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LINGUIST List 22.901

Wed Feb 23 2011

Qs: Bilingual Simultaneous Foreign Language Teaching

Editor for this issue: Danielle St. Jean <daniellelinguistlist.org>

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        1.     Natalia Hahn , Bilingual Simultaneous Foreign Language Teaching

Message 1: Bilingual Simultaneous Foreign Language Teaching
Date: 22-Feb-2011
From: Natalia Hahn <natalia.hahnph-freiburg.de>
Subject: Bilingual Simultaneous Foreign Language Teaching
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I'm interested in bilingual simultaneous foreign language teaching.
My question is "How can children simultaneously learn two foreign
languages (English and German) in a classroom?" I'm not talking about
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL). My idea is different.
CLIL involves teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a
language other than that normally used. In my project both foreign
languages are not a medium but a subject of learning.

Project: Bilingual simultaneous Foreign Language Teaching in English
and German

Target group: monolingual children without any skills in foreign
languages (preschool children or children in the first school-year)

Languages: L1 - an Indo-European language, for example French; L2 -
English and German

As for the background on my project, I worked in Russia as a Teacher
of German as a foreign language for many years. In our Language
Center we had courses for adult learners and for preschool children
(all children were monolingual in Russian). The parents of children had
difficulty between choosing a German or an English course. English is
more common... The parents couldn't afford both courses (English and
German) at the same time.

That's when I had an idea/question of how I can integrate two
languages in one course? English and German are target languages
and a subject of learning. "Simultaneously" entails 1 hr of English
followed by 1 hr of German or one station in English and the other one
in German with two teachers in one classroom. The contents are
delivered in both target languages systematically and in a coordinated

Now I'm working in Germany and trying to develop this idea. There is a
lot of bilingual literature for children in Europe, bilingual content
learning, bilingual schools, bilingual or trilingual education systems...

This project might be interesting in Europe in relation to:
- bilingual/trilingual education systems (e.g. schools in Italy, South
Tirol, for children with L1-Ladin and German/Italian as L2 who are
taught in two languages at the same time).
- or to simultaneous teaching of two foreign languages... at school or

The sources I used deal with integrated Language-Didactics,
experience of CLIL, examples of double Immersion Programs in
Canada, education system on the Ladin-Schools, Education system in
Luxembourg. These examples are good and helpful, but they are only
indirectly related with my idea. I'm searching for further examples now. I
would like to know whether anybody has ever come up with something
like that, has done a similar project? The language world is fascinating,
there are so many education systems. Maybe there is a multilingual
country where it is a standard to learn/to teach two foreign languages
in one (block)lesson?

This project will be a part of my dissertation or a research project.

Thank you very much in advance,
Natalia Hahn

Linguistic Field(s): Language Acquisition

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