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"Bilingual Education in South America"

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  • Donald Z. Osborn
    FYI... (forwarded from the Linguist list). DZO Date: 11-Jan-2005 From: Kathryn King Subject: Bilingual Education in South
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 18, 2005
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      FYI... (forwarded from the Linguist list). DZO

      Date: 11-Jan-2005
      From: Kathryn King <marketing@...>
      Subject: Bilingual Education in South America: de Mejia (Ed)

      Title: Bilingual Education in South America
      Series Title: Bilingual Education & Bilingualism

      Published: 2005
      Publisher: Multilingual Matters

      Book URL: http://www.multilingual-matters.com/multi/display.asp?isb=1853598194

      Editor: Anne-Marie de Mejia,

      Hardback: ISBN: 1853598194 Pages: 140 Price: U.K. £ 29.95
      Hardback: ISBN: 1853598194 Pages: 140 Price: U.S. $ 54.95


      This book presents a vision of bilingual education in six South American
      nations: three Andean countries, Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, and three
      'Southern Cone' countries, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. It provides an
      integrated perspective, including work carried out in majority as well as
      minority language contexts, referring to developments in the fields of
      indigeneous, Deaf, and international bilingual and multilingual provision.

      Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

      Written In: English (ENG )

      See this book announcement on our website:
    • Don Osborn
      Here is a review of this title (fwd from Linguist list)... DZO Date: 10-May-2005 From: Dmitry Gerasimov Subject: Bilingual Education
      Message 2 of 2 , May 16 10:53 PM
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        Here is a review of this title (fwd from Linguist list)... DZO

        Date: 10-May-2005
        From: Dmitry Gerasimov <dm.gerasimov@...>
        Subject: Bilingual Education in South America

        AUTHOR: Mejia, Anne-Marie de
        TITLE: Bilingual Education in South America
        SERIES: Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 50
        PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
        YEAR: 2004
        Announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/16/16-138.html

        Dmitry V. Gerasimov, ILI RAN (Institute for linguistic research of
        the Russian Academy of Sciences), St. Petersburg, Russia.

        With its notable linguistic diversity, intensity of language
        contacts, and a wide spread of multilingualism, South America has
        always been an extremely interesting area for anyone specializing in
        the domain of sociolinguistics and multilingual studies. The book
        under review comprises eight essays on different aspects and issues
        of bilingual education in the sub-continent, preceded by an
        introduction by the volume's editor. The contents of this volume
        first appeared in the Special Issue of International Journal of
        Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Vol. 7, no. 5, 2004. All eight
        papers were written especially for this Special Issue. No changes
        were made to the text when republishing the journal issue as a
        separate volume, save for removal of the Book Reviews section.

        Although the book is not divided into any sections or chapters (in
        fact, such internal organization is hardly necessary for so thin a
        volume), it obviously falls into two parts. The first five essays
        (contributions by King, Garcia, Skliar & Muller Quadros, de Mejia and
        Buffy & Day) take wide-raging linguistic and historical perspectives
        in addressing general tendencies and problems of bilingual education
        in different regions of South America. The remaining three
        contributions (those by Spezzini, Simpson and Ordonez) represent more
        specific case studies, each based on author's own fieldwork in some
        bilingual educational institution. In the following paragraphs I will
        briefly describe and discuss each article.


        In the Introduction Anne-Marie de Mejia, the editor of this volume,
        gives a short synopsys of the eight following essays and outlines the
        problematics to which the volume is dedicated. Traditionally in South
        America, as elsewhere, debate on bilingual education has been
        conducted in two separate spheres. On the one hand, there is a
        widespread practice of education in international languages like
        English, the students usually being native speakers of Spanish from
        upper- and upper-middle class backgrounds. On the other, there are
        community-based bilingual projects aimed at maintaining and enriching
        the use of indigenous Amerindian languages by ethnic minority groups.
        These two facets of bilingual education raise different sets of
        problems and give birth to two different traditions in bilingual
        education studies. The goals of the present volume are to show
        convergences and interrelations between majority and minority
        language contexts, give the reader an integrated perspective on the
        issues of bilingual education on the sub-continent and try to bridge
        the gap between the two traditions. The tone for the first "survey-
        oriented" part of the volume is set by "Language Policy and Local
        Planning in South America: New Directions for Enrichment Bilingual
        Education in the Andes" by Kendall King. The paper starts with the
        discussion of bilingual education model types in South America,
        referring to Hornberger's (1991) typology of bilingual education
        programme types and models. The latter distinguishes between
        enrichment models (aimed at the acquisition of additive bilingualism
        in English or French by Spanish-speaking students from upper-class
        backgrounds) and transitional models (aimed at students dominant in
        indigenous language and resulting in a subtractive form of
        bilingualism). The paper then focuses on the recent planning
        decisions by the Saraguro ethnic group to formally instruct Quichua
        as a second language in community schools. The author comes to the
        conclusion that this instance of localized planning, though not
        without its weaknesses, represents a completely new type of bilingual
        education which integrates best sides of both enrichment and
        transitional models; this type of language planning is claimed to
        be "one viable avenue" towards maintaining linguistic diversity and
        cultural identity in the face of globalization. The case of Saraguro
        is also analyzed in the today context of heritage language programmes
        in the USA. It is shown that the former is made possible by the same
        shifts in language policy and general attitude towards bilingualism
        and, on the other hand, shares the same challenges and flaws. The
        overall composition of King's paper doesn't seem very successful to
        me; the author could have arranged her material in another way to
        make her main claims sound more supported. Anyway, the observations
        on Saraguro bilingual education program and the insights derived from
        it are very enlightening and the paper is very interesting.

        The focus on bilingual indigenous education is maintained by Maria
        Elena Garcia in "Rethinking Bilingual Education in Peru:
        Intercultural Politics, State Policy and Indigenous Rights". After a
        brief but very informative historical survey of Peruvian
        multilingualism starting from as early as the arrival of the Spanish
        in the 16th century, the author presents her analysis of changes in
        bilingual education policy in Peru during the 1990s. Both government-
        initiated educational reforms and indigenous activist groups'
        discourses are considered and critically evaluated. What seems
        important is that the paper outlines and criticizes numerous gaps
        between intercultural education rhetoric and the real state of
        affairs. Garcia clearly demonstrates that the problems of
        intercultural education implementation and inclusion of indigenous
        groups are manifold and serious. She concludes her essay with
        valuable suggestions to future policy-makers in the region.

        The third paper in this volume, "Bilingual Deaf Education in the
        South of Brazil" by Carlos Skliar and Ronice Muller Quadros
        introduces a very special minority context -- that of Deaf bilingual
        education. After a comprehensive discussion of various
        methodological, linguistics and psycholinguistic perspectives on the
        concepts of "Deaf Identity", "Deaf Culture" and "Deaf Bilingualism"
        the authors present their analysis of Deaf Education in Brazilian
        Sign Language and Brazilian Portuguese in the specified region based
        on research carried out over the last 5-7 years. They provide a
        reader with a concise survey of existing education policies and
        practices, especially focusing on those cases when they suffer from
        being derived from the "Hearing" perspective and can be improved by
        undertaking the genuine "Deaf" view. I hesitate to give this essay
        any evaluation, being absolutely ignorant in the complicated field of
        Deaf education. Again, as in the case of King's paper, the
        composition looks somewhat fuzzy, but the material and the discussion
        presented seem very interesting to me.

        The next paper, "Bilingual Education in Colombia: Toward an
        Integrative Perspective" by Anne-Marie de Mejia, is again concerned
        with the opposition of minority and majority contexts in bilingual
        education, this time in Colombia. Having presented a brief historical
        survey of bilingual education both in ethnic minority contexts (in
        Amerindian as well as Afro-Caribbean communities) and in majority
        language contexts, the author compares the two traditions and shows
        some notable points of convergence. She then discusses the situation
        in English-Spanish bilingual schools in more detail, thus focusing
        mainly on the bilingual education in majority language context. She
        concludes that the two traditions of bilingual education have many
        areas of convergence and some problems previously attributed
        exclusively to the bilingual education in ethnic minority groups
        (e.g. loss of cultural identity, underestimation of the importance of
        L1 proficiency, lack of concrete guidelines to be adhered to in
        classroom practice, etc.) apply to the bilingual education in
        majority language contexts as well. The central conclusion, as it
        seems, is that the two types of bilingual education should be treated
        within a single integrated perspective and that they both can benefit
        considerably from interchanging experience.

        In "The Evolution of Bilingual Schools in Argentina" Cristina Banfi
        and Raymond Day provide a preliminary descriptive account of
        bilingual schools within the Argentine education system. The authors
        discuss similarities and differences among Argentine bilingual
        schools and demonstrate that institutions that are traditionally
        unified under this label in fact show a high degree of diversity,
        despite the common perception of bilingual education in Argentina as
        a homogeneous system. They also track the history of the development
        of these institutions and argue that bilingual schools have undergone
        several important transformations since they were first founded in
        the 19th century. While their origins should be traced back to
        Heritage Schools founded for the needs of particular immigrant
        communities, they have changed to Dual Language Schools with
        programmes aimed mainly at monolingual Spanish speakers, and,
        finally, to a new type of bilingual education institutions, for which
        the authors employ the term "Global Language School". The latter
        model is characterized by a cluster of features, all of which stem
        from the advance of globalization and weakening of ethnicity-based
        cultural links and traditions. The paper concludes with some
        suggestions for future research, pointing out that detailed and
        systematic analysis of bilingual schools and their role in the
        society has not yet been conducted.

        The next paper in this volume modulates to a very different
        tonality. "English Immersion in Paraguay: Individual and
        Sociocultural Dimensions of Language Learning and Use" represents
        Susanna Spezzini's field-based investigation of processes of learning
        English in immersion classrooms in one particular American overseas
        school, the American School of Asuncion (ASA), Paraguay. Spezzini
        explores mechanisms of L2 acquisition, patterns of language use and
        levels of comprehensibility among 34 predominantly Spanish-speaking
        12-graders, relying both on qualitative data from students' language
        learning histories and taped interviews and quantitative data from
        questionnaires and comprehensibility rating tests. Students'
        introspection reveals many interesting facts about their motivations
        in language learning and patterns of language use in different kinds
        of situations. It is worth noting that some students describe their
        language use in peer-to-peer communication as a unique "ASA talk",
        Spanglish with some words from Guarani. In spite of apparent
        homogeneity for L2 programs at ASA, the students have shown
        considerable variability in their L2 output and perceived
        comprehensibility. The author discusses various factors responsible
        for this variability, such as gender (girls doing better than boys),
        age at which a student has entered ASA (transfer students doing
        better than those whose English input was limited to ASA only),
        motivation, etc. Linguistic features that influenced the perceived
        comprehensibility, such as intonation and fluency rate, are treated
        in detail in a separate section. Finally, the author provides
        suggestions for future practice and research. I would dare to state
        that implications from Spezzini's study would be of great value and
        interest to anyone concerned with L2 immersion programs, not only in
        South American context.

        The study presented by JoEllen Simpson in "A Look at Early Childhood
        Writing in English and Spanish in a Bilingual School in Ecuador"
        examines the written production of first-graders. The author's aim is
        to see whether the differences between Spanish and English writings
        reported in earlier studies for elder bilinguals can be observed at
        this age as well. Starting with a brief survey of existing literature
        on Spanish-English contrastive rhetoric, Simpson points out that no
        previous study has ever taken into account the writing production of
        younger schoolchildren. To fill this gap she analyzed physical
        characteristics (number of T-units, words, errors and error types,
        connectors) and topical structure of 20 short Spanish and English
        narratives written by first-graders from a private English immersion
        school in Quito. The results show that the children have a similar
        syntactic ability in both of their languages, though they are still
        more fluent in Spanish. The greater complexity and elaborateness of
        Spanish writing style as compared to English is not reflected in the
        results, most likely because the writers are very young and are just
        learning to write. In terms of the topical structure analysis, it is
        shown that the children employ the same amount of sequential
        progression and extended parallel progression in both languages, but
        more parallel progression in English. Finally the author points at
        promising directions for future research, noting that it would be
        especially interesting to follow the same children throughout their
        primary education in a longitudinal study.

        Finally, "EFL and Native Spanish in Elite Bilingual Schools in
        Colombia: A First Look at Bilingual Adolescent Frog Stories" by
        Claudia Lucia Ordonez takes a general look at the type of bilingual
        education adopted in Colombian English immersion schools and its
        effects on the Spanish and English oral narrative proficiency. The
        data consist of 72 narratives told following a picture-book. 18
        Spanish and 18 English stories from 15-year-olds with 10 years of
        bilingual education in a Colombian bilingual school constitute the
        main sample. The other 36 stories, 18 from 15-year-olds in Colombian
        monolingual schools and 18 from comparable English-monolingual
        adolescents from a high school in the Boston area, are used to
        compare the bilingual stories to monolingual productions. The range
        and variability of the stories in the bilingual group are discussed,
        as they are compared to the monolingual stories. The results are
        somewhat unexpected and potentially worrying: while bilingual
        productions exhibit a similar level of variability to monolingual
        stories, they are sparse in several linguistic variables that reflect
        narrative proficiency (i.e. complex representation of events,
        evaluative expressions, logical connections). Thus, bilingual stories
        in both languages show clear evidence of underdevelopment in
        comparison to monolingual stories. The author calls for further
        research in order to find out what are the costs of an early foreign
        language acquisition for the first language proficiency and how can
        they be minimized.


        The contributions to this volume vary in terms of content,
        methodology and perspective, and also in terms of quality. Anyway I
        must admit that all authors show a considerable depth of expertise in
        their respective topics. The perspectives and methodology adopted are
        always well supported by references to existing literature.
        Statistical calculations presented in the case studies are accurate
        and convincing, and can be easily verified by anyone familiar with
        the statistical apparatus. Unfortunately, general composition of some
        papers lacks cohesiveness and is sometimes difficult to follow. The
        book fails to provide the reader with the whole picture of the
        problematics of bilingual education in South America (thus, to my
        personal disappointment, an interesting problem of bilingual Spanish-
        Guarani education in today's Paraguay (see Gynan ms.) is not
        addressed). Of course, it can hardly be considered a fault, as it is
        obvious that the volume doesn't really aim at this goal. In fact, the
        choice of subjects seems to be rather successful: while not all
        issues are covered, those that are are fairly representative and able
        to give even an unprepared reader the general notion of main problems
        and tendencies. The combination of general discussions and more
        specific case studies under one cover seems to be a very good idea.
        The only minor sin the book may be accused of in this respect is that
        it too strongly focuses on the majority language contexts of
        bilingual education. While the first part of the volume is mainly
        concerned with interrelations between bilingual education in minority
        and majority language contexts, it is the latter on which more
        information is given. And all three case studies in the second part
        are dedicated exclusively to the issues raised in relation to
        teaching of one and the same international language (namely, English)
        in elite bilingual schools. I would dare to say that the volume could
        considerably benefit from inclusion of a case study carried out in a
        minority language context. Nevertheless, the volume certainly reaches
        its goal specified by de Mejia in the Introduction: "to provide the
        reader with an integrative perspective on the issues raised in
        relation to bilingualism and bilingual education in the sub-
        continent, and to try to bridge the divide between the different
        traditions". Despite any flaws mentioned above, this volume is a
        valuable contribution to the study of bilingual education. Some
        articles contain important observations on the today state of affairs
        in the planning and organization of bilingual education in particular
        South American countries and are thus an absolute must for teachers,
        activists and policy makers involved into respective bilingual
        education programs.


        Gynan, Sh. N. (ms.) Single Design and Differentiated Modality:
        Bilingual Education in Paraguay. Ms., Western Washington University
        [available at http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~sngynan/Single%20Design.html%5d

        Hornberger, N. H. (1991) Extending enrichment bilingual education:
        Revisiting typologies and redirecting policy. In: O. Garcia (ed.)
        Bilingual Education: Foccusschrift in Honor of Joshua A. Fishman
        (Vol. 1), pp. 215-234. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


        Dmitry Gerasimov is a post-graduate student/assistant of ILI RAN
        (Institute for linguistic research of the Russian Academy of
        Sciences), St. Petersburg. He is currently working on a typologically
        oriented study of the Tense-Aspect system of Paraguayan Guarani with
        special emphasis on aspectual composition. Other academic interests
        of his include typology of word classes, syntax of sentential
        complementation and the phenomenon of split intransitivity. He is
        involved in an extensive field-based study of complementation
        strategies in Adyghe (West Caucasian).

        --- In Multilingual_Literacy@yahoogroups.com, "Donald Z. Osborn"
        <dzo@b...> wrote:
        > FYI... (forwarded from the Linguist list). DZO
        > Date: 11-Jan-2005
        > From: Kathryn King <marketing@m...>
        > Subject: Bilingual Education in South America: de Mejia (Ed)
        > Title: Bilingual Education in South America
        > Series Title: Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
        > Published: 2005
        > Publisher: Multilingual Matters
        > http://www.multilingual-matters.com/
        > Book URL: http://www.multilingual-matters.com/multi/display.asp?
        > Editor: Anne-Marie de Mejia,
        > Hardback: ISBN: 1853598194 Pages: 140 Price: U.K. ?29.95
        > Hardback: ISBN: 1853598194 Pages: 140 Price: U.S. $ 54.95
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