As our school year comes to a close, we teachers and TWIN Design Team members look forward to the warm summer months ahead. It is a time for reflection, for preparation, and for renewal. We know our TWIN schools will be hard at work preparing for the Summer Academy to be held this June in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Summer is also a wonderful time to continue the language learning that was begun this school year. Many of our students speak the target languages of Spanish and Mandarin in their homes, with their parents, grandparents, and other relatives. What a benefit to have these teachers in the home for our students!
For our students who come from English-speaking homes, summer provides the opportunity to practice and maintain their language growth. Below are some links to suggested ways to make language learning fun and productive this summer. Feel free to share with your TWI families:
Five Games for Langauge Learning: http://www.incultureparent.com/?s=5+games&task=search
Supporting English Language Learners: http://www.expandinglearning.org/expandingminds/article/supporting-english-language-learners-school-and-afterschool-and-summers
Several of us here in the TWIN office at the Roche Center for Catholic Education at the Lynch School at Boston College laughed this morning at the sheer number of emails that have flooded our inboxes. What a blessing to have so many friends and allies in this effort to transform schools! At the same time, we all want to be most efficient in communicating, a key component for helping a Network grow and develop.
For those interested in TWIN, there are a number of ways to be involved and to join the conversation.
First, as you know as you are reading this blog, is the blog itself, usually updated weekly. The blog covers a number of topics of interest to members of the Network.
Second is the TWIN Twitter handle: @BCTwinCS The TWIN Twitter feed is updated nearly daily with interesting articles, facts, and items of interest to our followers.
Third, is the online Forum, through this website. The forum is an excellent space to share more thoughts on how things are unfolding at TWIN schools, such as curriculum choices and marketing techniques.
Joining the conversation allows you to shape the conversation. We look forward to 'hearing' your voice.
It is well-known in education circles, as well as bilingual circles, that teaching in two languages can be controversial. Those concerned by bilingual and immersion education worry that children will not identify with the larger 'American' culture or that they will not grasp English. Despite reams of research to the contrary, these concerns remain for many members of our communities. In some ways, it may be understandable: it seems complicated to teach and learn in two languages. Yet the benefits cognitively, socially, and linguistically are great.
So it is worth knowing how bilingual and immersion education are perceived in our communities. Here are some recent articles that may be of interest to you:
Salinas, CA and CA broadly, Repealing the bilingual ban: http://www.thecalifornian.com/story/news/2014/05/19/state-bill-seeks-repeal-bilingual-ed-ban/9295621/
Houston, TX, Benefits of Being Multilingual: http://hisdmultilingual.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/the-bilingual-brain-is-more-nimble-and-efficient/
CAL, Common Concerns: http://www.cal.org/resources/digest/raising-bilingual-children.html
Colorin Colorado, The Bilingual Education Debate: http://www.colorincolorado.org/policy/issues/bilingual/
Professor Hosffman Ospino and his team of researchers at the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College made headlines in all the major news outlets this Monday when their report, Hispanic Ministry in Catholic Parishes, was released.
It contended that the American Catholic Church directly benefits from Hispanic members, which comprise 40% of the Catholic population. The American Catholic Church would be in poor shape demographically and financially, were it not for the Hispanic population. There are significant challenges that come with this dynamic, as the concentrations for political power and infrastructure for the Church are found in the Northeast and Midwest, while the growth of the Church is in the West and Southwest. That being said, Hispanic families are less likely to send their children to Catholic schools, and their sons are less likely to join the priesthood.
While the implications for a parish may be fairly clear, the implications for Catholic schools are more tangential. While low enrollment for Hispanic families is directly related to Catholic schools, this information is not entirely new to principals. Finding ways to connect with Hispanic families who identify as Catholic and are connected to the Church would be beneficial for schools. Offering Spanish language instruction may be that bridge. The TWIN network provides Catholic schools with actionable, concrete ways to connect with Hispanic culture.
The Report: http://www.bc.edu/schools/stm/acadprog/hispanic-ministry-in-catholic-parishes.html
Hispanic Ministry training at Boston College: http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/schools/stm/acadprog/hismin.html
A new national study has been published by Boston College on the state of Catholic parishes and Hispanic ministries. The Roche Center highly recommends the TWIN schools and supporters review it and share it with their faculties.