Bi-lingualism at school a mistake ?

General comments and chit-chat, or tell us how we can improve KiasuParents.com

Bi-lingualism at school a mistake ?

Postby watmekiasu » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:40 am


MM Lee on bi-lingualism:

'I cannot say what these changes will be with a change in generations. For certain, many new discoveries and inventions will make communication, transportation and travel faster and cheaper. The result is closer economic integration.
... more
That was the lesson Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said he learnt in implementing the bilingual policy in schools.

'Initially, I believed that intelligence was equated to language ability. Later, I found that they are two different attributes - IQ and a facility for languages. My daughter, a neurologist, confirmed this,' he said in an interview carried in Petir, the People's Action Party magazine.

Asked to pick policies he would have implemented differently, he cited the teaching of bilingualism, especially in English and Mandarin, as the most difficult policy.

'I did not know how difficult it was for a child from an English-speaking home to learn Mandarin,' he said.

'If you are speaking English at home and you are taught Mandarin in Primary 1 by Chinese teachers who teach Mandarin as it was taught in the former Chinese schools, by the direct method, using only Mandarin, you will soon lose interest because you do not understand what the teacher is saying.

http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2B ... 49691.html



I agree with MM Lee. MOE also seems to be moving away from the trad. ways of teaching Mandarin in school eg using the bilingual method. There is also increased emphasis on the Oral component. That's where the problem comes in for my dd. No mandarin-speaking enviroment (despite being in a SAP school, all her friends speak Eng), how to speak fluently?

watmekiasu
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 488
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:10 am
Total Likes: 4


Postby skunk » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:51 am

Personally, i think linguistic ability is something u r born with. The amount of education/training u get, can only maybe help 10%....90% is hereditary.

My wife and I share similar academic paths, with very similar grades at every stage.

I can speak English, Mandarin, French, Hainanese, Hokkien and a smattering of various words from many other languages. I believe u can drop me anywhere on Earth, I can learn the native language to a certain competent level in no time.

However, my wife is only fluent in English. Despite having A2 in AO Level Chinese, she stammers when speaking Mandarin...she has lost almost all ability in dialect.....in fact, scarily, she's making more and more grammatical mistakes even when using English :oops:

Maybe this is only anecdotal evidence, but it shows that academic ability has little to do with language ability, ditto for intelligence level, though it might help a little, but not much.

My own parents and grandparents have multilingual ability too, so i see it as having some hereditary link.

Besides, I often dream in French, even though i only use it when watching TV5 sometimes.....a further evidence that language ability has to permeat to a subconscious level, not something mere training can achieve easily.

Anyone thinks so too? Feel free to disagree, i'm not an expert on this, just sharing my experiences :)

skunk
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:36 pm
Total Likes: 1


Postby all.in.one » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:09 am

Agree with skunk.

I also find language a very easy subject, but I only mastered
English and Chinese (SAP bilingual product). And so does my girl.
In a way she grow up in a Mandarin speaking environment, her
nanny speaks only Mandarin. She only picks up formal English when she
started N2 (2-3yo).

I think reading to her since baby (in both EL and CL) is crucial too.
I still do that every night now that she is P1. Intend to continue all the way. Now she reads to me more than I! :lol:

They say girls are born better in linguistic than boys. Do you agree? 8)

all.in.one
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:38 pm
Total Likes: 0


Postby skunk » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:26 am

all.in.one wrote:They say girls are born better in linguistic than boys. Do you agree? 8)


I've been in boys' schools, even in JC, my class was mostly boys, so i wouldn't know...didn't help that most females in my life are mostly bimbotic....maybe my daughter will prove me wrong next time LOL

One thing is for sure, Mandarin is a pictogrammic language, very different from the alphabet-based English or other Romanic languages....so it would take a different skill-set to master it....i suspect most people are simply not born with such diverse skills to master 2 totally different languages. That said, Romanic languages have real grammar, while Mandarin does not have a real grammar structure like English, which compounds the problem of "code-switching", where the brain must think differently when using each language....another headache for most people.

From the way i see it, to cultivate a society of truly bilingual people in Mandarin and English, is a lost cause :(

skunk
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:36 pm
Total Likes: 1


Postby all.in.one » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:38 am

Yes, agree again skunk. Chinese is pictorial, at the same time, audio
type of language. You need to have people talk and you listen (since
infant) to begin with.

All languages are a use it or lose it thing.
So if you do not use it everyday, then eventually you will lose it
(I read this somewhere: physically, the neurons connections built up over years will be disconnected, forever!) :!:

all.in.one
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:38 pm
Total Likes: 0



Postby KopiYing » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:40 am

My hubby & I have been speaking mandarin to our baby boy since birth. Maid speaks to him in English, he's sort of 'bilingual' though only 20mths :)

KopiYing
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:59 am
Total Likes: 0


Postby skunk » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:45 am

all.in.one wrote:All languages are a use it or lose it thing.
So if you do not use it everyday, then eventually you will lose it


i think it's more than that. I know of many ppl who grew up in Mandarin-speaking homes, watch Mandarin shows, speak Mandarin everyday, yet they fail their Chinese.....and English as well LOL

I do not use French on a daily basis, yet I routinely topped my French class, better than my classmate who had a French husband to practice with...

Language ability is mainly hereditary, if u don't have it, training will only help u to improve a little, won't help u be really good at it....from what i see :lol:

skunk
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:36 pm
Total Likes: 1


Postby watmekiasu » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:45 am

skunk wrote:
...didn't help that most females in my life are mostly bimbotic....

:(



Ahahahaha!!!!! :rotflmao:

watmekiasu
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 488
Joined: Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:10 am
Total Likes: 4


Postby skunk » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:47 am

KopiYing wrote:My hubby & I have been speaking mandarin to our baby boy since birth. Maid speaks to him in English, he's sort of 'bilingual' though only 20mths :)


congrats, but don't be complacent...as a toddler, my wife could even sing in Hainanese....but now, she's totally zero at it lol

skunk
BrownBelt
BrownBelt
 
Posts: 509
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:36 pm
Total Likes: 1


Postby KopiYing » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:50 am

Wow, sing in hainanese! I'm a hainanese as well but din learn the lang at all, dad spoke mandarin to me since young.

KopiYing
BlueBelt
BlueBelt
 
Posts: 210
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:59 am
Total Likes: 0


Next

Return to Recess Time