WUI (Writing under the influence)

Somebody once said we are all Americans, sometimes born in the wrong places.
On a warm autumn day in 1986, while enjoying beer with my college buddies,
I decided to join my new homeland.

I've come to appreciate the ideals that helped create this great country.
Liberalism, political-correctness, multiculturalism and moral equivalence
are destroying it.

This old house Grovenet Wal*Mart Visiting Poland American wine better than French.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

 

Teaching math

There may be a problem with how math is taught in the Forest Grove school district. It's called TWI or Two Way Immersion. The idea is to teach math (and other subjects) in two languages, in case of FGSD it means in Spanish and English, at the same time: half the period in English and the other half in Spanish. Both, native English speakers and Spanish-only speakers attend such classes. It seems that this program was created as an alternative to full immersion (English only) classes for students who don't speak English.

The teachers and some members of the school board defend this program citing a lot of research that backs the methodology. What I'm trying to understand is how English speakers are affected. I want to know if they learn math as fast as they would if the class were taught only in English. So far, everybody I talk to assures me that the program works for everybody; in fact, it's better for both groups than the alternatives.

I understand that the so called educators don't want to segregate students into two different classes or that they don't want to keep one group behind the other just because some students don't speak English. So I wonder if this is really about good pedagogy or just feeling good.

I'm being assured that there is no additional cost to administer this program because the new bilingual teachers were hired as replacement for teachers lost to regular attrition.

As somebody whose children don't speak English at home I wonder how they would fit in such classes as they don't speak Spanish either. What would seem reasonable to me is a full-immersion English class for one year for all non-English speakers with all other classes taught in English. If we want to teach Spanish as a foreign language to Americans, fine, although I think Japanese of Chinese would be more useful.

I'm still exchanging e-mails with a few people willing to discuss this topic. Many others have accused me of not wanting to educate Hispanics or of not wanting to educate any children whatsoever and other such nonsense. Those are the typical knee-jerk liberal reactionaries: when somebody questions the status quo, all kinds of accusations, from racism to sexism to homophobia, start flying.

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