Inside the READ Act - part three

Inside the READ Act - part three

When is it appropriate to teach children in a language they do not speak or understand? That’s a question I found myself asking when I read the following sentence in the U.S. Government International Basic Education Strategy:

  • “U.S. Government programs will encourage schools, where appropriate, to teach in a language children speak and understand...” [p. 32, emphasis added]

I am glad that the strategy makes space for children being taught in a language children speak and understand. That’s what we’re about at SIL LEAD. But the phrase, “where appropriate” stumped me…

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Inside the READ Act - part two

Inside the READ Act - part two

In my previous post, I talked about the READ Act and the Administration’s strategy for implementing it. In this post, I want to look at the strategy from the vantage point of minority language communities.

The strategy highlights the learning crisis:

“387 million children of primary school age (56 percent) are not reaching the minimum proficiency level in reading and math.”

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Inside the READ Act - part one

Inside the READ Act - part one

A year ago today, the United States Congress passed the READ Act—Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development. This is not just another bit of legislation. For the first time, the US government hopes to weave together all the disparate efforts of 10 agencies* into a unified effort to provide quality basic education around the world.

From that moment on, the clock has been ticking…

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"A Very Useful Tool"

"A Very Useful Tool"

Since SIL LEAD first began teaching Bloom training workshops, we have run over a dozen of them in almost as many countries, teaching hundreds of educators, writers, and artists to use Bloom software to easily create books in local languages. These teachers have gone on to teach others, and Bloom has rippled out into the world exponentially.

Our most recent Bloom workshop recently brought us back to the beautiful mountain cities of Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango, Guatemala…

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How to Choose a Language...

How to Choose a Language...

On the first day of his classes with university students in Kenya, Dr. Maik Gibson would always ask, “How many languages have you spoken in the last week?” The answer was usually at least three or four—rarely as few as two.

The fluidity with which Maik’s African students shifted from one language to another astonished him and prompted him to shift his focus from linguistics to sociolinguistics. He began to explore how languages are used in society, and loved unpacking with his students the sometimes unexamined reasons behind why they used the languages they did, when they did…

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Working Ourselves Out of a Job

Working Ourselves Out of a Job

“Who would ever hire you, with your blond hair and blue eyes, as a bilingual teacher?”

When Kristine Trammell's high school history teacher asked her that question, he clearly didn't have any idea the kind of determination she had—or the places that determination would take her. Kristine had always wanted to be a teacher, ever since her grade school years in Arizona. So when her family moved to Oregon and a high school Spanish teacher encouraged her in her studies, she knew she had found her calling…

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Big Problem, Little Solutions

Big Problem, Little Solutions

Haiti is a land of contradiction. Rich in natural beauty, natural resources, and human capital, it is nonetheless the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

In the 1800s, Haiti was known as the Jewel of the Antilles. Not only was it stunningly beautiful, but it was also arguably the most prosperous colony in the world. Its verdant landscape provided massive quantities of coffee (more than half the world’s supply), rum, indigo, molasses, timber, and sugar. It was, nonetheless, a colony, and the goal of the colonial power (in this case, France) was never to lift up the people who lived there. In fact, the majority of the Haitian population was comprised of slaves stolen from their homes in Africa and brought to Haiti for one purpose alone: to enrich the nation of France…

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