UW: Klaus Brandl, Paul Aoki, Hedwige Meyer, Hussein Elkhafaifi;
Washington State Coalition for International Education:
Michele Anciaux Aoki; iEARN: Jennifer Geist
Review of Symposium Evaluations
We received about 34 evaluations out of 140 attendees. For complete results, review: Symposium Evaluation Summary.
In terms of logistics, a number of people mentioned that we needed a larger space (no surprise there) and a longer time. All the sessions seemed short to them, although several people were appreciative of the efforts made to "adapt" based on the larger than expected crowd.
Some key themes from the comments:
- Heritage language learning
- Bilingualism in adults
- Opportunities for students in early language programs to use their language outside of the school
- How to get officials, policymakers involved
Ideas for Next Steps
Klaus noted that the suggestions for "next steps" for the Early Language Learning Group seemed to fall primarily into the areas of:
- Policy (salaries, etc.)
- Methodology (how to teach well)
- Heritage Languages
- Development of Programs (how to organize and fund them)
- Resources, Clearinghouse
Jennifer felt that this UW group should focus on the need for more professional development in methodology and teaching practices since teacher training is a key mission of the university.
We talked about the idea of linking with the College of Education. In some ways, it makes more sense to "intercept" pre-service teachers who have language competence and encourage them to develop additional skills in early language teaching than it does to try to convert current language teachers (or native speakers) who do not have experience working with younger children into early language teachers.
The suggestion was made to develop some classes (possibly independent study) that would focus on methods for teaching in an early language learning setting. We could link these to the other work that is happening in early learning (including the Washington Learns effort, which is now recommending a cabinet-level post for Early Learning, see Washington Learns > Early Learning). We plan to see who from the UW is currently involved in the Early Learning Committee of Washington Learns.
In terms of next steps for this group, we thought we would have an informal meeting with the Early Language Learning Group and Dr. Shuhan Wang, who is coming to Seattle on January 30, 2006 for the International Education Leadership Summit that morning. The UW meeting will probably be 4-6 pm or so on January 30. Location TBD.
We would also like to follow up on the interest for more sessions, and we considered a series (perhaps once a month). We'll work out the logistics (location, time, date, funding, etc.) as a group with UW Language Board support and identify a person or two to spearhead each session.
- Bilingualism: Opportunities for Today's Adults
(See, for example, Speak Your Languages.)
- Strategies for Learning Languages using iEARN
(International Education and Resource Network)
- Heritage Languages
- Effective Techniques for Teaching Young Learners
We'd like to be able to offer free clock hours to teachers, so we'll schedule these as 3-hour sessions. The focus languages will likely be: Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, French, and German.