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Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

The Effects of Sign Language on Second Language Acquisition

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research

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Abstract/Notes: This action research project examined the effects of sign language on the ability of primary students to learn new Spanish vocabulary in a bilingual Montessori classroom. The research took place at a public charter Montessori school in Washington, District of Columbia. Twenty-seven primary school aged children were included in this seven-week study. Sources of data collection included a parent-teacher questionnaire, a baseline assessment, daily observation logs, a daily checklist, a weekly journal, and a summative assessment. Students were grouped by Spanish fluency and taught eight different vocabulary words in Spanish. Half of the words were taught alongside a sign in American Sign Language and the other half were taught without an accompanying sign. The summative assessment data showed that students of all ages displayed a significant increase in their ability to recall new Spanish vocabulary words that were introduced with an accompanying sign in American Sign Language. Future research could examine the roles of sign language and gesturing in helping children recall vocabulary in the long-term.

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2016

Article

Second-Language Acquisition in Irvine's Public Schools [Irvine, California]

Available from: University of Connecticut Libraries - American Montessori Society Records

Publication: Public School Montessorian, vol. 2, no. 4

Pages: 8

Bilingualism, Language acquisition, Public Montessori

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Language: English

Article

Preschool Second-Language Acquisition: A Parent Involvement Program to Reinforce Classroom Learning

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 15, no. 2

Pages: 23–24

⛔ No DOI found

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Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

Honors Thesis

The Seneca Language and Bilingual Road Signs: A Study in the Sociology of an Indigenous Language

Available from: Ohio State University - Knowledge Bank

Americas, Bilingualism, Indigenous communities, North America, North America, United States of America

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Abstract/Notes: One of the fundamental types of human rights concerns collective-developmental rights which allow minorities to use heritage languages and practices without external interference (Vašák 1977). The protected status of minority language rights is a critical part of language revitalization in which speakers of heritage languages, faced with the encroachment of more socially, politically, and economically dominant languages, embark on vigorous programs to ensure the survival and continued usage of their language. The Five Nations Iroquoian language, Seneca, has just a few remaining speech communities and a variety of ongoing language revitalization initiatives (Mithun 2012). To revitalize their traditional language, community classes through the Seneca Language Department and the Faithkeepers Montessori School Seneca Language Nest for young speakers have concentrated their efforts on preserving Onöndowa'ga:' Gawë:nö' the indigenous name for the Seneca language (Bowen 2020, Murray 2015). In the public sphere, a push by the Seneca Nation of Indians Department of Transportation fulfilling the intent of the federal Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act enacted in 2016, specifically included bilingual signs for state roads running through indigenous land in addition to other significant components (Figura 2016). In an area whose geographic names are strongly connected to Iroquoian languages including Seneca, these bilingual signs represent more public and visible Seneca language presence and stand as symbols of language revitalization. The place names and information that appear on the signs have considerable significance for community identity as well as linguistic and economic impacts, among others. Through oral histories collected from Seneca Nation members and language advocates in addition to a representative from the New York State Department of Transportation, this study pursues an analysis of the Seneca public usage of their heritage language and the various language revitalization efforts occurring among indigenous and minority communities internationally. As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens already vulnerable populations, heritage languages that have been historically oppressed face a global language crisis that disproportionately harms and disadvantages speakers of heritage and minority languages (Roche 2020). While the language of road signs may seem mundane, this study reveals how the Seneca bilingual signs play a significant role in awareness of indigenous territory and consequently stimulation of the local economy as well as supporting language learning, revitalization, and de-stigmatization. Primarily through the efforts of the Seneca community, the bilingual signs represent the expression of language rights in the public sphere and one part of the ongoing language revitalization.

Language: English

Published: Columbus, Ohio, 2021

Doctoral Dissertation

Birth to Three Language Acquisition: Influences of Ambient Language in the Montessori Setting

Available from: Long Island University - Institutional Repository

Language development, Montessori method of education - Evaluation

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Abstract/Notes: There is an expanse of literature looking at various topics supporting Montessori education, especially in preschool; however, there is a lack of research in infant and toddler Montessori classrooms. Most of the empirical data regarding language acquisition has focused on the child’s acquisition of vocabulary through direct instruction, rather than the learning capability from overhearing a third party in a naturalistic setting. The purpose of this intervention study was to add to the limited empirical research on language acquisition in infant and toddler Montessori environments. More specifically, the intervention assessed if infants and toddlers could indirectly acquire new vocabulary through the Absorbent Mind from teachers and peers’ ambient dialogue during the Montessori three-period lesson. The research utilized a descriptive, correlational pre-and-post quasi-experimental design to assess and analyze vocabulary and ambient language. Data collection occurred in three Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and American Montessori Society (AMS) infant and toddler mixed-aged environments throughout New York State and Maryland. The Language Environmental Analysis (LENA) system was used to analyze audio recordings. Transcriptions of audio recordings quantified vocabulary acquisition and ambient language. Paired t-tests and ANCOVA were used to analyze children’s acquired vocabulary. A fidelity scale analyzed the extent to which Montessori trained teachers adhered to the three-period lesson intervention. The findings provide opportunities to improve infant and toddler teachers' classroom practice related to language acquisition. Suggestions were offered for early childhood teacher preparation programs.

Language: English

Published: Brookville, New York, 2021

Book Section

Language Games Children Play: Language Invention in a Montessori Primary School

Available from: Springer Link

Book Title: Handbook of the Changing World Language Map

Pages: 1-14

Child development, Imaginary languages, Language acquisition, Linguistics, Montessori method of education, Montessori schools

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Abstract/Notes: This chapter illustrates the main results of a language laboratory held in a Montessori primary school in Milan, Italy, during 7 years. Pupils (age: 9–11) are guided in the collective invention of a secret language, using all their linguistic repertoire present in class – including minority and home languages. The structure of the language is highly influenced by the language of instruction (in our case, Italian), but, at the same time, it differs from that because its aim is to be secret. In other words, the invented language is shared among the class members only, who know how to decipher its alphabet and grammar, unlike other schoolmates. Secrecy permits the inventor to insert elements from other languages, resulting in an a priori language contact. During the process of invention, participants increase their metalinguistic awareness and thus their understanding of the languages they are studying formally – in our case, Italian and English. The Montessori method fosters a “learning-by-doing” approach and an active interdisciplinary cross-fertilization (called Cosmic Education). In fact, pupils may use the secret language to create an imaginary country – usually an island – and conceive a utopian society, putting together notions of natural sciences (for instance, orography) and social sciences, in particular, to describe the ideal human society speaking their secret language. The chapter also includes reflection on how this language laboratory can be applied in other educational contexts, maintaining its original character of being a serious game for learning.

Language: English

Published: Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing, 2019

ISBN: 978-3-319-73400-2

Article

CD-ROM Taal: taalbeschouwing, taaldozen, taalsymbolen en ontleden [CD-ROM Language: language reflection, language boxes, language symbols and parsing]

Publication: MM: Montessori mededelingen, vol. 24, no. 2

Pages: 32-33

Language acquisition, Language arts, Montessori method of education

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Language: Dutch

ISSN: 0166-588X

Article

Un Segundo Idioma en el Aula: Nos Estamos Perdiendo una Oportunidad? [A Second Language in the Classroom: Are We Missing the Boat?]

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 19, no. 2

Pages: 38-40

Bilingualism, ⛔ No DOI found

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Abstract/Notes: In recent years there has been greater emphasis placed on second language acquisition in schools. To be prepared for life in the 21st century, to function within an increasingly interdependent world society, to be free from the petty biases that hinder understanding and from the larger hatreds that lead to confrontation, children will need to acquire the basic tools of communication--including a working knowledge of other people's languages. Although early learning of another language is often viewed as exceptional and sometimes as undesirable, studies conducted around age-related issues find that children before the age of 7 tend to acquire second languages with great ease and fluency. Their older brothers and sisters, in traditional high school or college foreign language courses, seldom reach such communicative competence--even after 4 or 5 years of instruction. Research data, personal observation, and anecdotal information about children suggest encouragement of early second language introduction. This article discusses the benefits of introducing second language programs to young children.

Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

Doctoral Dissertation

The Effects of High-Stakes Testing on Secondary Language Arts Curriculum and Instruction

Available from: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: High-stakes testing has become mandatory since the reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Educational Act, 2001 with its No Child Left Behind (NCLB) provisions. Beginning with the 2005-06 school year, students in grades K-8 must be tested yearly in reading and math. Students in secondary schools must be tested once in reading and math. Student scores at all grade levels are then used as part of the formula for determining whether or not a school retains its accreditation or is placed on a "needs improvement" list. Being identified as "needs improvement" for three consecutive years carries an assortment of serious consequences for schools. As a result of these high-stakes tests, secondary language arts teachers are expected to prepare students for state reading assessments. Studies have investigated the effects high-stakes testing has on elementary and secondary curriculum and instruction but have not focused specifically on secondary language arts teachers. Therefore, this study focuses on the effects high-stakes testing is having on secondary language arts' curriculum and instruction. Six high school junior English teachers from a Midwestern state were surveyed and interviewed. Five of the teachers also participated in a focus group discussion. From this data several common themes emerged including a narrowing of their curricula and a loss of instructional time to test preparation and the actual administration of the tests. In addition, teachers expressed feelings of inadequacy about their knowledge of effective pedagogy for improving adolescent reading skills. From this study it becomes clear that secondary language arts teachers need more information on best practices for working with adolescents and improving adolescent reading skills while incorporating the state reading standards and maintaining a meaningful curriculum and engaging instructional strategies. Administrators and state departments of education need to consider ways to provide useful in-services on reading for secondary teachers. In addition, university teacher education programs need to prepare future teachers and offer teachers who are currently in the classroom assistance in developing effective strategies for teaching reading skills to adolescents which will keep the students engaged.

Language: English

Published: Lawrence, Kansas, 2005

Doctoral Dissertation

Language Learning and Technology in and for a Global World

Available from: University of California eScholarship

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Abstract/Notes: More than ever before, schools and societies are looking to educate children in and for a global world. In the United States, these efforts have taken the form of increased interest in incorporating global or international perspectives into educational curricula, programs, and policy over the past decade (Hayden, 2011; Parker, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Despite this interest in what I call global education, ambiguity remains regarding what it means to provide an education for a globalized world, both in terms of its underlying motivations and its ultimate execution in practice (Ortloff, Shah, Lou, & Hamilton, 2012).Two components often placed at the heart of these efforts in the United States—second/foreign language and digital technology—both reflect and contribute to understandings of global education. This study, rooted in an ecological theorization of discourse, asked how different school actors (teachers, administrators, parents, and students) position these two components in education today, how these positionings differ across groups, and what this means for understandings of global education. These questions were investigated through two complementary approaches: a survey distributed to a large cross-section of schools around the United States and an in-depth focal case study of one school. The survey was distributed to teachers, students, parents, and administrators at a broad range of U.S. secondary schools and assessed perceptions of second/foreign language and digital technology in education today. The focal case study focused on two secondary classrooms at a multilingual immersion K-8 school in the western US over a four-month period; data collection included field notes, analytic memos, and audio/video recordings from participant observations as well as multiple rounds of interviews with five students, four teachers, two administrators, and three parents. Data were analyzed using iterative rounds of inductive and deductive coding (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Saldaña, 2009) and critical discourse analysis (Blommaert, 2005; Fairclough, 2001).Findings suggest that second/foreign language and digital technology were positioned in a range of different ways that had concrete ramifications for schools and that built up divergent understandings of global education. The survey component of the study highlighted common discourses reproduced across groups, including: second/foreign language learning as a way to promote cultural understanding and awareness as well as economic opportunity; or digital technology as a threat to learning and as an omnipresent necessity. The focal school offered a more detailed look into these different discourses and their reproduction across groups. Analysis revealed trended similarities and differences across groups. For example, even though parents, teachers, and administrators often articulated a similar understanding of second/foreign language and digital technology, parental actions suggested more alignment with economic-based understandings of these two components. These differences in how second/foreign language and digital technology should be positioned within a global education created a “battle” between parents and the focal school as well as tension within the learning environment. The impact of these discourses and battles on students was unclear: while students at times voiced the discourses that their parents, teachers, and administrators reproduced, data also suggests that students were influenced by outside sources. These findings suggest that resulting understandings of global education were multiple and divergent across school groups. Data analysis also revealed the potential that anxiety, concern, or even fear of globalization and its effects could undergird adult understandings of second/foreign language and of digital technology: beneath economic as well as cultural motivations for second/foreign language and for digital technology learning resided trepidation about a changing world, changing identities, and the unknowns that lay ahead. This suggests that, underneath multiple and complex discourses, there can be a singular discourse that manifests in different ways, nuancing understandings of ecological approaches to discourse. It also suggests that different understandings of global education could stem from the same place: fear or anxiety in the face of a globalizing world. These findings highlight the need for a global education that equips students to navigate a changing world, its challenges, and any potential fears that may arise from these changes and challenges. The study concludes with a pedagogical framework built around discourse analysis that could offer students tools to understand their globalizing world.

Language: English

Published: Berkeley, California, 2017

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