were private or parochial schools.

This led me to research how this compared with recent USA Today’s rankings of top high school teams in other sports. Here’s what I found.

In Boys’ Basketball, a whopping 16 of the top 25 high school teams (or 64%) were private or parochial schools. In Girls’ Basketball, six of the top 25 (or 24%) were private or parochial schools. And in Baseball, nine of the top 25 (or 36%) were private or parochial schools.

Why is this, I wondered?

Is it because there are more private and parochial schools in the country? That’s definitely not the case because according to Department of Education statistics, there are approximately 2,000 private and parochial high schools in the country compared with roughly 30,000 public schools. In other words, just 6% of all high schools in the country are private or parochial. The other 94% in the country are public schools.

Could it be then that the average private or parochial school is larger in terms of enrollment than their public school counterparts? Nope. The average enrollment in a private school is between one-half to one-third of the average enrollment in a public secondary school.

What then accounts for the superiority of private schools versus public high schools in sports relative to the number of schools and their enrollment numbers?

In my experience in attending and/or working with both private and public high schools, I would submit to you that there are four main things that private schools routinely do that public schools don’t, rarely do or don’t do as well:

1. Private schools regularly cultivate a sense of superiority.

Private secondary schools have done an exceptional job of positioning themselves as superior. This has led to the perception that they are. And as they say, perception is or can become reality.

2. Private schools regularly cultivate, communicate with and engage all of their various constituencies.

Private schools, as a practical matter, have to regularly reach out to and engage all of their constituencies – current students and parents, prospective students and parents, alumni and alumni parents and others as well. As a result, there is a much greater sense and depth of loyalty and tradition in private high schools than there is in most public today.

3. Private schools regularly recruit students.

As a matter of survival, private high schools have also had to regularly showcase their programs and schools and recruit potential students whereas most public don’t and don’t feel they have to.

4. Private schools regularly and more professionally raise funds from all of their various constituencies.

Private high schools have also had to, as a matter of survival, routinely raise funds from all of their various constituencies. Most have even hired staff members that are specifically trained and devoted to doing this. Consequently, they approach fundraising in a more professional way than public schools do today. As a result, they raise more money than public schools do, which has enabled them to somewhat level the playing field – resource wise so-to-speak – with their public school counterparts. In addition, because this money is voluntarily given, there is a greater sense of commitment to the schools and programs contributed to by their constituents.

Public schools can and should learn from this. To raise their games so-to-speak, they should take these plays from their private high school counterparts’ playbooks and emulate them.

Similarly, private schools should learn from their public school counterparts, and they should start to form booster clubs and raise funds for each of their various extra-curricular activities. This won’t take away support from people’s overall supportiveness. It can and will only add to it.

In short, high schools and their booster clubs should learn from and emulate one another in terms of what each does well. This can and will lead to the improved success of their schools and arts and athletic programs as well.

Private Education Opportunities in Europe

In our increasingly globalised world it’s becoming more and more common to send children to be educated abroad. This raises their awareness of different cultures from a young age, and encourages an interest in international affairs and relations.

Some of the children given this opportunity will go on to launch successful careers in diplomacy, non-governmental organisations, politics and other areas that rely on international cooperation.

While students enrolled in state funded education systems are encouraged to take part in international exchange programmes, it isn’t common for pupils to complete their full education in a state run institution in a foreign country. Most don’t have boarding facilities, nor do they have the resources to educate foreign nationals.

It is therefore most common for parents to enroll their children in independent schools abroad if they are seeking an international education. Pupils travel from as far as Asia and South America to study at private schools in Europe.

Scholarships are available at most schools for families unable to fund the costs of a private education and full board. To obtain a scholarship, the child must show excellent academic abilities, and often pass an additional entrance exam.

Consider just some of the private education opportunities in Europe that might be suited to your and your child.

Switzerland

If you’ve got a lot of money to spare, or are confident your child will qualify for a scholarship, look towards an education in Switzerland. Not many places can boast such terrific facilities, and gather such impressive staff. It comes as no surprise that the Swiss education system is consistently ranked among the top 3 in the world. You can choose between following a range of syllabi from Swiss to International Baccalaureate.

Schools are set on “campuses” where everyone is assigned to live in a house under the supervision of resident teaching staff.

Most boarding schools are set in some of the most beautiful parts of the world with views across the Alps and lakes. Spending time outdoors is therefore encouraged, in winter as well as the summer.

France

For parents looking to send their child to a school where it’s possible to learn in two languages, France is a good choice. Its boarding schools are often bilingual with classes taught in both French and English.

Choose from a range of International and American schools that offer varied academic programmes.

Children can sit various international exams parallel to the general curriculum, such as SAT, TOEFL, Goethe Institute, and Cambridge.

Pupils are most often housed in the school’s own boarding houses, but in some cases may be accommodated by local families.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a strong, historic tradition of independent education that is seen as a gateway to higher education at Oxford, Cambridge and other top universities.
Private schools vary from the very traditional to modern/alternative with some following the Montessori model and others based on certain religious values, for example.

At boarding schools, students are grouped together in “Houses”, and each House has a permanent team of staff on hand who develop close, supportive relationships with their pupils, emulating the responsibilities of parents at home.

Most boarding schools are set outside cities to keep children safe, provide them with ample fresh air, and encourage community spirit.

Some private schools in Scotland are set in stunning locations near and in the Highlands. The children therefore have access to an array of outdoor activities from orienteering to white water rafting at an older age.

6 Things That Make a Good International School

A decade ago, international schools were something unheard of. There were two kinds of schools, the ones that were run by the government and the ones that were privately owned and managed. They were either residential or were regular schools functional for 6-8 hours a day.

But now, there is a third variety of school, the international school, which is different although a privately owned and managed school is different from other private schools. There are many aspects that give international schools an edge over other privately owned schools. If you are looking for an international school for your child, you may want to make sure that you have chosen an international school that has the caliber to meet world class standards. Here are few tips that are characteristic of international schools:

  • Curriculum:you should check if the school’s curriculum adheres to international standards. Implementation of IB (International Baccalaureate) program is a must.
  • Faculty:check if the faculty at the school is internationally qualified. It is not enough if they know the subject well, they should be able to deliver it to the students in a way that makes them develop interest in the subject. You can check with the students and parents of students who are studying in the school.
  • Campus:The campus of international schools are generally cast, student friendly and one that supports various extra curricular activities at the school.
  • Accreditations:check if the school has global accreditations. Council of International Schools (CIS) and accreditation from International Baccalaureate Organization are important accreditations you should check for.
  • Website:a website speaks volumes about the school’s quality and its efforts to keep pace with the latest trends. The website design, content and online presence tells about the quality of the school.
  • Support: In order to help the students best, most international schools go an extra mile. They generally have Parent teacher associations that create a communication channel between the school authorities, parents and students. This makes the school accountable for any action it takes

Driver Education Online

Going online to take a driver education course is becoming very popular because it is not only convenient, it saves a lot of time and money. Compared to the boring routine of attending driver education classes, one can now study in the comfort of their home, at their own pace, whenever and wherever they want.

Online driving courses are designed to be fun, interesting and easy for people of all ages. It is especially convenient for young drivers who are ready for a driver’s license, yet do not have time to attend an additional driver’s education classes. Most online driver education courses do not have any fixed schedule or time line for completing the course, which means that there is no pressure at all. These courses can be studied using any computer; you do not need any fancy gadgets or special plug-ins. You can use any Internet connection.

There are a variety of accredited driver education courses available online offerings different options for different states and varying in prices and packages depending on the program you choose. Do an online search to find a recognized driver education school that is certified by the stated, study the course material assigned and complete each chapter at their own pace until they pass the final exam and receive a certificate of having successfully completed the course.

Here are some pointers on how to select the best online driver education program. First and most important of all make sure that the program you are about to take is recognized in your state.

Next look for programs that let you try the course before you sign up for the program. This is a good way to judge the program and see what you will be learning.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to have the school’s contact details because remember this is an online course so see if the website provides customer support or help numbers that you can call.

Driver education is extremely vital and essential especially for young and new drivers. These courses help in producing better and more responsible drivers who are not a danger to themselves or to society.

A Case For Bilingual Education

According to a 2006 report by the Parliamentary Assembly Committee on Culture, Science and Education in France, “[B]ilingual education based on the mother tongue is the basis for long-term success.” Citing many of the known and accepted benefits of bilingualism and biliteracy, the Committee makes the case that bilingual education should be supported whenever possible, to help minorities retain their native language – and moreover increase their potential for higher levels of academic achievement in the process.

Concerns that children who grow up with two languages will either fall behind academically because of it, or are at risk of not mastering either language well, have largely been disproved by research, the committee stated.

“The language which is the vehicle of instruction has a crucial role in that command of it is the key to classroom communication and consequently to pupils’ acquisition of knowledge. A great deal of research has confirmed that types of education based on the mother tongue significantly increase the chances of educational success and give better results,” they concluded in their report.

What is Bilingual Education?

Bilingual education programs teach speakers of other languages academic subjects in their native language while gradually transitioning them into English-only classrooms. The majority of these programs in America teach to native speakers of Spanish, Chinese, or Navajo. Bilingual education is different from ESL because ESL programs are meant only to teach speakers of other languages English, while bilingual education programs are meant to encourage further retention and development of the native language while teaching English, enabling the child to develop fluent bilingualism and biliteracy.

What are the benefits of Bilingual Education?

Bilingual education teachers generally transition students from the bilingual classroom to the English mainstream classroom over a period of 1-6 years. This can be beneficial for one because it allows the students to continue their own academic advancement while learning the dominant language, whereas students who must learn a language and other academic subjects in that language often fall behind. By teaching children academic subjects in their native language while acquiring English, the students learn the language while continuing to progress academically. Furthermore, they become fluent and literate in both languages.

Studies have shown that quality bilingual education can be an effective approach for teaching second language learners. Successful programs have found that developing and maintaining the student’s native language does not interfere with English language acquisition, but instead enhance it.

The advantages of bilingualism are not highly debated. Some of the advantages plurilinguals have, cited by the Parliamentary Assembly, include:

• An enhanced faculty for creative thinking

• More advanced analytical skills and cognitive control of linguistic operations

• Greater communicative sensitivity in relation to situational factors

• Improved spatial perception, cognitive clarity and analytical skills

Furthermore, bilingual programs encourage the preservation of a minority group’s linguistic and cultural heritage. Children who are put into English-only schools from a young age will greatly lose their mother tongue and culture unless it is taught and frequently spoken at home – however it is all too common for second and third generation Americans to lose their heritage language.

If the benefits of bilingualism are not highly disputed, why is bilingual education highly disputed?

Common arguments and sentiments against bilingual education in America include the following:

Immersion

The argument is that if a person is not totally immersed in the new language, they will not learn it – that immigrant children should be totally immersed in the language and therefore be taught entirely in English right away, instead of learning gradually, because they will not learn as well with a gradual approach. Critics of bilingual education often believe that retaining and developing the first language inhibits the child’s ability to learn English. However, bilingual education supporters maintain that retaining the first language will facilitate learning in the second. Opportunities for immersion, moreover, are all around, whereas quality bilingual education opportunities are not.

Insufficient mastery of the English language

Some express doubts about the success of bilingual programs in teaching language-minority students mastery of the English language, citing low test scores and poor reading skills in both English and the native language as a result of the programs. However, low scores can be attributed to the child’s social context more than to the effectiveness of bilingual education, according to the 2006 report by the Parliamentary Assembly.

Furthermore, according to a 1987 study commission by the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE), children in “properly designed” bilingual education programs learn English quickly and meet grade-level standards in English and mathematics in three to five years. The report used data collected from 25 schools in seven California districts to dispute the claim that bilingual programs slow the acquisition of English and keep children out of the mainstream longer.

Bias

Spanish as well as other minority languages have not historically been valued as highly as they should be due to prejudice and xenophobia. One and two generations back it was not acceptable for immigrants or natives to speak a language other than English in school, and parents did not teach their children for fear they would not excel or that it would hold them back. This prejudice still haunts us today.

Fear

In 2010 Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) banned Mexican heritage and cultural study in their high schools. They claimed that the courses were teaching Mexican-American children to resent white Americans and encouraging them to want to overthrow the US government. Although the school was seeing rises in academic achievement, the program was teaching minority students about their culture and not the mainstream one, and so the programs were cut. This closely mimics the battle bilingual programs have faced in America as well.

Insufficient research
Moreover, it does not help that research on bilingual education presents its own set of problems. “Research on the effectiveness of bilingual education remains in dispute, because program evaluation studies – featuring appropriate comparison groups and random assignment of subjects or controls for pre-existing differences – are extremely difficult to design,” wrote James Crawford, researcher on bilingual education. Crawford, however, maintains that there is strong empirical support that native-language instruction does not inhibit or slow the acquisition of English, and that well-developed skills in the native language are associated with high levels of academic achievement.

A 1997 press release from a committee of the National Research Council formed perhaps a more well-rounded conclusion. They stated that political debates over how to teach children with limited English skills have hampered bilingual education research and evaluation efforts. The committee recommended that research focus on identifying a variety of educational approaches that work for children in their communities based on local need and available resources. And indeed this availability of resources can be a major concern when talking about constructing quality bilingual programs, as well as the scarcity and demand for quality bilingual teachers.

“In recent years, studies quickly have become politicized by advocacy groups selectively promoting research findings to support their positions,” said Kenji Hakuta, committee chair and professor of education at Stanford University. “Rather than choosing a one-size-fits-all program, the key issue should be identifying those components, backed by solid research findings, that will work in a specific community.”

If bilingualism has an educational advantage, why don’t our schools support this advantage?

Another often disregarded advantage of bilingual education in America is that native English-speaking children can enroll and acquire a second language. America is known for being one of the least dual-tri lingual countries in the world, with a bias toward English-only, while most other countries in the world teach many languages from a young age. The interesting thing is that most Americans would recognize the benefits of speaking two or more languages, although bilingual education remains a highly debated topic.

Bilingual education programs have the potential to help encourage and support plurilingualism in America and ultimately improve our nation academically.

“The view that bilingualism or plurilingualism is a burden on pupils is… incorrect – they are assets,” the 2006 Parliamentary Assembly Committee reported. “‘Strong’ bilingual educational models which aim to equip the future adult with real bi/plurilingual proficiency and, in particular, bi-literacy, have many advantages over ‘weak’ models which treat bilingualism as an intermediate stage between mother-tongue monolingualism and official-language monolingualism rather than as an end in itself.”

Texas Drivers Education – Existing Programs and Most Up-to-Date Amendments

Texas drivers education consists of a series of procedures suitable for everybody – private or commercial drivers ed instructors, parent-taught programs, driver courses for adults, traditional or internet based programs, but you are supposed to be aware of the fact that every driver training instructor, school or course supplier is, regardless being private or commercial, has to be certified by the Driver Training Division and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

One has to meet the legal requirements so as to earn a driving license – your age should be at least 16 or, if not, having used the learner’ s authorization for a minimum of 6 months; that is why, a lot of teens initiate their legal driving education at the age of 15, so that before being aged 16, having a lot of time to drive under the attention of a tutor.

There are particular patterns you need to be concerned about before enrolling in a driving school’ s courses, regarding driving regulations and conditions, new amendments and laws:

* every new driver in Texas driving education courses must earn more experience in driving before becoming a legal driver (81st Texas legislature, Less Tears More Years Act, from September 1, 2009) Young drivers have to receive a supplementary 20 hours of driving time, therefore increasing the compulsory driving hours from 14 to 34. These hours have to be certified by a tutor or guardian before a young driver may proceed to stage 2 of Texas’ Graduated Driver Licensing program, and must add a minimum of ten hours at nighttime. This amendment is relevant to both parent taught and common Texas drivers education course.

* also, Driving Bill 2730, effective since September 1, 2009 denotes that all drivers under 18 years old must complete a driving test, meaning that once you complete a Texas drivers education course, you have to take a drivers test at your local DPS office so as to receive your drivers license;

* as outlined by the law, if you are a student that has applied for the Parent-Taught Driver Education Course before November 1, 2009 and hasn’ t earned the driving license yet, the Department of Public Safety in Texas will permit you to finish the course, but you are not able to attend Course 101 if you registered in or after November 1, 2009;

* according to the Texas law, persons aged between 18 and 25 who wish to become authorized drivers have to complete a six hour driver education program exclusively designed for adults or finish a minor and adult driver education course that is component of the Texas drivers instruction course (effective March 1, 2010); Texas drivers education is composed by two differentiated instruction departments: behind-the-wheel instruction and drivers ed coursework.

The parent-taught program is addressed to teens aged between 14 and 17, deals with both student and parent, and the tutor or guardian must monitor in-car driving and sign-off the completion of each objective. A teen applicant for a Texas drivers education program is able to initiate the training at the age of 14, but is not able to achieve the learner’ s authorization before age.

Understanding the Homeschooling Laws and Legalities in Your State

Understanding the homeschooling laws and legalities in your state will prove to be a little confusing at first since no state is the same on how they treat homeschooling in terms of legitimacy.

In historical accounts, the right to teach your own children in the privacy of your home has long been debated in the United States. Several lawmakers, advocates, educators and parents; both pros and antis, have widely deliberated this issue ever since the onset of the compulsory education in Massachusetts on 1852.

Nowadays, the focal point of the homeschool discussion has already shifted from the question of its legality to the issues of less significant stature, such as the access to a state’s school funds, facilities, and other resources; the control for quality; college admissions; and standardized testing among others.

As mentioned, understanding the homeschooling law and legalities in your state may seem to be complicated but with enough research and patience, you will begin to comprehend the stand of your state in regards to homeschooling.

First, it must be said that homeschool is legal in all 50 states of the United States. In connection to the ruling handed by the US Supreme Court, it stated that the Amish have the right to keep their children out of public schools because of their religious beliefs. It was also stated that the parents have the fundamental right to educate their children in a way that is acceptable to their religious faith; as long as these teachings will not contradict any laws or it will not disrespect the fundamental rights of any person.

With this ruling, it was already implied that the right to educate their children in the privacy of their homes is their fundamental right as a parent.

After this, many other court rulings in favor of the parents’ wish to educate their children in home school were handed

Now every state has their own judgment in regards to this issue and each of these states have created laws and regulations to somehow manage this so ruled fundamental right. Understanding homeschool laws and legalities in your state can actually be summarized into three categories:

a. Regulations and homeschool laws in other states are based on their treatment of such as a private school. Examples of these states are California, Texas, and Indiana. In these places, homeschool laws are the same as those laws that govern the other non-accredited schools.

b. Another category, the laws are based on the unique ruling of the state in regards to the state’s compulsory attendance with a specific mention to “homeschool” requirements. States that have this treatment are New Jersey and Maryland among others

c. Last category, other states like New Hampshire, Maine, and Iowa have a specific ruling for homeschooling. These states often have different terms applied for homeschool like “home instruction” in Virginia; “alternative instruction” in South Dakota; and “competent private instruction” in Iowa.

It is known that apart from these categories, all the 50 states have a different way of treating homeschool and its students. Some may require less than the others and some have very stringent qualifications in order to be considered as a passable home school attendee.

These are generalized state laws that tackle private education. Try to find your specific state law regarding homeschooling in order to maximize the benefits that you can get from the state; not to mention the requirements being asked by your state from you.

Homeschooling = Smarter, Happier Kids

Homeschooling is an option for parents to take on the responsibility of educating their children at home.

Advocates of homeschooling cite several benefits, including better academic test results, poor schooling environment, improved character/morality development, and objections to what is taught in local schools. In addition to that, parents will get to spend a LOT of time with their children.

Three of the main concerns regarding homeschooling are:

  • Commitment. Homeschooling is very time consuming, and will eat into parents’ personal time and time for fulfilling other responsibilities. Also, while homeschooling can be accomplished rather inexpensively, the teaching parent won’t be able to hold a separate job, and the family thus suffers from a loss of income.
  • Socialisation. Homeschoolers are likely to have limited social interaction with others, and are sheltered from mainstream society. Furthermore, homeschoolers will often be subjected to their parents’ one-sided point of view.
  • Higher education. Many, but not all, universities admit homeschoolers. While a homeschooler’s academic track record may not be well documented, universities have ways around this, such as entrance exams and key test results.

In Malaysia, parents who wish their child to be exempt from public schooling have to apply to the Ministry of Education.

The Learning Beyond Schooling website by Chong Wai Leng and Soon Koi Voon also has a wealth of information on homeschooling in Malaysia, including a useful Homeschooling FAQ.

Homeschooling is one of many Early Years Education (EYE) methods available in Malaysia. See how it compares with other methods, such as Math Monkey and Montessori

Techniques To Learn English

Today English is one of the prominent languages that has achieved international standard not only in one field but in all fields either they are technical or non-technical. To work at international level English is considered mandatory. There are levels of learning of English that are given blow

Basic Level English Learning

Basic level learning is recommended only for those technical and non technical persons who do professional work at labour level. The main purpose of these professional is to learn English for conversation so that they can understand their clients and their clients can understand their working scenario. Only speaking and listening classes are managed for these professionals. Limited written practice is required for these workers.

Professional Level English Learning

This type of English learning is recommended to only those professionals who want to work at international level in offices or at executive posts. These persons have understanding of English reading, speaking and writing but they lack at professional level. The best way for these persons is to follow the following techniques.

For best learning professionals must have strong grip on grammar. For learning grammar, they should start from parts of speech and should learn grammar at advance level. For perfect usage of grammar regular practice is required each day. A day will come when they will be too much adept in writing English.
Speaking English is another skill that is required for professional survival. Again practice is required to speak English fluently. For this purpose make friends that already have strong speaking grip on English. Because of English community your English learning will enhance rapidly.

The above explained techniques can benefit a professional at his own but there are professional institutions that have regular classes at every level of learning. They trained their students with such skill that they can behave as English natives in few months. Here I want to introduce a university that is Westcliff University that has launched the TESOL certification program at professional level. University has offered hybrid program, it means that you have classes on the campus and facility of online classes is also available.Faculity at the campus has international reputation with strong professional grip in their field. In TESOL certification program students are given chance to teach in these classes to groom their potential skill so that they can act as a good professional teacher in the society.

MA TESOL degree is also introduced by the university. This is professional degree program. This program is also offered at scholarship for both national and international students.