Virginia Collier has written an article on “Teaching Multilingual Children”. The article was based around how we look at multilingual children in the country and how we handle teaching English as a second language. A fellow classmate of mine Hayley Dias has recently wrote a small piece reviewing the article by Collier and putting in her own personal experiences as well as additional information given by Collier. Hayley first addresses upcoming events for our class, where we will be attending a local school they more than likely will have a few ESL students and how it relates to Collier’s article. She also references how coming from a Portuguese heritage and speaking a second language herself she has a way to relate to the young children who also speak two languages. What was terrific about how she began her article was how being bilingual has helped her and how she is extremely happy to be able to speak a second language. It was also really nice to see how she wanted to use her own life experiences with two languages to encourage the students to learn to really love their own. I think this will be a huge benefit to both her and the kids that she will get to work with in the classrooms.
As Hayley gets more into what Collier was talking about in her article she mentions a few quotes that she personally liked. She quotes on that I also really thought was interesting which was “Children acquiring a second language will self-correct their own utterances over time as they progress though the various stages of life.” (128)(Collier 224) I thought this was a huge quote that not lot of teachers or people think about when they are seeing children trying to learn a second language. As children we grow up making mistakes in how we speak all the team and as we get older we start to realize that we are saying things improperly and correct ourselves. I do not think that people give that luxury to people that are learning a second language, if the second language they are learning is the primary language of the area.
The other point that Hayley brought up that I really liked was her last one on Language recognition in the classroom. I agree with Hayley and how working to teach students in standard form of English, and the student’s home language can help them to feel more comfortable with themselves and the material. Collier says “The student, because of conscious or unconscious emotional or social factors that keep him or her from taking in maximum input at that time, may miss other input.”(Collier 225) Meaning, that if children are self-conscious and are embarrassed or afraid of looking silly in front of the others around them it will cause them to not grasp the things that they are being taught. Because of this struggle, they will then fall behind even more because the things they have failed to learn the first time around may be vital to learning the next stages in what is being taught. Now, instead of being one step behind from the start they are two. This will eventually lead to failing further and further behind till it is at a point where the child is being looked at as having a problem in the particular area. This is particularly true with ESL students that will need these skills to pass standardized testing.
One thing that Hayley did not talk about that I wanted to just add in was that there are some people who think that we should (as Collier put it) “Eradicate” dialects that are not the “standard”. This method as Collier note is actually one of the worst in not the worst things that we could do for young children growing up. It has been proven that by nurturing the child and all language or dialects the second language will come to be much stronger much faster. Sadly studies have shown that ESL or ELL students are still behind.