¡Feliz Año Nuevo!
Head uut aastat!
Hello and Happy New Year, everyone! Bragging rights to the readers who can name the five languages I’ve just used to say Happy New Year. ( I think only one might stump you...answers are posted at the bottom.)
Before kicking off the new year, here’s a recap of the issues and stories on English-language learners that drew the most readers to the Learning the Language blog and edweek.org.
9.) The Sharper Minds of Bilinguals: The cognitive advantages of bilingualism—longer attention spans, improved memory, etcetera—became ever clearer in 2012.
8.) Translating the Common Core for Dual-Language Classrooms: Putting the common core standards into practice is a major overhaul for all teachers, but perhaps even more so for those who are teaching in dual-language and immersion programs and must adapt the new standards into a second language.
7.) California Works on New English-Language Development Standards: When it comes to English-language learners and new policies related to their education, California is often a bellwether state, so when the state released its new proficiency standards aligned to the common core this year, people paid attention.
6.) Ed. Dept. Releases Guide for States on English-Language Proficiency: The transition to the common-core academic standards, as well as requirements of the federal waivers from the No Child Left Behind law, are driving states to update their English-language proficiency standards, a big effort that the federal Education Department sought to make easier by enlisting experts to write a guide book on how to do it right.
5.) Education Department to Study ELLs With Disabilities: This remains one of the more vexing issues in K-12 education. My colleague Nirvi Shah and I also explored this issue of how to accurately identify ELLs for special education services in a story that focused on the efforts under way in San Diego’s public schools.
4.) Stanford-Led Common-Core Project for ELLs Previews New Resources: The Understanding Language team, assembled by ELL expert and Stanford education professor Kenji Hakuta, was, and will continue to be, one of the best resources on the common core and English-learners.
3.) Research on Push-In Versus Pull-Out: This post has one of the longest tails in the history of the Learning the Language blog, which was created and helmed for years by my former colleague Mary Ann Zehr. Mary Ann wrote about the dearth of research on these two instructional methods more than four years ago, and it routinely lands as one of the most viewed posts in my weekly viewership reports.
2.) More Pre-K Programs Needed for Dual-Language Learners: The number of children born into U.S. homes where English is not the primary language is large and growing, and a report from the Center for American Progress made the case that without a lot more dual-language preschool programs to serve them, their success rates at acquiring English and flourishing in school will remain low.
1.) Immigration Officials Advise Educators on Deferred Action: The Obama administration’s move last summer to provide deportation relief to undocumented young adults who came to the United States as children became a big education issue as schools are now a critical source of paperwork and proof of eligibility that applicants need in their requests for deferred action status.
Answers to the Happy New Year language quiz: Spanish, Mandarin, Estonian, French, and Arabic. Who got Estonian right???
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.