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If You Had a Multilingual Education, Please Come Talk to Me About It.


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#1 mom2bee

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:03 PM

Particularly if you feel that you learned enough of the language studied to genuinely function in it. 

I'd like to hear how language competency was accomplished, especially if it wasn't a language used widely in your immediate community.

 

 

 



#2 regentrude

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:11 PM

I did not exactly have a multilingual education, but I studied two foreign languages in school and achieved fluency sufficient to live and work in a country where the language is spoken. Does that count?

 



#3 mom2bee

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:19 PM

I did not exactly have a multilingual education, but I studied two foreign languages in school and achieved fluency sufficient to live and work in a country where the language is spoken. Does that count?

I can't imagine it NOT counting!

 

Can you tell me how many years and what sort of methods were used in your various foriegn languages? How was language instruction scaffolded so that it eventually became "sufficient to live and work in a country where the language is spoken"?

 

How were the 4 language skills--listening, speaking, reading,  and writing worked on?

How was grammar developed?

Did you have a native instructor in each language, each year?

 

What sort of language support system was there for the languages that you studied? Did you take private lessons outside of school?

Did your family speak the languages that you studied or anything like that?

 

Did you guys use textbooks for languages? If so, can you recall what the formatting was like or how did your school FL-texts compare to modern US FL-textbooks? (Not sure if you've seen one or not.)



#4 regentrude

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:35 PM

I can't imagine it NOT counting!

 

Can you tell me how many years and what sort of methods were used in your various foriegn languages? How was language instruction scaffolded so that it eventually became "sufficient to live and work in a country where the language is spoken"?

 

How were the 4 language skills--listening, speaking, reading,  and writing worked on?

How was grammar developed?

Did you have a native instructor in each language, each year?

 

What sort of language support system was there for the languages that you studied? Did you take private lessons outside of school?

Did your family speak the languages that you studied or anything like that?

 

Did you guys use textbooks for languages? If so, can you recall what the formatting was like or how did your school FL-texts compare to modern US FL-textbooks? (Not sure if you've seen one or not.)

 

I attended public school in East Germany. First foreign language was Russian, starting in 3rd grade. 2nd foreign language was English, starting in 5th grade. 4-5 periods per language weekly, all the way through high school. So, 10 years of Russian, 8 years of English, but I also took some English classes in college.

 

Traditional instruction. Textbook with vocabulary, grammar exercises, reading texts, comprehension questions, writing exercises, conversation prompts. Listening to teacher (very little media, some in Russian, none in English available), speaking with teacher and classmates. Memorization of vocab+ grammar (declensions + conjugations - Russian is highly inflected with 6 cases). Lots of emphasis on speaking - prepared dialog with classmates, responding to teacher questions, giving oral presentations.

 

Russian teachers had been exposed to native speakers and spent time in Soviet Union; our teacher in 11th+12th grade was native speaker who spoke no German at all. English teachers had never had the opportunity to interact with native speakers or visit a country where language was spoken.

 

We occasionally had the opportunity to speak Russian with kids from the SU. In 5th grade, geography of SU was taught completely in Russian. In 7th grade, we went on a class trip with a class of Russian kids.

 

No private lessons outside school.

Family did not speak the languages.


Edited by regentrude, 10 February 2017 - 05:42 PM.

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#5 regentrude

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:42 PM

What I noticed in FL texts in the US is that there is so much English. Our textbooks had almost no German except fro translations of vocab words. Instructions etc were all in the foreign language.


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#6 mom2bee

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:45 PM

Forgive me if I'm generalizing or stereotyping, but you being German, that means that you had 1/2 days through part of elementary school, right? 

 

I have a 8yo cousin who is growing up in Germany (his father is German, his mom is American) and he spends the morning in school and the afternoon in "day care". He visited us in the states this summer and was worried about going to the next grade( I think it's grade 4 but he said it in German, so I can't be sure). He was dreading it because then he'd have an extra hour of academics or something :lol:

 

According to him, he has about a few hours of academics, then goes to a nice long lunch+recess combo and after ward spends time in "day care" until it's time for him to go home.

 

 

 



#7 mom2bee

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:48 PM

My German cousin also did not understand when I asked him about homework. 

He said that he even has to read at home, but that's his moms doing, not the schools.

 

My cousin said "Oh, no, we do that at school, not at home." when I described to him the type of assignments I was talking about.

 

 

 

 



#8 regentrude

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:51 PM

Forgive me if I'm generalizing or stereotyping, but you being German, that means that you had 1/2 days through part of elementary school, right? 

 

I have a 8yo cousin who is growing up in Germany (his father is German, his mom is American) and he spends the morning in school and the afternoon in "day care". He visited us in the states this summer and was worried about going to the next grade( I think it's grade 4 but he said it in German, so I can't be sure). He was dreading it because then he'd have an extra hour of academics or something :lol:

 

According to him, he has about a few hours of academics, then goes to a nice long lunch+recess combo and after ward spends time in "day care" until it's time for him to go home.

 

Yes, elementary school is done by noon. Kids can eat at school and stay in aftercare, or go home. First grade is only 2-3 periods per day. Even in 10th grade, we were done by 1:10pm. But we had school on Saturdays until noon.


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#9 mom2bee

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:53 PM

What I noticed in FL texts in the US is that there is so much English. Our textbooks had almost no German except fro translations of vocab words. Instructions etc were all in the foreign language.

How did the students understand what the book wanted them to do, though?

Were your classes conducted in German or the FL?

 

For example, during FL class, did the teach speak the FL or did they speak in German or a mix of the two as necessary?

 

Was the book being IN the FL not a problem because teachers taught the basics/instructions in class?

Did the students ever have homework assignments in the FL?

 

How did instruction differ in the elementary grades, then in the upper grades?

 

About how long was a "class" when you were in Elementary school? About how long was a "class" when you were Middle/Highschool?



#10 mom2bee

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:56 PM

Yes, elementary school is done by noon. Kids can eat at school and stay in aftercare, or go home. First grade is only 2-3 periods per day. Even in 10th grade, we were done by 1:10pm. But we had school on Saturdays until noon.

Wow. Just...wow. I really like that schedule. If I had my own school, it would definitely have an "alternative" schedule.



#11 regentrude

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:08 PM

How did the students understand what the book wanted them to do, though?

Were your classes conducted in German or the FL?

 

For example, during FL class, did the teach speak the FL or did they speak in German or a mix of the two as necessary?

 

Was the book being IN the FL not a problem because teachers taught the basics/instructions in class?

Did the students ever have homework assignments in the FL?

 

How did instruction differ in the elementary grades, then in the upper grades?

 

About how long was a "class" when you were in Elementary school? About how long was a "class" when you were Middle/Highschool?

 

Class is 45 minutes. Elementary through high school, same length.

Teacher spoke some German, as much FL as possible.

"open your books", "write", "listen", "repeat after me" - you demonstrate that, repeat it a few times, kids get it. It's some of the first phrases that are memorized - before kids can even break it into individual words or understand how the imperative is formed.

 

Book has instructions in FL, but they are always the same. Copy, read, fill in, etc.

You don't actually need the native language to teach the foreign language, other than for the translations of the vocab words.

 

We had homework most days. Write vocab into vocab notebook. memorize vocab. Write sentences. Do grammar exercise. Write essay, read text and look up all unknown words...

 

Elementary obvious easier shorter exercises, easier vocab. Shorter texts, vocab controlled, geared towards learners.

Upper grades: we read original classic literature, newspapers, wrote  longer compositions, gave oral presentations on more complex topics.


Edited by regentrude, 10 February 2017 - 06:10 PM.

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#12 Arcadia

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:46 PM

I'd like to hear how language competency was accomplished, especially if it wasn't a language used widely in your immediate community.



Mine was a bilingual system. The heritage language is taught from preK by native speakers that are often ESL. No English is allowed in non-English medium classes. Since my heritage language is widely used in my home country and region (Asia), it is kind of immersive unless the family's social circles is English speaking only.

My 13 year old niece (not in US) apparently likes languages. So her language instruction is going to be:
PreK-12th English and Chinese as first/native languages
7th-12th French (spoken,written) and Malay (spoken) as third languages
So she has four language classes on top of math, science, history, physical geography, English literature, music, art. School dismissal is at 1pm, French is 3hrs after school weekly and free. The first languages are a minimum of 1.5hrs of class time per day preK to 10th. Minimum of 6 hrs per week for 11th and 12th. Kids go home for lunch for preK-10th unless they have afterschool clubs.

There is a strong French expat community back home so native French teachers aren't hard to find. Malay and Chinese speakers are everywhere.

I took German in college. My teacher is an expat from Netherlands who has teaching credentials in five languages and does translation work for side income. She teach Dutch, German, French, English and Bahasa Indonesia. Indonesia was a former Dutch colony.

The French American, German American and international schools here do hire natives as teachers. There are Russian native teachers too, a friend hired one to teach her children as her husband speaks Russian. We do have a large expat community in SF Bay Area.

What I noticed in FL texts in the US is that there is so much English. Our textbooks had almost no German except for translations of vocab words. Instructions etc were all in the foreign language.

My kids German class use textbooks from Klett which doesn't have English. WTMA German I is also using a series from Klett.
Deutsche Na Klar has so much English that my kids have a crutch. We had a free older copy from library book sales.

The Chinese textbooks for the U.S. market is also filled with English. The ones for Asia market is in Chinese only.

ETA:
This link shows availability of schools and classes in my region. We are quite spoilt for choice here.
http://www.germany.i...areagerman.html

Edited by Arcadia, 10 February 2017 - 08:08 PM.


#13 Ebunny

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 08:53 PM

Particularly if you feel that you learned enough of the language studied to genuinely function in it. 

I'd like to hear how language competency was accomplished, especially if it wasn't a language used widely in your immediate community.

 

Multilingual here (Speak 5, read/write in 4). Educated in a big metro (India), Medium of Instruction was English, and schooling 1st-5th was : First language (English), Second language (Hindi, in this case) and third language (State or regional language).

 

From 6th-10th: 1st language: English (MoI), Second language: State language, and choice for third language between foreign language (French, German, Spanish etc) and Ancient Indian language (Sanskrit).

 

11th-12th: English and 2nd language (choice b/w National and state)

 

Classes from 1st to 12th were taught by native speakers of that language, homework was a mix of : Grammar, reading a chapter and answering questions based on that chapter (long and short responses), essays, MCQs,. Tested orally and written. Expected to know arithmetic (counting, telling time etc) in the studied language too.

 

Grammar + literature studies in all formally studied languages. All languages (except Sanskrit) studied at school were/are used in my immediate community.

 

ETA: I forgot to mention that I speak more languages than I learned in school because my native language is distinct and not a part of my birth state schooling system. I picked up another regional language as an adult, but can't write/read in it due to lack of consistent formal study/practice.

 

ETA 2: Spoke native language at home, English at school, Switch between English+Hindi+state language with everyone else (friends, neighbors etc).


Edited by Ebunny, 10 February 2017 - 09:02 PM.

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#14 Mshokie

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 09:55 PM

My education was multilingual, mostly by virtue of living in different countries at different points of my childhood. My family was German, but we lived in France when I was preschool age. So, I went to half-day daycare for 2 years. It was all in French, but I did have a French-as-second-language pull-out session maybe once a week. I ended up speaking better French than my parents by the time I was 5.
We moved back to Germany before I turned 6 and started 1st grade. My parents made no effort to maintain French. They sent me to private English lessons when I was in 4th grade. In 5th grade, we started English class in school.
We moved to the US just before I started 6th grade. So, then all of my education was in English, including a few months of English-as-a-Second-Language. In 7th grade, I started taking French but switched to Spanish the following year, because the French teacher kept using me to pronounce words correctly for her.
For high school, I applied to a Spanish immersion magnet school. While I was there, I took math, history, and Spanish in Spanish, though our textbooks were in English. I ended up leaving after a semester because of transportation issues and continued with regular high school, but I took Spanish all the way through 12th grade.

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#15 smootwater

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 11:52 PM

I grew up multilingual, I am Hungarian who grew up in Romania. From first grade I had 3 languages, Hungarian, Romanian and German taken in school. Hungarian and Romanian every day, German 3 x a week.  We had only 4 hours of school a day, 50 min long classes with 10 -15 min recess.  

 

In middle school, from 5th grade, I had to take Russian too, twice per week and Latin in 7 and 8th grades.  In middle school we had 5 or 6 classes per day, same format with 50 min class and 10-15 min recess.  

 

In high school the school dropped Latin, but all the other 4 languages stayed till the end.  During high school we had usually 6 classes , if we had 7 classes it was ART or PE class that day and we schooled 6 days a week.

 

Since I attended a Hungarian school all the classes were taught by  native Hungarian teachers, the Romanian by a native Romanian, but the German and Russian languages were not native teachers, but were excellent professors without any accent.  All classes were conducted only in that corresponding language, rarely did the teachers instruct us in our native language.

 

All the languages had, phonetic instruction in elementary, lots of reading, poetry memorization, grammar, literature, copy work, narration, talking in class, outside in the real world, lots of translations in German and Russian,  essays...  We were also tested orally and in writing, but not multiple choice questions :)

 

After high school I traveled a lot, and living in Spain I picked up Spanish in a month.   I learned English when I came to the USA  but I still have a strong accent!

4 Year college here was easy, it corresponded to a high school level education back home only in English.

 

When I went to Indonesia several years ago,  I met several tour guides;  one in Borobudur had excellent English accent.  I asked him where did he learned to speak so well?  He said he never left Indonesia, or his hometown, he learned it watching BBC and other TV channels that he had access to. Amazing, what people can achieve if they want it.  

 

My son, 10 yo, currently learns 3 languages, English, Hungarian, Latin.  He wants to start French (that I do not speak at all:) and Spanish too.  

 

 


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#16 Roadrunner

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 09:57 PM

I have family members who went to bilingual schools. They had the first half of a day (4 hours) in one language, then a long lunch, and then another four hours of school in a second language. They had a two hour break every day for lunch to go home and relax.
Math was taught in both languages. They had two version of books for math. Science was taught in one language only and history in another language only. Literature, grammar, writing, spelling for each language was done daily. A third foreign language was added in 5th grade, but not much time was devoted to it.

#17 Gabriel

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 11:34 AM

Hi,

My native language is Romanian, but I studied intensive French for 8 years and English for 10. I am a student in the US now and use only English at home/work/school. My wife and I are preparing ourselves to teach our baby daughter Romanian and English at a "native speaker level." If I can be of help, let me know.



#18 Laetissima

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 05:35 AM

I grew up in a monolingual family in the US. Around 7 or 8 I decided to learn French--I really don't know why I chose French. I guess I wanted something different. I had never heard a word of French in my life except for learning "Frère Jacques" in preschool. My mom got me a cassette with a few children's songs and a booklet to go with it and I listened to it until the recording tape inside disintegrated. I found a set of basic vocabulary flashcards from the 1960s at a swapmeet and studied them obsessively.  I read the kids' novel "The Avion my Uncle Flew" again and again.

 

When I was in 8th grade (finally!) my school offered a year of beginning French so of course I signed up and worked very hard to absorb everything possible. I then skipped a few years of school and when I started college I signed up for French 2. I stayed with French lit as my secondary major. The Internet was just barely starting to exist but I spent extra hours in the language lab listening to the cassettes and doing the exercises. I rented all the French films they had at the video store. I laboriously read every French book the library had to offer. Madame Bovary is hard when you're a beginner, even a determined beginner with a big dictionary at hand. I dawdled after class to try to talk more with my professors and practically stalked the very few native-speaker students I could find so I could practice speaking with them. As soon as it became possible, I began watching the TF1 French evening news (with terrible sound and image quality) on the web every day. 

 

At the end of college I moved to France. First through an exchange program and soon after as a regular foreign student, I enrolled in college here and got more degrees in French literature. I now work as an editor and translator. I can read or understand lots of other languages but French and English are really the only two I consider myself to have mastered. Generally people don't know I am not a native speaker/writer. 

 

I can only imagine what it would have been like had a bilingual school been available, if I had had some foreign-language speakers in my family, if I had had access to some of the global media that we now have. Then again, perhaps a second language would not have seemed so unattainable and exotic and I would not have applied myself so much. 


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