2014年12月30日 星期二

Making Language Immersion Fun for the Kids

CreditAndré Letria
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It was summer in Tuscany. The rolling hills were adorned with their famous haystacks. The cypress trees were majestically verdant against the golden backdrop. We were in the picturesque Renaissance town Pienza, its spire shooting up into a cloudless sky. I watched as my children boarded a scuolabus with 15 Italian kids they’d never met before. The bus pulled away, heading to a local terra-cotta museum. I looked at the faces of my children — crying, hysterical, their tiny hands banging on the windows. And I was filled with joy.
I should explain.
What brought me to this pocket of Italy for a month, and inspired me to take a leave of absence from work and my husband? I wanted my children to learn Italian. To be clear: I hate watching them cry as much as the next loving, fallible mother. But this was different. These tears — as well as the not insubstantial expense of the endeavor — were collateral damage toward a larger, longer-term goal.
My daughter is 5, my son is 3, and conventional wisdom — along with annals of scientific studies — suggests the sooner you learn a language, the easier it is. In recent months, the voice inside my head had started to sound like a ticking clock.
“Bilinguals have a stronger executive control system in the brain, which allows them to selectively focus on what is necessary and not get distracted,” said Dr. Ellen Bialystok, a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, referring to the neurological system that is responsible for concentration. “Both languages are always active in the bilingual brain; if you are speaking one language you have to prevent the other one from intruding and causing errors."
And there’s this: “Nothing predicts academic success as well as the executive control system,” Dr. Bialystok said.
But I also want my children to be true citizens of the world in a way that I have never been, even as a travel writer — I’m not bilingual. I want their comfort zones to be measured in time zones. And so last winter, before their summer in Tuscany, I decided to enroll them in an immersion school.
If language immersion programs have a godfather, it is Fabrice Jaumont, Ph.D., the education attaché for the French Embassy in New York, who is widely credited with expanding these programs in public schools.
“I want a revolution,” Dr. Jaumont told me over coffee last spring. “I am French, and France is a country of revolutionaries.”
That this revolution happens in public schools is very intentional. “Why should bilingualism be a privilege of the rich?” Dr. Jaumont said. “When I started in 2001, second language education was only in private schools. The first public school to adopt an immersion program was P.S. 58 in Brooklyn.”
P.S. 58 in Carroll Gardens was the school my children were zoned for. This wasn’t a coincidence, but in fact a highly calculated move.
But even best laid plans. ­ . . . In New York City, acceptance into a Dual Language Program, or D.L.P., is by lottery at the Department of Education. Not only did my daughter not get in, but she was also at the bottom of the wait-list. Here’s my advice to anyone whose scheme includes winning a lottery: Have a backup plan.
That’s when I learned about a magical place called the International School of Brooklyn, or I.S.B., an International Baccalaureate World School that offers full immersion in French and Spanish. “There’s a difference between learning a language and acquiring a language,” said Rebecca Skinner, the head of I.S.B. “Our students learn Celsius and Fahrenheit, meters and feet. We teach them to be bicultural.”
The way I saw it, it was akin to being in school in Marseilles or Madrid. And last spring, I found myself in Ms. Skinner’s office, a bright, cheery place where the sounds of Spanish, French and — to my ears anyway — happiness and opportunity drifted in from the classrooms.
“A generation of people grew up thinking there was a stigma to a second language, so they focused on learning English,” Ms. Skinner said. “Now people see that as a missed opportunity.”
There was just one problem. The application was due months before (around the time we were planning on winning a space in the D.L.P.). We had missed the boat.
A future conversation filled me with dread: “Sorry you have inferior executive control systems, kids. Mommy missed the deadline.”
So I switched my focus from September through May to June through August: Summer camp.
One of the most rigorous is Middlebury Monterey Language Academyin Vermont, which has programs in Spanish, French, Chinese, German and Arabic. But there was an asterisk: It is for middle and high school students only.
In Minnesota, Concordia Language Villages offers programs in 15 languages. “Each language has its own village,” said Patricia Thorton, the dean of program. “Kids eat the food of that culture, change their dollars for local currency; they’re completely immersed.” Concordia accepts children as young as 7, which made it a great option — in a few years.
In the meantime, I aimed closer. I focused on Hands on World, a language-immersion preschool in Brooklyn with camps in French, Spanish and Italian.
“Young children have no voice that says ‘you can’t,’ ” said Felicity Miller, the founder. “As soon as they’re prepubescent, they are self-conscious, the idea of making mistakes is harder. And if you are going to learn a language, you are going to make mistakes."
I signed my children up and off they marched every day for Italian class — a mini-step. That’s when I spoke to a friend in Italy. “Why not put the kids in day camp here?” she asked.
Hours after I dropped them off on the bus of tears, I was back in the same parking lot, watching the scuolabus return. My kids bounced off, clutching their lunchboxes and giggling with the other children. They were beaming.
My son got right to the point. “Mama, next time we go to Italian camp, can we do it in English?”
By the end of summer, they actually understood Italian. We’ll do some version of it again next summer. And if the language doesn’t stick, there’s always one last option available: a whole school year in, say, Bologna.
After all, we’re doing it for the children.



Did you know that self-control can have life-long benefits? The 1960s Marshmallow Test on delayed gratification showed that the longer a child can resist a sweet treat, the more successful, healthy and resilient they are likely to be in later life. http://bbc.in/1vE2Qbm
你知道自我控制可以有終身益處嗎?20 世紀 60 年代棉花糖試驗對延遲享樂表明更長的時間,一個孩子可以抵抗香甜可口的食物、 更成功、 更健康、 更有彈性,他們很可能要在以後的生活。HTTP://bbc.in/1vE2Qbm

2014年12月27日 星期六



風評:吳思華與其嗆柯 不如嗆朱立倫

主筆室 2014年12月28日
風評:吳思華與其嗆柯 不如嗆朱立倫









2014年12月26日 星期五

Leland Stanford’s vision of Stanford

History Corner: Leland Stanford’s vision of Stanford

Leland and Jane Stanford at the laying of the University cornerstone in 1887. (Courtesy of Lee Altenberg.)
Leland Stanford, though himself a multimillionaire and a “robber baron,” was not the die-hard capitalist we may presume him to be, according to the research of alumnus Lee Altenberg Ph.D. ’84 PD ’85.
Rather, Altenberg found that Stanford championed the idea of a world where business was controlled not by monopolies but by laborers, founding a university that he hoped would foster this vision — a hope the Stanford University of today seems to have forgotten, according to Altenberg.
“This piece of Stanford history has fallen through the cracks of the institution’s collective memory,” said Altenberg, who published his findings in a 1990 issue of the Stanford Historical Society’s journal “Sandstone & Tile.”
In letters and speeches, Stanford reiterated the idea that “when money is controlled by a few it gives that few an undue power and control over labor and the resources of the country.”
In the University’s Grant of Endowment itself, Stanford declared that it would be the duty of the Trustees “to have taught in the University…the right and advantages of association and co-operation.”
Altenberg, an evolutionary theorist, became interested in the issue while doing postdoctoral work at Stanford in the 1980s.
He’d heard rumors that Leland Stanford was interested in cooperative living. After doing some research, he found a plethora of archival evidence showing Stanford’s serious commitment to the values of cooperation.
The result would surprise anyone who thinks of Leland Stanford solely as a titan of monopolized industry.
“He was deeper than what that success conferred upon him,” Altenberg said.
As a United States senator, Stanford introduced two bills — never passed — which were decried as “fully impregnated with socialistic ideas.” His politics struck such a chord with the Populist Party, which advocated the interests of farmers and laborers, that there were calls within the movement to nominate him for the 1892 presidency (Stanford, elected as a Republican, declined.)
Though he proposed some of the most radical economic policies in the Senate, Stanford could not have been called a socialist, according to Alternberg.
Instead, he took a “third way,” advocating free enterprise in the form of direct worker ownership.
The magnate of the Central Pacific Railroad emerged as a representative of the interests of the common man.
“In the unrest of the masses I augur great good,” Stanford said. “It is by their realizing that their condition of life is not what it ought to be that vast improvements may be accomplished.”
Stanford emphasized many times that he wished Stanford University to reflect his principles.
One of the main objectives of the university was to be “the independence of capital and the self-employment of non-capitalist classes, by such system of instruction as will tend to the establishment of cooperative effort in the industrial systems of the future,” wrote Stanford.
And he welcomed non-capitalist classes most particularly to the University:
“The few very rich can get their education anywhere,” Stanford said. “They will be welcome to this institution if they come, but the object is more particularly to reach the multitude — those people who have to consider the expenditure of every dollar.”
As to why this important aspect of Stanford’s dream for his university is not common knowledge, Altenberg can only speculate.
During Stanford’s 1985-91 Centennial celebration, Altenberg and then-Stanford professor Henry Levin hoped to bring a prominent historian of the Populists to campus to talk about Stanford’s ideas about cooperatives.
“We found [Leland Stanford] really fascinating,” Levin said.
“I mean, there’s this really rich guy who had a lot of wealth, who had accumulated it in some questionable ways, and all of a sudden he’s talking about democratic organizations, he’s talking about workers who participate in the decision-making,” he added.
The two thought the Centennial would be a good opportunity to remember Stanford’s “forgotten vision.” The planning committee, however, rejected their proposal.
Altenberg suggests that this may be because this aspect of Stanford’s history doesn’t contribute to the current ‘branding’ of the institution. Its highly successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, for instance, do not necessarily represent the cooperative or populist principles Stanford set forth.
Altenberg also proposes that part of the reason Stanford’s ideals didn’t stick with the university over the years is that Leland Stanford died a mere two years after the University opened, and with him died the impetus behind his plans to have “association and co-operation” taught there to all students.
After the election of President William McKinley in 1896, widespread support for the Populist movement, aligned with Leland’s aims, died out, and neither Jane Stanford nor the staff of the University carried on this part of his wishes.
Regardless, Altenberg believes that there is still an obligation to share and discuss Stanford’s ideas rather than forget them over time.
“This particular story of Stanford’s history is important with the idea of preserving the diversity of ideas about things, and approaches, and ways of doing,” Altenberg said. “[It’s] a part of showing us that there can be a lot of diversity in thinking that gets lost, and we need to take active steps to cultivate our reserves of concepts.”
Amasa Leland Stanford[1] (March 9, 1824 – June 21, 1893) was an American tycoon,industrialistpolitician and founder of Stanford University. Migrating to California from New York at the time of the Gold Rush, he became a successful merchant and wholesaler, and continued to build his business empire. He served one two-year term as governor of California after his election in 1861, and later eight years as senator from the state. As president of Southern Pacific and, beginning in 1861, Central Pacific, he had tremendous power in the region and a lasting impact on California. Many consider him a robber baron.[2][3][4][5][6]

Stanford University[edit]

The Memorial Church at Stanford University is dedicated to the memory of Leland Stanford.
Main article: Stanford University
With his wife Jane, Stanford founded Leland Stanford Junior University as a memorial for their only child, Leland Stanford, Jr., who died as a teenager of typhoid fever in Florence, Italy, in 1884 while on a trip to Europe. The University was established by March 9, 1885, Endowment Act of the California assembly and senate, and the Grant of Endowment from Leland and Jane Stanford signed at the first meeting of the board of trustees on November 14, 1885.[28]
The Stanfords donated approximately US$40 million[29] (over $1 billion in 2010 dollars) to develop the university, which held its opening exercises October 1, 1891. It was intended for agricultural studies. Its first student, admitted to Encina Hall that day, was Herbert Hoover. The wealth of the Stanford family during the late 19th century is estimated at about $50 million (about $1.3 billion in 2010 dollars).

在哪裡學不重要,重要的是學到什麼 (彭明輝)


2014-12-25 聯合晚報 記者王彩鸝/台北報導

清大榮譽退休教授彭明輝說,家長應打破對明星學校的迷思。 記者王彩鸝/攝影

清大榮譽退休教授彭明輝分析台北市明星高中升學率,並比較知名大學電機系就業薪資,發現建中成績後段的600名學生,大學學測成績不如師大附中前段500人;輔大電機有15.4%畢業生月薪超過8萬元,勝過57%交大畢業生 (低於8萬元),強調「能力比學力重要,分數不是人才的唯一指標。」



2014年12月21日 星期日



by 路仁 教授 on 2014-12-0

        金牌握於金髮瑞士人手,當他走近台灣攤位時,師生浮現緊張神情。日內瓦發明展本名Exhibition of Inventions Geneva,是類似世貿商展的博覽會,參展無門檻但得付高額攤位租金,與參展間的天價旅館費等旅遊支出,全進瑞士人口袋。「歡迎台灣!」是他說不出的話。
        台灣餐飲科學生,從學做中式餐飲,轉流行做法國麵包。進口法國麵粉、法國酵母粉,花費事小,忘了自己的根事大。台灣飲食多元性,本就世界第一、讓外國人流連忘返,何必苦尋外國人的金牌?何況在法國,第一流麵包烘焙賽是 Milleur Ouvrier de France,由法國總統頒獎(請見法國電影 Kings of Pastry),而我們的世界金牌,卻是由法國私企發給。

2014年12月20日 星期六

the Lloyds Scholars scheme

University of Oxford 新增了 6 張相片 — 與 María Noel 和Jameel Tariq Abro
Every year, 15 new undergraduates supported by the Lloyds Scholars scheme start their studies at Oxford. As part of the scheme, they are challenged to complete 100 hours of volunteering during the year.
We asked the new Lloyds Scholars to tells us what they hope to achieve with their volunteering… Here is what they said.
Read more: http://ow.ly/FMJij

Lloyds Scholars, our social mobility programme aimed at UK students, was established in 2011. In partnership with eight leading universities across the UK, we offer students from lower income households a complete support package, helping them manage the financial strain of University whilst improving their employability.

The Scholars Programme

Lloyds Scholars receive a unique combination of financial support, a Lloyds Banking Group mentor, sessions to develop their skills and the opportunity to gain valuable work experience though paid internships.
In return we ask that they volunteer for local causes, enabling them to enhance their CV and give back to their local community. We accept students from nearly all disciplines and all have the opportunity, but not obligation, to join our Graduate Leadership programme after university.
Open book

Our Partner Universities

The programme continues to go from strength to strength, with the University of Bath and the University of Birmingham joining the programme in 2013 taking the number of our universities to eight.
  • University College London
  • University of Bath
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Warwick

More Information

Find out more at www.lloyds-scholars.com