22 Sep '11, 9pm

On bilingualism: "If teachers cannot demonstrate mastery of two languages, what inspires pupils to do so?"

I REFER to the letter "To sustain bilingualism, three changes are needed at the pre-school level" (Sept 21), which made valuable suggestions, although I doubt they will make an impact. Bilingualism is not new to us; we have been talking about it for decades. For a breakthrough, we need a radical approach. Much as we want our pupils to be bilingual, nowhere in pre-school to primary and secondary education do we demonstrate or immerse students in bilingualism from a pedagogical standpoint. Firstly, more often than not, we have English language teachers teaching English, Chinese language teachers teaching Mandarin and likewise for the other second languages. If teachers cannot demonstrate mastery of two languages, what inspires pupils to do so? Identifying and training bilingual teachers is an important step, although it will not be easy. Secondly, the way languages are taugh...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Voices/EDC110923-0000300/Bilin...

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