April 2006

Into the FOLD

April 2006 Cover

The recent infighting amongst board members and staff at the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE — see NEWS, page 10) could not have come at a worse time. Last month, an independent report on the effect of Proposition 227 on California’s English language learners concluded that the proposition "focused on the wrong issue," (see March 2006, page 13) and next month sees the publication of the long-awaited report by the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth on developing literacy in a second language (see page 24), which adds weight to the argument for bilingual education. So, all supporters of linguistic diversity should be working together to make sure that these reports receive the coverage that they deserve instead of squabbling amongst themselves.

The fact is that all proponents of linguistic diversity in the U.S. need to work together in order to effectively promote their cause, but, at the moment, it seems as though members of just one association are unable to focus on the overriding objective.

There are associations at the national and state level promoting bilingual education, foreign language education, English language acquisition, and multiculturalism, all of which advocate linguistic diversity, yet they work separately and thus dissipate their efforts.

An umbrella organization is required to serve as a forum in which all interested parties can share their initiatives and work in concert to promote multilingualism in America. As an independent publication, Language Magazine is in a position to act without long-winded procedures, so we are proposing the creation of the Federation of Organizations for Linguistic Diversity (FOLD).

This organization would act as a forum in which associations, businesses, advocacy groups, and other interested parties can meet to discuss and agree common goals and strategies without the constraints of a traditional membership-driven association. We envisage a flexible organization with the minimum of bureaucracy and with each participant responsible for their own expenses, so that everyone can concentrate on the bigger picture.
Meetings will be conducted through web-based services and costs will be kept to a min­imum, so that the magazine will be able to absorb the costs — at least in the short-term — without resorting to membership dues and the resulting paperwork.

We are open to all ideas on how such an organization should work, and welcome input from all interested parties. All that we require is the fundamental belief in the benefits of a multilingual, multicultural society.
Come into the FOLD — together we can make our voice heard.

IN THIS ISSUE:

Writing Prescriptions
Duane Roberts highlights the writing crisis and looks for technological solutions

Developing Literacy in a Second Language
Prior to the publication of the National Literacy Panel’s controversial report, we take a look at some of the key findings

Podcasting Demystified
Fred Dervin explains how to use podcasts to enliven the language classroom

From Analog to Digital
Duncan Charters chronicles one language center’s quest
for the ideal language lab

Learning Spanish in Central America
Hannah Zeiler revels in the range of immersion destinations

Children's Bilingual Book Reviews by Isabel Schon

Last Writes
Richard Lederer with 50 Rules To Writing Good!!!