Some times we go to schools and they ask us quite rightly how will it improve our children’s learning. What they cannot believe once we talk them through how everything fits together is how reasonable the cost is as it allows all staff in the school to have access at home or at school 24/7. When compared to the £900 single pupil premium for primaries at £624 and secondary’s £1124 it is less than two pupils premium for the whole schools use making it great value for money. Schools using the whole package are finding that their children are developing academic language quicker thereby making them more confident when being entered for tests and exams.
The following article helps explain why the use of first language to gain second language acquisition helps. In the Fischer school in America and the area that it is affiliated to
the state mandates, once 20 or more non-English speaking students are present in a school, that school must provide education to them in their native language. Research indicates this makes them better learners later on, Johns said.
“Instruction in their native language (will give them) a solid basis for learning in their early years” and will narrow the achievement gap in middle and high school, he said. Students are assessed throughout the process so they can migrate out of the bilingual program as quickly as possible.
“Compliance with the law is not optional,” he said, citing case law from 1974 that determined students have a right to have material presented to them in their native language. Without that early on, students grades tend to “flat-line” in middle and high school, he said.
“The rate of progress slows tremendously, and research shows it sometimes receding,” he said. “That happens because students have enough social language that they can kind of keep pace, but the rigors of middle school are much more, and the need for instructional knowledge is much greater and they can’t keep up. This is often the early point in which children make the choice to drop out. They become more marginalized and separated from their peers … with dire consequences.”
“I think you’re going to see more bilingual (across the district). It’s a trend across the country. We’re becoming more and more diverse,” Pruneau said.
I spend my days talking to people about changing the discourse. An influential speaker, Rosemary Campbell-Stevens, who works with leaders throughout the UK through the NCSL talks about changing the discourse because the one we have used for the last 20 years hasn’t worked. And I can only agree with her, we still leave children needing to communicate in their home language without an interface to do so, whether that’s electronic, mechanical or human. We wouldn’t put up with it ourselves so why leave our children to live through the mine field that is communication.
To help learners achieve their best and bridge the gap between their current knowledge and their level of understanding I have created a dual language maths book. The concept of dual language is not to delay the learning of English but to increase the speed and level of understanding. For example in the book there are the four operations division, subtraction, addition and subtraction. Each operation has a two page spread, the first page explores the terms we use in both English and the learners home language. Division can also be written shared, as a fraction or as with a division sign. The learners are explained the terminology and given examples. The next page is a series of dual language examples, leading them to a set of questions that they try for themselves. The benefit of this is that the gap in language understanding is taken up by the book and within a short space of time the learner can work on the same questions as their peer group.
The benefits of the maths books are the speed in which the learner can undertake class work and the higher level of understanding when the do. It is a matter of changing the discourse and bridging the gap with thoughtfully created materials that help improve the learners understanding.
Dual language maths books can be found on the EMAS UK website www.emasuk.com and currently cost £15 per book or £300 for a full set of 22 books. Differentiated resources that allow everyone to be on the same work at the same time.