The Big Picture – What’s Your Child learning to Globalize?
Given all the conflicting signals of how schools should be preparing their students for a globalized and dynamic world, it’s no wonder we hear so much about the need to create “global citizens.” From Goldman Sachs predicting that half of the 1.6 billion adult children in the developing world will be leaving their families to find work, to a booming market for communication services like the “vidspan,” the kids of today are in school preparing for a radically different future.
But with so much new information being introduced to our children in the information age, why should your school or teacher concern itself with holding onto their skills for the future? For one thing, data shows that math and English learner students have difficulty with reading, writing and math at the same time; it’s estimated that they take a standardized test every two years, on average, often over three years. Academic proficiency should also be the new goal for every adult learner, argues Harvard professor Elizabeth Garrett McAdams. This is particularly important in the wake of Chancellor Simon’s ruling to leave phonics behind and instead teach its efficacy as a brain structure that learns and remembers information.
As a mother who’s raised four children with severe English language impairment, I’ve seen how children can develop language skills if a multidimensional approach is adopted. And in order to do that, we must maintain the basic principles of non-verbal communication, mobility, mobility, and re-emphasis on other verbal and kinesthetic skills for learners of all ages, abilities, and experiences.
My first encounter with language impairment came as a child myself. My grandparents moved to Israel from Russia. My mother was nine years old and cared for her older siblings while my parents worked. They would leave the house at 9 am and come back in the evening to eat. The doors were locked and the only exit was out the window at high speed. The house became our winter home and the smell of fire stank everywhere. This set a precedent for my parents to raise three children in a short period of time, meaning that we moved often. Many times, we moved far from the nearest synagogue. In my early teens, we lived in Switzerland and then in Brussels before settling in Switzerland again in my twenties. Being reared by five people – both grandparents and our parents – was hard on my English, as it’s the language that we don’t usually speak to our siblings. Fortunately, my mother always provided verbal connection to other languages at home, which I still remember through translations. My letters to my sister and brother have the same peppered language as their own.