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Bilingual Basics

Bilingual Basics News, Volume 6:2 (November 2004)

by User Not Found | 11/03/2011
In This Issue...
  • Leadership Updates
    • Note from the Editor
    • BEIS Newsletter Mission Statement
  • Articles and Information
    • Bridging the Home-School Divide in Chinese- and English-Speaking Children's Bilingual Development: Some Guidelines
    • The Role of Second Language Acquisition in First Language Attrition
    • Literacy Across the Curriculum: Myth, Mystery, or Biliteracy: The Case of Mathematics Education
    • Reading Between the Signs: Nurturing Critical and Creative Thinking Through Deaf Children’s Literature
  • Convention Updates
    • TESOL 2005: BEIS/TEDS Discussion Groups
    • TESOL 2005: BEIS/TEDS Presentations
  • About This Member Community
    • Spring 2005 BEIS E-newsletter: Call for Manuscripts
    • About This Member Community

Leadership Updates Note from the Editor

Shelley K. Taylor, e-mail, Faculty of Education/French Department, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

This issue contains information regarding BEIS presenters at TESOL 2005 (paper and discussion group sessions), the e-newsletter mission statement, a call for papers for the spring e-newsletter, and four articles. The articles included in this issue are not theme-based, but all address issues identified in the BEIS mission statement. That is, they deal with educational and sociopolitical issues in pre-K through postsecondary bilingual educational settings seen in international perspective. Topics range from L1 maintenance resulting from proactive measures to ensure additive bilingualism, to L1 attrition, to content-based instruction in mathematics education and the development of biliteracy, to an application of Alma Flor Ada's (1988a, 1988b) creative reading methodology in deaf education.

The first article is "Bridging the Home–School Divide in Chinese- and English-Speaking Children's Bilingual Development: Some Guidelines," by Yu Liu and Shelley K. Taylor. The second article is "The Role of Second Language Acquisition in First Language Attrition," by Merel C. J. Keijzer. The third article is "Literacy Across the Curriculum: Myth, Mystery, or Biliteracy? The Case of Mathematics Education," by Donna Kotsopoulos. The fourth and final article is "Reading Between the Signs: Nurturing Critical and Creative Thinking Through Deaf Children's Literature," by Kelly Akerman.

Please send brief articles (max. 2500 words) on assessing bilingual learners to Nancy Dubetz at for the spring issue of the e-newsletter.

Finally, please note that articles that appear in the BEIS e-newsletter with bylines are not copyrighted by TESOL or the interest section. Authors retain copyright of their own work. Although TESOL encourages readers to share the contents of the newsletter with interested colleagues and students, articles may not be reprinted or posted online without the express written permission of the author. Many thanks.


Ada, A. F. (1988a). Creative reading: A relevant methodology for language minority children. In L. M. Malavé (Ed.), NABE '87. Theory, research and application: Selected papers (pp. 102–110). Buffalo: State University of New York.

Ada, A. F. (1988b). The Pajaro Valley experience: Working with Spanish-speaking parents to develop children's reading and writing skills in the home through the use of children's literature. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas & J. Cummins (Eds.), Minority education: From shame to struggle (pp. 223–238). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

BEIS Newsletter Mission Statement Purpose

The goal of the BEIS Newsletter is to provide a forum for the discussion of educational and sociopolitical issues in pre-K through postsecondary bilingual educational settings around the world.


The BEIS Newsletter is oriented to practitioners and teacher educators working in bilingual education programs around the world.


The BEIS Newsletter serves as a vehicle for the expression of ideas and scholarship related to teaching and learning in bilingual classroom settings. The newsletter also takes an advocacy position with respect to bilingual education. It includes articles, research summaries, book reviews, convention information, and general commentary.

Approved at the 2004 annual business meeting on March 31, 2004.

Articles and Information Bridging the Home-School Divide in Chinese- and English-Speaking Children's Bilingual Development: Some Guidelines

By Yu Liu and Shelley K. Taylor, e-mail: &, The University of Western Ontario.


This paper examines how to bridge the home-school language divide to foster additive bilingual development in children. The focus is on the children of recent Chinese immigrants. Their parents and educators need to be jointly involved in encouraging them to learn English while maintaining their Chinese. But they need guidelines to achieve this goal. The guidelines presented in the present paper are the result of a six-month-long investigation into this topic.

The child discussed in this study is the first author's son, Zhongzhong. His bilingual development was tracked from the moment he arrived in North America from China. Though he is a preschooler, many lessons learned from his bilingual development can be applied to new arrivals at other levels of schooling.

Research supports the value of parents' insights into their children's development and school success (Cummins, 2001a; Lenhart & Roskos, 2003; Paratore, Melzi, & Krol-Sinclair, 2003); however, the issue of just how parents can best support their children's bilingual development deserves further study. This study addresses this issue by providing informed guidelines for parents and teachers alike.

Additive and Subtractive Bilingualism

Many Chinese parents hope their children will become proficient in two languages: Chinese, their home language, and English, the language of broader society and schooling. They want their children to learn Chinese to maintain a sense of Chinese identity (Fillmore, 2000). These parents also recognize the need to learn English to function in school and other social settings. Without knowing the term, they endorse additive bilingualism.

For children, additive bilingualism means gaining a second language, usually the language of schooling, without shifting away from or losing their first language (L1; Lambert, 1987). This is more likely to occur if a child's "two languages are sufficiently valued" (Hamers & Blanc, 2000, p. 29). Only then can a child derive maximum cognitive benefit from the bilingual experience (see also Cummins, 2001b; Guardado, 2002; Fillmore, 1991; Skutnabb-Kangas, 2003). Parents and teachers need guidelines on how to value both languages and thereby avoid subtractive bilingualism.

Children exposed to one language at home and another at school, at the expense of the home language, experience subtractive bilingualism (Fillmore, 1991; Skutnabb-Kangas, 1981). This is exactly the situation in which many Chinese children find themselves. That being said, what can parents and teachers do to maintain recent Chinese immigrant children's L1, and why should they?

L1, Identity, and Success in Later Life

Fillmore (2000) and Goldstein (2003) point out the importance of bridging the home-school divide. Both home and school are important because, combined, they account for the two major forces in a child's bilingual development. Fillmore (2000) stresses that families play a crucial role in fostering children's identity development. She links positive identity development in childhood to success in later life. Fillmore (2000) recommends that "parents and teachers should [work] together to find . . . ways to support children's development and retention of their primary languages" (p. 11). Parents and teachers work together when

  • parents know the importance of being involved in their children's schooling
  • parents find time to support the school's efforts
  • teachers help parents understand the significance of maintaining their L1 at home, even if it is not supported at school (Fillmore, 2000, p. 11)

Goldstein (2003) also addresses the school's role in maintaining children's L1. To support minority language children's L1 at school, she endorses English and multilingual classroom activities. She does not endorse English-only classrooms. Rather, Goldstein feels that there is a time and a place to promote English: "It all [depends] on [a child's] knowledge, skill, and discourse development . . . in the learning activities" (Goldstein, 2003, p. 130). Recent immigrant children who are rank beginners in their L2 should be encouraged to use their L1 in the classroom.

How can this be orchestrated? One suggestion is for children to draft a presentation in their L1 and present it in their L2 (Goldstein, 2003). Using children's L1 to support their L2 learning is akin to providing a bridge or scaffold.

Scaffolding: What, Where, Why, and How? What Is Scaffolding?

Vygotsky's zone of proximal development is a metaphor for the space in which children's present level of development expands to meet their potential. Their ability level increases when "problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers" in the zone (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 81). More capable others serve as a bridge between two developmental levels: They provide scaffolding between children's ability unassisted and their potential ability.1

In Zhongzhong's case, scaffolding reinforced his understanding of both languages. Before we discuss how to establish a home-school bridge that provides scaffolding, details of Zhongzhong's case are needed.

Why Scaffold? Some of Both, but Neither One nor the Other

Zhongzhong's situation is fairly typical of recently arrived Chinese children. Born in China, he came to North America a year ago, three months before his third birthday. In the medium-sized Canadian city in which he now resides, Zhongzhong is surrounded by his L2. His L1 is no longer the dominant language of his milieu.

Before arriving in Canada, Zhongzhong's dominant language was Mandarin Chinese. By the time he arrived, he had already mastered the Roman alphabet and could print the 26 letters. Soon after his arrival, he began attending an English-medium daycare on a full-time basis. Within six months, he had acquired many English expressions. He did not have an English-medium home setting to draw on, unlike his dominant group peers. Therefore, he required scaffolding to facilitate his acquisition of English.

After he arrived in North America, Zhongzhong's exposure to Chinese was also limited. His parents became his major sources of Chinese input.2Zhongzhong is exposed to Chinese only at home in the morning and evening, and on weekends. Although his parents speak mainly speak Chinese at home, they speak English to him occasionally.

Where and Why? Scaffolding at Home

The first author and her husband believe it is necessary to primarily speak Chinese to Zhongzhong at home. They also introduce some English vocabulary to help him understand his school experience. They feel that, because of Zhongzhong's young age, he lacks background knowledge of North American and Chinese culture to translate his experiences. By introducing English terms to bridge his home-school experiences, they are providing scaffolding.

Zhongzhong's learning of English as a second language was never entirely a by-product of natural communication. It involved scaffolding that combined explicit instruction and natural communication. Zhongzhong's parents explicitly taught him the 26-letter English alphabet at age two, when he was still in China. He also learned the alphabet by watching an English-as-a-foreign-language video series, Show Mark.3 After teaching Zhongzhong the alphabet, they began teaching him how to spell simple words. He received explicit L2 instruction.

After Zhongzhong arrived in North America, his parents exposed him to explicit bilingual instruction at the i +1 level (Krashen, 1982).4 They consciously used scaffolding to build Zhongzhong's knowledge of his two languages by

  • teaching L2 words for parts of the body that Zhongzhong already knew in his L1
  • teaching one L2 word for each of the 26 letters, which he already knew
  • printing the L1 translation of those words and practicing reading the translation

Activities such as these link explicit instruction and natural communication. They also allow Zhongzhong to benefit from learning two languages. By bridging the two language learning situations, both are valorized. The next section outlines some of the strategies used to bridge Zhongzhong's home-school activities.

Where and Why? Home-School Scaffolding

Zhongzhong's North American daycare education started in November 2003. When his mother picked him up from daycare one day, a month later, she noticed something disturbing: While his teacher and peers were decorating a Christmas tree, Zhongzhong was wandering aimlessly around the other end of the classroom.

His teacher's explanations about the significance of Christmas in English were incomprehensible to him. For him to understand the significance of daycare activities, he needed a home-school bridge. Fortunately, his daycare teachers were caring and experienced with young international children. They were receptive to the idea of a home-school bridge. The following outlines the routine they established:

  • Zhongzhong's teachers did a recall of the major activities of the day when his parents picked him up at the end of the day.
  • Zhongzhong's teachers asked him questions in front of his parents, emphasizing key words to practice or learn in English.
  • At home, Zhongzhong's parents talked to him about his daycare activities.
  • Through discussion, they linked his daycare and home activities.
  • They drew on key vocabulary in both languages.
  • Every Monday morning, Zhongzhong's parents told his teachers about noteworthy family activities over the weekend.
  • Zhongzhong's teachers discussed his home activities with him during the school day.

The practice of linking Zhongzhong's home-school activities enabled him to build his Chinese and English vocabulary on the basis of his real-life experiences.

How? A Thematic Approach

The theme-based daycare calendar was another important component of the bridge. The following episode illustrates how scaffolding was built around this pedagogical tool.

In early April, one of the weekly themes listed on the daycare calendar was Easter. This was Zhongzhong's first experience with Easter. At home, his parents told him the Chinese word for Easter. They explained to him in Chinese that a rabbit called the Easter Bunny comes on Easter Sunday; they told Zhongzhong that the Easter Bunny brings children colorful eggs and candies. His parents also taught him thematically linked English words and bought him a dozen plastic eggs. In the days leading up to Easter, they talked about it every day.

Finally, Easter arrived. This time, Zhongzhong did not act lost at daycare. He was very excited when his teachers painted his face like a bunny. They told him and the other children that the Easter Bunny had brought eggs and candies while they were having a nap. His parents knew he understood the daycare activities that time. How? In English, he told them, "Bunny says, ‘Hop, hop'," while he hopped and laughed all the way home from daycare.

Zhongzhong's Easter experience suggests that providing linguistic and cultural background knowledge heightened the significance of his daycare activities for him. Explicitly teaching him Chinese and English vocabulary allowed him to make sense of the situation. His daycare life became meaningful. The advance preparation he received created the home-school bridge he needed to develop additive bilingualism.

Value-Added Scaffolding

How can the home-school link be made stronger? Chinese parents want to know about the books their children read at school, their lunch menus, and the songs they learn. Many parents of recently arrived children are unfamiliar with North American culture. The more they know about their children's school day, the better scaffolding they can provide. With more information, the more they can valorize their children's L2 world.

Children's home cultures and languages also need to be valorized at school. Simple practices could make Zhongzhong proud of his heritage language and culture: His teachers could let him recite some Chinese poems, or read and print simple Chinese characters. They could also praise him for knowing Chinese. Value-added practices such as these foster the development of additive bilingualism.


This analysis of Zhongzhong's bilingual experience illustrates how a home-school bridge can be established and why it is beneficial. Once this bridge is established, parents can also learn English thematically and can learn more about North American culture. To successfully establish a home-school bridge, teachers must keep an open mind about bilingual children's needs and backgrounds. They must also learn about their pupils' lives outside school. Finally, they must also know what kind of scaffolding newcomers need.

To summarize, here are some guidelines for establishing a home-school bridge:

  • Teachers and parents must learn with children, and from them.
  • Parents and teachers must stay in contact and support each other.
  • Teachers and parents must stay informed of children's activities at home and at school.
  • Parents and teachers must feel free to ask about each other's language and culture.
  • Teachers and parents must encourage L1 maintenance at home and school.
  • By allowing children to draw on their L1 at school and by valorizing their L1, teachers increase the likelihood of children developing additive bilingualism.
  • Parents must discuss cultural events and school activities at home in the children's L1, drawing on English where appropriate.
  • By learning English thematically, along with their children, parents act as role models and valorize L2 learning.

Teachers and parents who follow these guidelines can learn about new languages and cultures while helping recently arrived children with their schooling. They can also grow with the children. And they can share the benefits of the additive bilingualism they are promoting by establishing a home-school bridge.


Antonacci, P. A. (2000). Reading in the zone of proximal development: Mediating literacy development in beginner readers through guided reading. Reading Horizons, 41(1), 19-34.

Cummins, J. (2001a). Linguistic interdependence and the educational development of bilingual children. In C. Baker & N. Hornberger (Eds.), An introductory reader to the writings of Jim Cummins (pp. 63-95). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Cummins, J. (2001b). The three faces of language proficiency. Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society (pp. 59-84). Los Angeles: California Association for Bilingual Education.

Fillmore, L. W. (1991). When learning a second language means losing the first. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 6, 323-346.

Fillmore, L. W. (2000). The loss of family languages: Should educators be concerned? Theory into Practice: Children and Languages at School, 39(4), 203-211.

Goldstein, T. (2003). Teaching and learning in a multilingual school: Choices, risks and dilemmas. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Guardado, M. (2002). Loss and maintenance of first language skills: Case studies of Hispanic families in Vancouver. Canadian Modern Language Review, 58(3), 341-363.

Hamers, J. F., & Blanc, M. H. A. (2000). Bilinguality and bilingualism (2nd ed.). Cambridge, England/New York: Cambridge University Press.

Krashen, S. D. (1982). Second language acquisition theory: Providing input for acquisition. In S. D. Krashen, Principles and practice in second language acquisition (pp. 9-82). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Lambert, W. (1987). The effects of bilingual and bicultural experiences on children's attitudes and social perspectives. In P. Homel, M. Paliz, & D. Aaronson (Eds.), Childhood bilingualism: Aspects of linguistic, cognitive and social development (pp. 197-222). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Lenhart, L., & Roskos, K. (2003). What Hannah taught Emma and why it matters? In D. M. Barone & L. Mandel Morrow (Eds.), Literacy and young children: Research-based practices (pp. 83-100). New York: Guilford Press.

Paratore, J. R., Melzi, G., & Krol-Sinclair, B. (2003). Learning about the literate lives of Latino families. In D. M. Barone & L. Mandel Morrow (Eds.), Literacy and young children: Research-based practices (pp. 101-118). New York: Guilford Press.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1981). Bilingualism or not? The education of minorities. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (2003). Linguistic diversity and biodiversity: The threat from killer languages. In C. Mair (Ed.), The politics of English as a world language: New horizons in postcolonial cultural studies, Cross culture 65, ASNEL Papers, 7, 32-52.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.


1 For further discussion, see Antonacci (2000, p. 24).

2 For further discussion, see Krashen (1982).

3 Show Mark is a program designed for young English learners in China. It starts with the introduction of the English alphabet and moves on to more sophisticated knowledge. It exposes young learners to both oral and written forms of Chinese and English. More information given in Chinese is available at

4 According to Krashen (1982), "i" represents the current level of linguistic competence, and "i + 1" represents the next level (pp. 20-21).

The Role of Second Language Acquisition in First Language Attrition

By Merel C. J. Keijzer, e-mail, Free University Amsterdam.

Language Influence in First Language Attrition

The main focus of language attrition research is usually on the loss component of the attrition process; however, it is equally important to consider what triggers the attrition of language skills. This is especially true where nonpathological language attrition is concerned. Nearly every study on language attrition to date has employed van Els' four-way attrition taxonomy (1986, p. 4). It is indeed useful to examine van Els' taxonomy to understand what triggers attrition.

According to van Els' model, language attrition can occur in four ways: (a) a mother tongue or first language (L1) is lost in an L1 environment (e.g., dialect loss); (b) a second language (L2) is lost in an L1 environment (e.g., an L2 acquired in a mostly educational environment is lost as a result of nonuse); (c) an L2 is lost in an L2 environment, a phenomenon referred to as language reversion (e.g., elderly immigrants); and, finally, (d) an L1 is lost in an L2 environment.

It is perhaps the last form of language attrition that is most intriguing: How can an L1 ever be lost and, moreover, what role does an L2 play in this process? Language reversion, the opposite of language attrition, also plays an important role in this process. Immigrants not only experience language breakdown; they also revert to their L1 later in life. Both phenomena hamper communication, either between immigrants and their friends and relatives back home, or by way of intergenerational communication problems in their adopted homelands.

How Can a Mother Tongue Ever Be Lost?

This question is difficult to answer as previous research findings on L1 attrition tend to be ambiguous. Whereas most studies have shown that L1 attrition is at least possible (see Schmid, 2004a, for an extensive bibliography), other studies were unable to find any evidence of L1 attrition (e.g., Schoenmakers-Klein Gunnewiek, 1998). This discrepancy may be primarily attributed to the incorrect and inconsistent use of methodologies in past attrition studies (Schmid, 2004b; Keijzer, in press). A review of past studies, however, leads to the following measured conclusion: L1 attrition occurs as a result of exposure to an L2 and lack of exposure to an L1 or, more likely, to a combination of the two.

What Role Does a Second Language Play in Mother Tongue Loss?

It is difficult to unravel the role that L2 exposure plays in L1 loss because of the number of factors involved. Most attrition researchers acknowledge that L2 exposure triggers L1 attrition to a large extent (Schmid & Köpke, 2004); however, the interface between L2 acquisition, L1 attrition, and sociolinguistic variables such as age, gender, and educational level is too vast to be investigated in a single study. In summary, it is safe to conclude that the L2 exposure does influence L1 proficiency. There is no conclusive evidence, however, as to the exact nature of this influence. This topic needs to be examined in a more controlled way in the future.

The Invisible Dutch: The Attrition of Dutch in North America

When L1 attrition in an L2 environment is examined, Dutch immigrants in North America are an especially interesting group to observe. The Dutch reportedly lose their language at a much earlier stage than do comparable emigrant groups such as Germans (de Bot & Clyne, 1994). Consequently, it is rare for second-generation Dutch immigrants to still be fluent in Dutch. This has earned them the label of the invisible Dutch (Schryer, 1998).

The rate at which the Dutch lose their L1 is reflected in the attrition research conducted on Dutch communities worldwide (note especially the volume dealing with Dutch overseas edited by Klatter-Folmer & Kroon, 1997). Still, not much research has been done on the L1 attrition of Dutch immigrants to Canada. This is surprising, given that approximately 200,000 Dutch immigrants landed in Canada between 1946 and 1990 (Schryer, 1998, p. 1).

The Study: L1 Attrition Among Dutch Immigrants After Long-Term Stays in Canada

Fifty Dutch adults with a mean duration of stay of approximately 35 years were contacted. They resided in the province of Ontario. This study is one part of a large-scale research project currently being conducted at the Free University of Amsterdam.

The participants completed a variety of tasks in their L1. For example, free spoken data was elicited from them. They also completed more controlled language tasks (for an overview of elicitation methods used, see Keijzer, in press). The data collection process was far from straightforward. It was often complicated by emotional factors involved in L1 attrition.

Reactions to L1 Loss as a Result of L2 Dominance

L1 attrition in an L2 environment occurs so gradually that some participants in this study discovered the extent to which their Dutch skills had decayed only during our interview. The link between emotion and language (loss) is interesting and has received much in-depth attention recently (DeWaele, 2004). A more in-depth focus on this topic goes beyond the bounds of the present paper. Suffice to say that individuals experience a great sense of loss when they realize that they have not developed bilingual skills in both Dutch and English; instead, English has taken over the role of L1 at the expense of Dutch. The following extract illustrates the importance of L1 retention and sense of loss that immigrants experience.

This extract is based on one participant's reaction to a film retelling task:

Mr. S.: oh ja (.) hij had een werkplaats een boatyard (.) oh ik moet het in het Hollands zeggen? Oh scheep (2.0) h ok well he got kicked out of there because he got the wedge out and what else what else (.) oh he's looking for work (oh yes (.) he had a place to work a - boatyard - oh I have to do say it in Dutch? Oh ship (2.0)…)
Researcher: kunt u het in het Nederlands proberen? (could you try to do it in Dutch?)
Mr. S.: (sighs deeply) ok (2.0) no way (.) yeah well so (3.0) no there's no way (shouts to his wife) I can't Syl
Wife: sure you can
Mr. S.: (angry now) no
Wife: why can't you?
Mr. S.: (whisper) I can't translate it fast enough
Wife: you don't have to do it fast
Mr. S.: (irritated) or else we'll be here till tomorrow morning

The excerpt provided above from a Dutch attriter not only illustrates how he has acquired English as his L2; it also shows that English has taken over as his L1.

Heritage Language Classes: Maintaining L1 Dutch or Dutch as a Second Language?

Heritage language classes were set up in Canada to maintain Dutch and numerous other immigrant languages. These language classes count as high school credits in the Canadian school system. Vermeer (1997) examined Dutch heritage language classes in Canada. He also considered their effect on the language proficiency of the children and grandchildren of Dutch immigrants (i.e., intergenerational transmission of the Dutch language).

Intergenerational Transmission of Dutch

Vermeer noted a striking commonality in the general level of Dutch that children obtained in Dutch heritage language classes: Their language level was very poor, especially with regard to morphological skills. A vocabulary measurement also indicated that they were years behind their peers in the Netherlands in terms of lexical development. Their receptive skills were, however, much better than their productive skills. As the home language of the majority of the children was English, Vermeer concluded that heritage language classes were insufficient to maintain Dutch. He felt that Dutch would eventually disappear off the (linguistic) map within the Canadian context. This did not bode well for intergenerational transmission of the language.

Dutch Heritage Language Classes: A Misnomer?

Some might argue that heritage language classes are not language retention classes at all; rather, they constitute second language classes. Such a shift in perspective as this would have far-reaching consequences for how Dutch heritage language classes should be taught.

Language Reversion Among Elderly First-Generation Immigrants and Its Consequences

Much emigration took place from the Netherlands to Canada between 1946 and 1958 (Schryer, 1998). Therefore, many Dutch immigrants in Canada can now be classified as elderly. What can often be witnessed in this group is the phenomenon of language reversion: reverting back to one's L1 as one gets older (de Bot & Clyne, 1989; Olshtain, 1989). Even immigrants previously diagnosed as language attriters can experience reversion. In their case, Dutch proficiency overturns English proficiency and reclaims its former L1 status. Although related evidence is largely anecdotal, cases have been reported where immigrants suffering from dementia revert back to their L1 completely.

Intergenerational communication is greatly hampered when first-generation immigrants formerly fluent in English revert back to Dutch and younger generations no longer master the heritage language. The level of Dutch that the young people attained in Dutch heritage language classes is insufficient to prevent communication breakdown. This may grow into a pressing social issue that needs to be adequately dealt with. Therefore, future research needs to address reversion issues more directly and explicitly.


A prerequisite for success for immigrant groups in Canada is acquiring English as a second language. The examples of language attrition presented in this paper have also shown the downsides of the language conformation that takes place within the North American Dutch community.

This discussion has been very explorative. Nonetheless, this paper illustrates the need for future research in the area of language attrition. Ideally, this research should combine several academic perspectives, such as L2 acquisition, bilingualism, and/or sociolinguistics. A broad lens is needed to study this phenomenon as L1 attrition is often accompanied by social and sociolinguistic problems. For the first generation, it often entails a personal loss that can evoke emotional reactions. For subsequent generations, it can result in intergenerational communication breakdown. Immigrant populations are on the rise in North America. Therefore, it is important to support both their English-as-a-second-language development and their heritage language maintenance. How best to do so is a pressing issue that has to be dealt with now more than ever.


Bot, K. de, & Clyne, M. (1989). Language reversion revisited. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 11(2),167-177.

Bot, K. de, & Clyne, M. (1994). A 16 year longitudinal study of language attrition in Dutch immigrants in Australia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 15(1),17-28.

DeWaele, J.-M. (2004). Perceived language dominance and language preference for emotional speech: The implications for attrition research. In M. S. Schmid, B. Köpke, M. Keijzer, & L. Weilemar (Eds.), First language attrition: Interdisciplinary perspectives on methodological issues (pp. 81-104). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Els, T. Van. (1986). An overview of European research on language attrition. In B. Weltens, K. de Bot, & T. van Els (Eds.), Language attrition in progress (pp. 3-18). Dordrecht[country]: Foris.

Keijzer, M. C. J. (in press.). [Update? If this is a manuscript in preparation, please provide year written]Methodological problems in the study of first language attrition. Georgia Working Papers in Linguistics.

Klatter-Folmer, J., & Kroon, S. (Eds.). (1997). Dutch overseas: Studies in maintenance and loss of Dutch as an immigrant language. Tilburg, the Netherlands: Tilburg University Press.

Olshtain, E. (1989). Is second language attrition the reversal of second language acquisition? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 11(2),151-165.

Schmid, M. S. (2004a). Language attrition research: An annotated bibliography. In M. S. Schmid, B. Köpke, M. Keijzer, & L. Weilemar (Eds.), First language attrition: Interdisciplinary perspectives on methodological issues (pp. 317-348). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schmid, M. S. (2004b). A new blueprint for language attrition research. In M. S. Schmid, B. Köpke, M. Keijzer, & L. Weilemar (Eds.), First language attrition: Interdisciplinary perspectives on methodological issues (pp. 349-363). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schmid, M. S., & Köpke, B. (2004). Language attrition: The next phase. In M. S. Schmid, B. Köpke, M. Keijzer, & L. Weilemar (Eds.), First language attrition: Interdisciplinary perspectives on methodological issues (pp. 1-43). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Schoenmakers-Klein Gunnewiek, M. (1998). Taalverlies door taalcontact? Een onderzoek bij Portugese migranten (Language attrition through language contact? A study dealing with Portuguese migrants). Tilburg, the Netherlands: Tilburg University Press.

Schryer, F. J. (1998). The Netherlandic presence in Ontario: Pillars, class and Dutch ethnicity. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

Vermeer, A. (1997). Language maintenance and the Dutch heritage language school in Ottawa. In J. Klatter-Folmer & S. Kroon (Eds.), Dutch overseas: Studies in maintenance and loss of Dutch as an immigrant language (pp. 139-151). Tilburg, the Netherlands: Tilburg University Press.

Literacy Across the Curriculum: Myth, Mystery, or Biliteracy: The Case of Mathematics Education

By Donna Kotsopoulos, e-mail, The University of Western Ontario.

The Complexities of Literacy Development in Mathematics Education

There are antecedents for the current call for literacy across the curriculum (National Council of Teachers of English, 1996; Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, 2003). Nonetheless, the complexities of literacy development in content-based disciplines such as mathematics are frequently underestimated. Increasingly, second language (L2) educators have identified materials and approaches that prioritize literacy concerns in content-based instruction (CBI; Chamot & O'Malley, 1994; Dale & Cuevas, 1992; Echevarria, Vogt, & Short, 2000). On the other hand, mainstream educators[1] continue to find their role of developing literacy within the parameters of CBI challenging. This holds major implications for the L2 learners in their classrooms.

Two interrelated complexities challenge literacy initiatives in content-based disciplines. First, literacy may be uniquely defined within a discipline. As such, it may be at odds with conventional notions of literacy (e.g., reading and writing). Second, content-specific language registers may function independently of more familiar academic or home language registers. The following is an attempt to deconstruct these complexities and consider the pedagogical implications of CBI in mathematics.

Theoretical Underpinnings

Cummins' (2000) work on the development of cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP) supports related research which suggests that it takes five to seven years for L2 learners to develop CALP. During this period, individual students' CALP varies, as does the overall length of time they require to attain native-like levels of CALP. This variance has implications for how literacy learning and teaching are conceived in mathematics education.[2]

The length of time students require to acquire a mathematics-specific language register also varies. Thus, students may be at different stages of proficiency in the mathematical register at any given time. This variance is compounded where L2 learners are concerned. The possible degree and sources of variance among learners must be considered when literacy development in the content-specific register of mathematics is being discussed.

Literacy instruction in content-based disciplines requires explicit language instruction and pedagogical approaches akin to those used to teach L2 literacy skills. Findings drawn from L2 acquisition research can, therefore, inform CBI for L2 and first language learners alike in mainstream classrooms.

A Linguistic Approach to Mathematics Education

Topics discussed in this section include mathematics as a language register, biliteracy, diglossia, conventional interpretations of literacy, and mathematical literacy.

MLR: The Mathematics Language Register

A key obstacle impeding literacy across the curriculum initiatives in the mathematics classroom is the mathematics language register (MLR), a distinct language register. For some seventh grade mathematics students, listening to classroom discourse about geometric transformations may seem like hearing a foreign language. The words of their peers and teacher may be familiar, yet unfamiliar.

A significant body of research explains this phenomenon by suggesting that mathematics has a distinct language register. MLR uses natural language in alternative and/or unique ways (Dale & Cuevas, 1992; National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000; Pimm, 1987; Winslow, 1998). Words such as ifand then take on new and often confusing meanings in mathematics. Literacy development in CBI is dependent upon oral, written, and symbolic proficiency in MLR. One may argue that students are developing not only mathematical literacy but also biliteracy.


The term biliteracy is commonly used to describe literacy development in two different languages. It is not commonly applied to literacy development in monolingual contexts involving varieties of one language (Hornberger, 2003; Martin-Jones & Jones, 2000; Street, 2001). Hornberger (2003) argues that the term does apply in monolingual settings; "the functions and uses to which different varieties and styles are put in a monolingual individual or society are the same ones to which different languages are put in a bilingual individual or society" (p. 14). Therefore, English speakers literate in a conventional sense, and in MLR, may be seen as biliterate because of diglossia.

Literacy in Mathematics Education as Diglossia

Recognition of MLR allows for a novel application and interpretation of diglossia. In mathematics, a diglossic situation exists because the same language may be used for different purposes under different circumstances (Ferguson, 1972). Heath's (1983) seminal work on discourse communities shows the diglossic situations that may exist between home and school discourses. She illustrates that children require biliteracy to bridge the gap between the two and succeed at school. The existence of MLR creates a diglossic situation, which further emphasizes the need to develop biliteracy. Clearly, this sort of biliteracy challenges conventional views of literacy.

Beyond Conventional Literacy

DiSessa (2000) defines literacy "as a socially wide-spread patterned deployment of skills and capabilities in a context of material support (that is material intelligence to achieve valued intellectual ends)" (p. 19). Conventional notions of literacy no longer adequately describe the skill set that educators are challenged to develop in learners. Consequently, literacy development is not the sole duty of language arts teachers. Literacy underpins curriculum, no matter what the content-specific register.

Mathematical Literacy

When one hears about mathematical literacy, one generally thinks of computational or procedural competency, not of literacy. Mathematics education has, however, moved toward a broader understanding of literacy. Mathematical literacy now includes the ability to do the following:

  • to engage in problem solving skills
  • to make judgments
  • to engage in communication about mathematics
  • to derive understanding for mathematics in real context
  • to pose problems in a variety of settings
  • to recognize relationships
  • to make mathematical decisions based on these relationships (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000; Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, 2004)

In a recent meeting, members of an expert panel on mathematical literacy observed the following: Shifts in pedagogy and curricular reform have created an "overlap between literacy skills and mathematics learning" (Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, 2004, p. 45). The panel members produced a document calling for "explicit links to literacy" in mathematics education (Ontario Ministry of Education and Training, 2004, p. 45). Their document fell short of recognizing that mathematics education and literacy are conjoined: Students need to be able to read, write, and talk using MLR while at the same time employing the wider, more generalized literacy skills referred to by DiSessa (2000). How can educators address the complexities of literacy development in mathematics education?

Pedagogical Implications

Pedagogical issues discussed in this section include the value of immersion in MLR, the pertinence of the distinction between basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and CALP, and applying second language acquisition (SLA) research to mathematical education.

Immersion May Not Be Enough

Research shows that the assumption that MLR is self-evident, or that it is acquired through immersion or teacher modeling, is false (Zazkis, 2000). Second language researchers who focus on CALP-related issues would concur that simply being exposed to CBI does not ensure content mastery or the development of CALP (e.g., Chamot & O'Malley, 1994; Cummins, 2000; Dale & Cuevas, 1992; Echevarria et al., 2000). More is needed than immersion in a mainstream classroom.

BICS/CALP Distinction Useful

MLR falls on the CALP side of Cummins' (2000) BICS/CALP[3] distinction. An understanding of CALP provides a novel account for MLR-related phenomena occurring in mathematics education. Cummins (2000) describes decontextualized academic situations as being context-reduced as opposed to context-embedded (p. 138). Language that is context-embedded occurs in experiential learning situations. Context-reduced language, symbolic or other, is abstract. To be literate in the language of mathematics, the decontextualized MLR is, thus, to have mathematical CALP.

Nesher, Hershkovitz, and Novotna's (2003) work on surface linguistic structures (oral or written) in mathematical problem solving is noteworthy in this respect. It showed that students unable to negotiate (oral or written) surface linguistic structures could not move forward in their learning. The BICS/CALP distinction suggests that poorly developed CALP inhibits students' ability to negotiate surface linguistic structures. Development of literacy in MLR through explicit instruction should, therefore, be a major aim of mathematics education.

Applying Second Language Acquisition Research to Mathematics Education

To summarize, Zazkis (2000) found immersion insufficient for developing mathematical literacy (i.e., MLR); Nesher et al. (2003) found mathematical CALP (i.e., MLR) necessary to progress; and Cummins' (2000) work on the development of L2 proficiency has explanatory power for the development of MLR. Consequently, SLA methodologies for L2 learners in CBI can inform literacy development in mathematics education. Peregoy and Boyle (1997) describe one such L2 teaching methodology: the specially designed academic instruction in English (SDAIE) model.

SDAIE: Characteristics and Discourse Functions


  • highly contextualized (i.e., context-embedded)
  • grade-appropriate
  • cognitively demanding academic content
  • language learning goals that are consistent with discipline-specific literacy demands (Peregoy & Boyle, 1997)

Discourse Functions

  • a reduced speech rate
  • repetition
  • paraphrases
  • decreased idiomatic references
  • new words defined in meaningful context (Peregoy & Boyle, 1997)

Another approach to L2 literacy development in CBI is the cognitive academic language learning approach (CALLA), designed by Chamot and O'Malley (1994).


Chamot and O'Malley (1994) view problem solving in mathematics as a process of talking, writing, and reasoning. Like Nesher et al. (2003), they view the development of mathematical literacy or MLR as the key to future progress. They agree that language must be made explicit at the first level of interpretation of a problem for learning to occur.

To facilitate this interpretation, Chamot and O'Malley (1994) endorse the teaching of problem-solving strategies. Such strategies develop mathematical literacy (e.g., learning to communicate and reason with MLR). The CALLA model provides explicit instructional strategies for developing language to deal with CBI.

Strategies Aimed at Language Development and Mathematical Progress

  • explicitly name a strategy
  • say what the strategy does to assist learning
  • provide instructional supports while students practice and apply the strategy (Chamot & O'Malley, 1994, p. 11)

Both the SDAIE model and CALLA have much to offer the development of mathematical literacy in mainstream classrooms.


In mathematics, as in other content-based subjects, literacy development can no longer be viewed as important but somebody else's responsibility. How mathematical literacy development is conceptualized must include a conventional literacy component. Otherwise, little success may come from literacy across the curriculum initiatives. Literacy development must be an explicit component of all curricula, including the mathematics curriculum. Literacy underpins any sense-making in mathematics.

Research in SLA may also be useful in a wider pedagogical context such as literacy development in mathematics education. Will it be drawn upon? The answer to that question is tied to whether more than mere lip service will be paid to literacy across the curriculum initiatives in CBI. For, although this paper focuses on mathematics education, parallel circumstances may exist for CBI in other disciplines.


Chamot, A. U., & O'Malley, J. M. (1994). The CALLA handbook : Implementing the cognitive academic language learning approach. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.

Cummins, J. (2000). Language, power, and pedagogy: Bilingual children in the crossfire . Buffalo, NY: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Dale, T. C., & Cuevas, G. J. (1992). Integrated mathematics and language learning. In P. A. Richard-Amato & M. A. Snow (Eds.), The multicultural classroom: Readings for content teachers (pp. 330-344). Toronto, ON: Addison Wesley.

DiSessa, A. A. (2000). Changing minds: Computers, learning, and literacy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Echevarria, E., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2000). Making content comprehensible for English learners. Boston, MA: Pearson.

Ferguson, C. A. (1972). Diglossia. In P. P. Giglioli (Ed.), Language and social context (pp. 232-252). Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge University Press.

Hornberger, N. H. (2003). Continua of biliteracy. In N. Hornberger (Ed.), Continua of biliteracy: An ecological framework for educational policy, research, and practice in multilingual settings (pp. 3-34). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Martin-Jones, M., & Jones, K. (2000). Multilingual literacies: Reading and writing in different worlds. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.

National Council of Teachers of English. (1996). Standards for the English language arts book, K-12. Urbana, IL: Author.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.

Nesher, P., Hershkovitz, S., & Novotna, J. (2003). Situation model, text base and what else? Factors affecting problem solving. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 52, 151-176.

Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (OMET). (2004). Leading math success: Mathematical literacy, grades 7-12. The report of the expert panel on student success in Ontario. Toronto, ON: Queen's Printer for Ontario.

Ontario Ministry of Education and Training (OMET). (2003). Think literacy success: The report of the expert panel on students at risk in Ontario. Toronto, ON: Queen's Printer for Ontario.

Peregoy, S. F., & Boyle, O. F. (1997). Reading, writing, & learning in ESL. New York: Longman Publishers

Pimm, D. (1987). Speaking mathematically. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Inc.

Street, B. (Ed.). (2001). Literacy and development: Ethnographic perspectives. London: Routledge.

Winslow, C. (1998). A linguistic approach to the justification problem in mathematics education. For the Learning of Mathematics, 18(1), 17-23.

Zazkis, R. (2000). Using code switching as a tool for learning mathematical language. For the Learning of Mathematics, 20(3), 12-22.


1 The term mainstream educators refers to educators who have native language speakers in their classrooms, and whose focus on content may largely outweigh their consciousness of second language learners' needs.

2 The distinction between basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS) and CALP is further discussed in Section IV, the section, BICS/CALP Distinction Useful

3 BICS refers to the skills used to communicate with others in everyday communications (Cummins, 2000, p. 136). CALP, as previously noted, is "conceptualized in terms of language in de-contextualized academic situations" (Cummins, 2000, p. 136).

Reading Between the Signs: Nurturing Critical and Creative Thinking Through Deaf Children’s Literature

By Kelly Akerman, e-mail, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

Guidelines for Nurturing Critical, Creative Thinking Skills Among Deaf and Hearing Students

Educational opportunities for deaf students have expanded in recent years. Teachers and researchers have come to better understand the nature of literacy pertaining to the deaf community (Stewart & Clarke, 2003). They also have a better sense of the nature of diversity represented within the deaf community (Ladd & Lee, 2003).

Considerable attention is now being directed at improving the pedagogical practices of those who work with deaf students. The goal is to enhance their cognitive, social, and linguistic growth while promoting equity within the learning environment. We are now moving toward a new center within deaf education. This one will be culturally informed rather than pathologically driven (Padden & Humphries, 1988). We also recognize the imperative for a modified curriculum. It must have challenging content. Furthermore, it must enable the kinds of skills that will serve students well beyond their years of schooling. How can this be achieved?

Curricular alternatives are needed within deaf education. In this paper, I outline one possible alternative: a teacher's guide for nurturing critical and creative thinking skills among their deaf and hearing students. It draws on Alma Flor Ada's (1988a, 1988b) Creative Reading Methodology. Ada's four-phase methodology includes (a) descriptive, (b) personal interpretive, (c) critical analysis, and (d) creative action phases. I apply Ada's methodology to Jeanne Lee's (1991) picture book, Silent Lotus. This application illustrates how textualized and contextualized questions can foster progressively deeper and more elaborate cognitive activity among students, both deaf and hearing. Textualized and contextualized questions also foster an appreciation for quality children's literature.

An Application of Alma Flor Ada's Creative Reading Methodology Annotation

Silent Lotus is a picture book written by Jeanne Lee (1991) that deals with deafness and multiculturalism. In it, Lee recounts the charming story of Lotus, a young Cambodian girl who is beautiful and graceful, but cannot speak or hear. Her parents take her to the city where she observes and imitates temple dancers. With the permission of the king, Lotus learns to perform for the royal court and, ultimately, becomes the most famous dancer in the kingdom.

Phases of Ada's Methodology 1. Descriptive Phase

In the initial phase of the Creative Reading Methodology, questions are posed that relate to information contained in the text itself. The focus here is on general comprehension of the story's content. This phase typically involves surface-level cognitive activity.

Possible Questions for Descriptive Phase Analysis of Silent Lotus

  • Where does this story take place? In what part of the world is Kampuchea, now known as Cambodia?
  • How would you describe the setting where Lotus grew up, and where she later moved? What is the difference between rural and urban?
  • What was Lotus' condition?
  • How did Lotus form her name using her hands? What sign (hand shape) did she use to represent her name?
  • What were Lotus' favorite activities? What did she especially enjoy doing?
  • How did the other children treat Lotus when she wanted to play with them?
  • Why did Lotus and her parents travel to the city? What was the purpose behind their mission?
  • Whom did Lotus and her parents meet when they arrived at the temple?
  • How did Lotus respond upon observing the dancers at the temple? What was her reaction?
  • What impression did the king and queen have of Lotus and her dancing?
  • How did Lotus develop her dancing abilities? Where did she develop her dancing abilities? Who helped her develop her dancing abilities?
  • How did Lotus' feelings about herself change while mastering the art of dance at the temple?
  • What did Lotus wear when she danced before the king and queen a second time? Who helped her prepare for the performance?
  • What was the audience's reaction to her performance?
  • In what way did Lotus become famous?
2. Personal Interpretive Phase

In this second phase, questions are posed that relate to students' feelings and reactions to the text, and to their previous experience. The focus here is on deriving meaning from, and connection to, the story through personalization. This phase typically involves somewhat deeper cognitive activity.

Possible Questions for Personal Interpretive Phase Analysis of Silent Lotus

  • Do your parents or other family members come from places far away? Where do they come from? Have they shared with you what life was like back in their homeland?
  • If you could not hear or speak, how do you suppose you would communicate with your family and friends? How do you think your family and friends would treat you?
  • What sign would you choose to represent your name? Why would you choose this particular sign? What does it stand for?
  • When do you feel sad or lonely? What do you generally do when you feel this way? How long does this feeling generally last for you--a couple of hours, a couple of days, or an even longer time? How do the people around you react to you when you feel this way?
  • Have you ever visited a church, a synagogue, a mosque, or a similar place of worship? How was this place decorated on the inside and on the outside? What was your impression of this place? On what occasion did you visit this place? For what reason did you visit this place?
  • Do you like to dance? How does dancing make you feel inside? Do you think some people are better at it than others? Why do you think dancing is important? How do you like to express yourself with your body?
  • Have you ever seen the members of a royal family on television or maybe even in real life? What kind of life do you think these kings, queens, princes, and princesses have? Would you want this kind of life yourself?
  • Have you ever taken lessons to learn how to do something you enjoy? Have you taken dancing lessons, for example? What special techniques or moves do you learn in order to become better at your chosen activity?
  • What qualities do you look for in a friend? In what ways do your friends help you? What do they sometimes say to you to show their friendship?
  • Have you ever performed before an audience? What kind of performance did you give? How did you feel inside before, and then after, your performance? How did the audience respond to your performance? Would you do it all over again if you could?
  • Whom do you consider to be a famous person? Do you admire this person? Would you aspire to be like this person? Why or why not?
3. Critical Analysis Phase

In this third phase, questions are posed that allow students to draw comparisons between knowledge gained from the text and knowledge gained from their own feelings and experiences. The focus here is on drawing inferences and imagining alternative scenarios. This phase typically involves more elaborate cognitive activity.

Possible Questions for Critical Analysis Phase Analysis of Silent Lotus

  • How do you think Lotus would have grown up had she been born unable to see rather than unable to hear and speak? How would her parents have treated her? How would her friends have treated her?
  • Do you think Lotus' parents did everything they could to help their daughter before approaching the king and queen at the temple? Can you think of anything else that Lotus' parents might have done to help their daughter?
  • Would you have chosen a different name for Lotus if you were her mother or father? What name would you have chosen, and what sign would you have given your child?
  • If Lotus had not shown an early interest in, and talent for, dancing, what other interests and talents might she have had? If Lotus had not been as beautiful and talented as she was, do you think her parents would have made the effort to help her, or at least to help her as much?
  • How might Lotus have felt if the other children had played with her and not cast her aside while she was growing up?
  • What is the significance of Lotus' mother offering the gods wild rice and flowers? What else could she have offered, and what would it have symbolized?
  • What do you suppose dancing represented in the eyes of Lotus' mother and father? What value do you think they placed on their child's natural ability for dancing?
  • How else might the king and queen have responded upon seeing Lotus dance before them? What would have happened had the king and queen not liked what they saw in Lotus? What kind of future would Lotus have had then?
  • How do you think the dancing teacher felt when working with Lotus? Do you think there were communication difficulties for the teacher when she worked with Lotus?
  • In what ways could Lotus speak through the movements of her hands, body, and feet? What do you imagine certain rotations of the arms or legs meant? What movements might symbolize love, for example, or faithfulness, or hope?
  • Do you think the audience before whom Lotus performed marveled more at her talent as a dancer or at the fact that she had achieved success despite her inability to hear or speak? What would have struck you more?
  • How might the events in this story have been different had it been set in Africa or Latin America rather than in Asia? What talent might the young Lotus have displayed to capture the attention of her parents and, later, the king and queen?
4. Creative Action Phase

In this fourth and final phase, questions are posed that allow students to translate their previous learning into concrete action. The goal is to improve their situation. The focus here is on praxis, the mutually reinforcing interchange between theory and practice. This phase typically involves deep, elaborate cognitive activity.

Possible Questions for Creative Action Phase Analysis of Silent Lotus

  • In what ways is dance a means of self-expression? What outlets do you have for self-expression? Could you create a dance either alone or together with your classmates that would express your feelings toward someone or something?
  • What are some of the ways in which parents respond to differences or special needs in children? Imagining for a moment that you are a parent of a deaf child, how would you handle the difficulties your child's special needs presented? Where would you go in the community to seek help? Do you know of anyone who is in this situation--a mother or father of a child who cannot hear or speak? How does this person deal with the situation?
  • Imagining once more that you are the parent of a deaf child and wanted to communicate with your child using sign language, what signs would you teach your child? Could you make a dictionary of common words and phrases that you would use in everyday communication with your child?
  • What does language allow us to do? What does language not allow us to do? Other than written and spoken words, what other ways of expressing our thoughts and feelings do we have? When do you think we might use these alternative pathways of communication?
  • What does a choreographer do? What does an interpreter do? What does a teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing do? Where could you go to find out more about what these people do? Where could you go to find out more about their daily joys and difficulties?
Books for Children and Adolescents Dealing With Deafness and Suitable for Use With Alma Flor Ada's Creative Reading Methodology

Aseltine, L., Mueller, E., Tait, N., & Cogancherry, H. (1986). I'm deaf and it's okay. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman.

Booth, B. D., & Lamarche, J. (1991). Mandy. New York: William Morrow.

Davidson, M. (1965). Helen Keller's teacher. New York: Scholastic.

Hodges, C. (1995). When I grow up. Hollidaysburg, PA: Jason & Nordic.

Hunter, E. F. (1963). Child of the silent night. New York: Dell.

Lakin, P., & Steele, R. C. (1994). Dad and me in the morning. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman.

Lee, J. M. (1991). Silent Lotus. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Levi, D. H., & Gold, E. (1992). A very special sister. Washington, DC: Kendall Green.

Levinson, N. S. (1990). Annie's world. Washington, DC: Kendall Green.

Litchfield, A. B. (1980). Words in our hands. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman.

Litchfield, A. B., & Mill, E. (1987). A button in her ear. Niles, IL: Albert Whitman.

Lowell, G. R., & Brooks, K. S. (2000). Elana's ears, or How I became the best big sister in the world. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

MacKinnon, C. (1993). Silent observer. Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia: Breton.

Millman, I. (1998). Moses goes to a concert. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Millman, I. (2000). Moses goes to school. New York: Frances Foster.

Okimoto, J. D. (1993). A place for Grace. Seattle, WA: Sasquatch.

Peterson, J. W., & Ray, D. K. (1977). I have a sister, my sister is deaf. New York: Harper Collins.

Piper, D. (1996). Jake's the name, sixth grade's the game. Unionville, NY: Royal Fireworks Press.

Piper, D. (2001). Those sevy blues. Unionville, NY: Royal Fireworks Press.

Quinn, P. J. (1991). Matthew Pinkowski's special summer. Washington, DC: Kendall Green.

Riskind, M. (1981). Apple is my sign. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Scott, V. M. (1986). Belonging. Washington, DC: Kendall Green.

Scott, V. M. (1997). Balancing act. Hillsboro, OR: Butte.

Shreve, S. (1991). The gift of the girl who couldn't hear. New York: William Morrow.


Ada, A. F. (1988a). Creative reading: A relevant methodology for language minority children. In L. M. Malavé (Ed.), NABE '87. Theory, research and application: Selected papers (pp. 102-110). Buffalo, NY: State University of New York.

Ada, A. F. (1988b). The Pajaro Valley experience: Working with Spanish-speaking parents to develop children's reading and writing skills in the home through the use of children's literature. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas & J. Cummins (Eds.), Minority education: From shame to struggle (pp. 223-238). Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Ladd, P., & Lee, J. (2003). Understanding deaf culture: In search of deafhood. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Lee, J. M. (1991). Silent Lotus. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Padden, C., & Humphries, T. (1988). Deaf in America: Voices from a culture. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Stewart, D. A., & Clarke, B. R. (2003). Literacy and your deaf child: What every parent should know. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.

Convention Updates TESOL 2005: BEIS/TEDS Discussion Groups Look for the Following BEIS/TEDS Discussion Group Sessions at TESOL 2005!

The following is a tentative and partial list of discussion groups scheduled for the 39th Annual Convention and Exhibit related to bilingual and deaf education. This list is subject to change. Consult your program book, available once you arrive on site in San Antonio, for a final list. Program details will also be posted to TESOL's Web site closer to the start of the convention.

Input Enhancement for Deaf and ESL Students
Gerald P. Berent, e-mail, Rochester Institute of Technology
This discussion focuses on the use of input enhancement as a focus-on-form methodology for teaching English as a second language (ESL). Strategies for providing visually enhanced English input to deaf and ESL students will be shared and evaluated.

Dual Language Collaboration
Maria Makrakis, e-mail, and Nicki Dunlop, Ottawa Carleton Catholic School Board
The presenters will lead a discussion on how ESOL educators and international/heritage languages educators can collaborate on dual language projects to benefit multilingual learners.

Becoming Aware of Attitudes Impacting on Language
Alcione N. Ostorga, e-mail, University of Texas Pan American
Teacher’s attitudes play an important role in language development. For bilingual children, learning English is founded on the development of first language and attitudes towards both. Dependent not only on intellectual activities, but also on attitudes and values about language.

Valuing the Culture and First Language of Children
Dr. Isela Almaguer, e-mail, University of Texas Pan American
Participants will examine the importance of valuing a child’s culture and first language in the learning environment. Also, they will work toward an understanding of how the culture and language that children possess mold them as an individual and help foster the acquisition of a second language.

English in the Contemporary Arab World
Kassim Shaaban, e-mail, and Ghazi Ghaith, e-mail, American University of Beirut
This discussion group addresses the demographic and pedagogical profile of ESL/EFL uses and users in the Arab world with a focus on the status and role of nonnative teachers and the economic and political implications of current English language teaching practices and policies.

Connections Between Second Language Reading and Writing
Mayra C. Daniel,, and Chris Liska Carger,, Northern Illinois University
Participants will discuss factors related to comprehension in ESL reading and writing processes. Development of a shared group consciousness will allow attendees to see themselves as change agents who help English language learners to overcome limitations and acquire bilingual literacy.

Assessing Children’s Literacy Development in Two Languages
Nancy Dubetz, Lehman College
Participants critique samples from instruments used by bilingual teachers to assess literacy development in Spanish and in English. Participants also critique a framework designed by a bilingual teacher study group to analyze the relationship between a child’s work in his/her first language and second language.

Exploring Links Between L1 and L2 Writing
Sarah E. Dietrich, e-mail, Salem State College
What links can be made between first and second language writing? This discussion will explore L1 and L2 texts, writing processes, and beliefs about writing of adults who are literate in L1 and have intermediate levels of proficiency in English.

Dual Immersion: Academic Achievement and Language Proficiency
Irina Ustinova, e-mail, and Amy Medina, e-mail, Murray State University
A successful two-way immersion program at the early stage of implementation in a Midwest school is described and questions are posed regarding its effectiveness in maintaining L1 and gaining L2 proficiency, academic progress, different models, sociocultural values, and challenges.

How Do We Know They Know?
Natalie Kuhlman, e-mail, San Diego State University
Participants will share ways of knowing what K–12 students know and can do in English on a daily and weekly basis and how they document that. Participants will bring their performance-based assessments that work and share them with their colleagues.

Helping Bilingual Learners Become Critical Readers
Susan Davis Lenski, e-mail, Portland State University, and Mayra C. Daniel, e-mail, Northern Illinois University
Participants will discuss critical learning theory as it relates to linguistic minorities and consider how and why bilingual learners who learn to problematize texts become agents against oppression who promote social justice.

Strategies and Assessment for Deaf L2 Learners
Sybil Ishman, e-mail, Rochester Institute of Technology/National Institute for the Deaf
The issue of written alternative discourse in the classroom is a topic of current debate. Teachers of writing whose students are deaf and/or international second language learners face a particular challenge. Issues for discussion are evaluation and language sensitivity.

TESOL 2005: BEIS/TEDS Presentations Look for the Following BEIS/TEDS Presentations at TESOL 2005!

The following is a tentative and partial list of presentations scheduled for the 39th Annual Convention and Exhibit related to bilingual and deaf education. This list is subject to change. Consult your program book, available once you arrive on site in San Antonio, for a final list. Program details will also be posted to TESOL's Web site closer to the start of the convention.


Title of Presentation

Presentation Type

Contact Information

John McLaughlin

Bilingual Community Collaboration in Migrant ESL


Elva Mellor

Providing Grade-Level Instruction for English Learners


Maria Coady

Cross Language Transfer in Spanish-Speaking Students’ Writing


Cecilia Espinosa

Becoming Memoirists Through Meaning-Making Invitations


Jin-Kyu Park

Role of L1 Peers in Child Second Language Acquisition in ESL Setting


Elizabeth Franklin

Listening to the Voices of Second-Generation Mexican American Girls



Shelley Taylor

Counter-Discourses and Bilingual Learners’ Identity Development


M B Bordman

E-learning and the Deaf Writer



Martha Nyikos

TESOL’s Role in Heritage Language Affirmation


Anna Chamot

Spanish/English Literacy Instruction for Secondary Students


Susan Keenan

What Deaf Students Learn From Writing Classes


Lida Cope

Two-Way Immersion: Language, Literacy, and Community Development



David Freeman

Dual Language Essentials for Curriculum and Reading


About This Member Community Spring 2005 BEIS E-newsletter: Call for Manuscripts Call for Manuscripts
Spring 2005 BEIS E-newsletter
Topic: Assessing Bilingual Learners

The audience is bilingual teachers and teacher educators in TESOL. Manuscripts for this issue of the newsletter should address the work of those engaged in assessing K–12 through postsecondary learners in two or more languages. Below are a set of questions that the BEIS hopes to address in the newsletter. However, manuscripts focusing on other aspects of assessing bilingual learners are welcome.

  • What are meaningful assessment instruments/practices for bilingual learners?
  • How do we assess biliteracy development across two or more languages?
  • What do assessment instruments/practices reveal about the relationship between learning in the native language versus learning in a second language?
  • What types of bilingual assessment are used across different types of programs for English language learners?
  • How do policies such as No Child Left Behind affect how bilingual children are assessed for content learning? For language proficiency?
  • How is assessment used to identify program placements for bilingual learners?
  • What experience have bilingual parents had with standardized student assessments?

Manuscripts should not exceed 2,500 words. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2005.

Please submit your manuscripts electronically to:
Nancy Dubetz
Spring 2005 Newsletter Editor

If you have any questions, please call Nancy at +1 718-960-8170.

About This Member Community ESL in Bilingual Education Interest Section (BEIS)

TESOL's ESL in Bilingual Education Interest Section combines the fields of ESL and bilingual education. Its goals are to develop awareness of therole of ESL in bilingual education, to foster communication among those involved in ESL in bilingual education, to encourage research in bilingual education, and to work closely with other TESOL interest sections and other professional groups concerned with bilingual education.

ESL in Bilingual Education Interest Section Community Leaders, 2004-2005

Chair: Ester DeJong
Chair-Elect: Fabiola Ehlers-Zavala, e-mail
Past Chair: Elizabeth A. Franklin, e-mail
Editor: Sandra P. Mercuri, e-mail
Editor: Shelley K. Taylor, e-mail
Steering Committee Member: Gerald P. Berent, e-mail
Steering Committee Member: Maria Coady
Steering Committee Member: Nancy Dubetz, e-mail
Steering Committee Member: Millicent I. Kushner, e-mail
Steering Committee Member: David Schwarzer, e-mail

Discussion e-list: Visit to sign up for BEIS-L, the discussion list for members of this community, or visit if already a subscriber.