ETS - Aug 2011

California Campaign to Improve 21st Century Skills

yeson58California Senator Ricardo Lara, the initiative’s author, explains how voting ‘yes’ on Prop 58 will help students LEARN:

Growing up in a bilingual household with five brothers and sisters, the concepts of language learning and cultural identity have always been important to me. But when Prop 227 was passed, instead of being proud of the fact that we could speak more than one language, many of us were shamed into not speaking languages other than English in public places.

That’s why I authored an initiative on the November ballot, Prop 58, Language Education Acquisition and Readiness Now (LEARN), to change this nearly 20-year-old law.

Under our current system, too many California students are being left behind and not given the opportunity to learn English or a second language with the most effective teaching methods possible. Substantial research shows that students learn languages in many different ways. Some students excel in language immersion programs while others do better learning in multiple languages.  

Yet, the California Department of Education reports that of the 10,393 schools in California, only 312 offer multilingual programs. This shortchanges all California students who want the opportunity to learn English and a second language.

That’s why Prop 58 amends Prop 227 to give school districts, parents and teachers the power to decide how best to teach English and other languages. The fact is that when it comes to teaching, one size does not fit all, and no politician should limit our kids’ ability to learn language with the method that works best for them.

We know that students with a strong proficiency in English who also speak other languages are better prepared to compete in the global workforce. But while 66% of people around the globe speak more than one language; only 20% of people in the United States speak multiple languages.

Please join me in opening the door to student learning and help me pass Prop 58 in November!


July 20th, 2016 | Leave your comments

Learning with Purpose

Kristal Bivona looks at teaching specialized Spanish programs

For years, English language instructors have had access to a wide variety of materials to help teach English for specific purposes; now, Spanish teachers have a burgeoning subfield of teaching Spanish for specific purposes. In the U.S., students can take advantage of courses in Spanish for business, Spanish for academic research, and Spanish for the health care industry. A course in Spanish for specific purposes will address grammar, but it may not be taught in a communicative approach and may not even instruct all four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

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July 19th, 2016 | Leave your comments

Call of the Wild

It’s not only humans who have language systems built on linguistic rules and patterns. Gelada monkeys from the Ethiopian highlands have exhibited that their calls follow the same linguistic rule that is evident in many languages—Menzerath’s law.

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July 14th, 2016 | Leave your comments

Why French?

Chateau de Versailles, FranceKathy Stein-Smith explains why demand is growing for French the world over.

There is one skill that is being learned around the world, with enrollments growing by 50% in Asia and Africa, while in the U.S. programs are being reduced and even eliminated. This highly sought-after global skill is not social media, data analytics, or coding; it is learning French. French is a language that reflects both the rich cultural and historical heritage of France and also that of the worldwide Francophonie. It is a language of international diplomacy, a global business language, and a top internet language, which points to the growing importance of French.

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July 12th, 2016 | 1 Comment

A Whole Lot of Axolotls

Paula Cuello and Lori Langer de Ramirez explore environmental
studies in the Spanish classroom.

It all started with my sixth-grade son. After returning from summer vacation, he visited our fourth-floor science wing and was thrilled to notice a large fish tank with five new creatures inside. The axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) intrigued him, and it wasn’t long until he convinced me to have a look. At first I was turned off. These small creatures look oddly unfinished. They are somewhat squishy and, as they don’t have eyelids, they never blink, giving them a creepy air. But after seeing them through my son’s eyes, I started appreciating their cuteness. Their mouths are arranged in perma-smiles and their black beady eyes are quite endearing. Over time, the ratio between love and hate moved heavily over into the “love” column, and I was hooked.

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July 12th, 2016 | Leave your comments

How Will ESSA Affect Your Bottom Line?

Paula Love shares her insights on what the new legislation will mean to language and literacy educators in terms of funding, accountability, and professional development.

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July 6th, 2016 | Leave your comments

Digital Natives or Not?

Özge Karaoğlu asks if all the children we teach really are digital natives

The term digital native was coined at the beginning of this century. It reflected the idea that young people today have grown up in a digital, media-saturated world. According to the theory, these young digital prodigies should have a different way of looking at online technology and different expectations and comfort levels when it comes to the role of technology in their learning. They are connected multitaskers who are the native speakers of the new digital world, and their expertise extends to computers, video games, the internet, and all the latest social and mobile technologies.
We assume that they must somehow have a naturally deeper knowledge and understanding of all of these technologies compared to so-called digital immigrants, people like their teachers who weren’t born into this technology and were forced to learn it.

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July 6th, 2016 | 1 Comment

Supreme Court Kicks Common Core Question Off Massachusetts Ballot

Common Core supporters in Massachusetts will no longer worry about defending their stance on a November ballot. The citizens-backed petition to end the Common Core in Massachusetts was struck down by a Supreme Court Ruling on Friday. The petition sought to revert Massachusetts to its pre-Common Core standards. It also sought to set up a review structure for its standards, in which educators release all state assessment test “questions, constructed responses and essays, for each grade and every subject.” The Supreme Court ruled that the repeal ballot was erroneously certified by Attorney General Maura Healey, as each ballot can only have one policy issue for voters to decide on and this one had two. The ballot could propose to repeal the Common Core, or implement a review standard, but not both. The court stated that voters must be able to decide on a unified statement of public policy. continue reading

July 5th, 2016 | 1 Comment

July 2016

Spanish Focus:

America’s Lingua Franca? Could Spanish become the language of choice throughout the Americas?

Learning with Purpose Kristal Bivona looks at teaching specialized Spanish programs.

Study Travel Costa Rica & Guatemala

Why French? Kathy Stein-Smith explains why demand is growing for French the world over.

A Whole Lot of Axolotls Paula Cuello & Lori Langer de Ramirez explore environmental studies in the Spanish classroom.

A Literacy Autobiography Yew Hock Yeo, Phyllis Ghim-Lian Chow, and Stephen Krashen share a tale worth reading.

Teaching Sin Fronteras How a Spanish teacher’s quest to help his students led to the creation of an international publishing company.

June 30th, 2016 | 1 Comment

What is the World’s Most Efficient Language?

Not all languages are created equally when it comes to wordiness. 

Depending on what language is being spoken, a certain amount of words are needed to get a certain point across. Sure, any speaker can add flowery language to make a basic sentence into something more complicated. However, there is a baseline minimum in each language to express the same meaning, just some languages are wordier than others. continue reading

June 30th, 2016 | Leave your comments

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Need for Bilingual Preschools
A new report from the Center for American Progress that urges policymakers to maximize on the investments being made in public preschool programs to serve disadvantaged children. Specifically, the report calls for "more federal, state, and local capacity to meet the increasing demand for culturally and linguistically appropriate services for children who are dual-language learners."

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