Offering 0pen and Honest Professional Advice
Why Compelling All Children to Learn through the
Medium of Welsh
Damage Children's Education
medium education was introduced because Welsh speaking children did not have
the fluency to learn effectively through the medium of English. It was not
introduced to teach native English-speaking children Welsh.
2. Parents, sibling and families offer intense face to face language support to develop young children’s native language skills on a one to one basis from birth and it is difficult to conceive how native speaking English children can enjoy such early and continuing support from their parents in Welsh.
3. Native English speaking will have immigrant status, they will need to learn a new language to educated through it and they will need to learn a language that their parents cannot speak and they will be unable to help them learn.
4. Children will always learn more effectively in their native language, because of working memory. (Sweller). They will need to fluently learn a dictionary of Welsh words, before they will be able to effectively learn through the medium of Welsh.
5. Research suggests it will take around five years before an average child will be able to learn effectively through a new language. It could be much longer.
6. There are children struggling to effectively through the medium of English in Wales, the learning of a new language would have a potentially disastrous impact on children with low working memory capacity, especially dyslexic children.
7. Research suggests it takes 10,000 hours of practice to develop mastery, such developing native like new language fluency, and whilst the figure is notional, it illustrates the scale of the task of learning a new language.
8. The Welsh language is that is a minority language, the opportunities for children to intensively use the language outside of school is extremely limited. Fluent new languages cannot be learnt in classrooms, they need to be lived through which makes it difficult for English speaking children, parents and teachers to learn.
9. The English language is increasingly becoming the academic language and a language of commerce throughout the world, the British council claim that two billion people will be learning it throughout the world by 2020.
10. The English language is one of the most difficult languages in the world, but it is one of the most useful to learn, children learning through the medium of Welsh, learning a new language will not be developing their English language skills.
11. When children attempt to learn a new language and learn thorough it at any age they will be multi-tasking, they will not be able to give active attention to learning a new language and subject content simultaneously. (Sweller)
12. Young native English speaking children will be learning a new language a dictionary of new words at a critical time in their formative learning, The time they devote to developing their new Welsh vocabulary could be devoted to expanding their English one.
13. Research suggests that children's early language development has a profound influence upon their later reading and general educational development. Children will need to acquire a vocabulary of 40,000 words English words for their secondary education.
14. Spoken language is the fastest cognitive skill the brain can process, which is why it needs a vast amount of practice to bring it into fluency, it is process like trying to learn and instantly recall thousands of arbitrary security codes.
15. Research illustrates that many children in Welsh medium education in Wales speak English in the school yard and at home (Dr. Margaret Newcombe, Cardiff School of Welsh).
16. The development and retention of any new language capability will be related to the extent it is used, the tipping point of living language is 67% speakers of it, which reflects the fact that it must be used intensively by the individual and as society for it to be retained. (University of Galway).
17. The language of the school different to the language of the home, social language, that is applied on a face to face basis in the home.
18. Although Welsh medium schools will create Welsh speaking environments over the 67% speaking those not living in Welsh speaking families will experience difficulty in bathing themselves in such environments after they leave school.
19. Research illustrates that 40% of non-native Welsh speakers who learn thorough the medium of Welsh loose it after they leave school.
20. Alan Cairnes, Welsh Secretary claimed that there is elitism in the Welsh language where proper Welsh speakers are looking down on the Welsh speaking youth, many of whom do not view themselves as fluent proper Welsh speakers. Many Welsh speakers are speaking slang.
21. The boundaries between home and school learning is blurred, if children are living through one language, but are being educated through another, they may lack the vocabulary to translate their experiences between languages.
22. Most bilinguals speakers in the world use each of their languages for different purposes.
23. Native speaking Welsh children and adults are no going to deny themselves the opportunities that exist through using English.
24. There are children learn French to be educated through it in Canada, but because there are millions of French speakers in Canada and the wider world there are more opportunities for it to be used there, such libraries of books that do not exist in the Welsh language. French learning is not compulsory there.
25. A recent report from teachers in the Times Educational Supplement that claims that children’s native language English fluency in England is declining and there are concerns about their ability to able to do cope with the language of G.C.S.E. examinations.
26. The clear aim of Welsh medium education is to prepare children to live their everyday lives through the medium of Welsh, the curriculum is simply translated into Welsh. Children will find it extremely difficult to live their lives through the Welsh language. if the Welsh language is not spoken in their homes and it is rarely spoken in their communities.
27. Children are required to do maths exclusively in
the Welsh language, including using Welsh numbers. The ideal is children should
be able to fluently recall their multiplication tables, for instance, but if
they know that 7 x 7 = 47 in Welsh, this will not mean they will automatically
know the sum in English.
28. There is also the issue of whether children learning
technical terms like the word for ‘disgyrchiant’ the word for ‘gravity’ in Welsh equips will children
to automatically recognise or recall it in English. The issue us not in
learning a given Welsh technical terms, but in learning so many of them.
29. The boundaries between word meanings and knowledge are blurred, the frequency of encountering them influences their development and retention. The “heart” is more likely to be heard that “spleen”, for instance, which is called “gwenyn” in Welsh. Lack of use of Welsh is going to make the retention of the term unlikely. Spleen is unlikely to commonly known in English.
30. The majority of bilingual speakers are not balanced bilinguals. The balance between the languages will be dictated by the need to use them. Language are shared between people like viruses. The English language is a super virus. Even if all children are compelled to learn Welsh and educated through it, it is only human nature that children will use the language that is most useful to them and the one that they are most fluent in, the one they can use with ease and flow.
The proposal to compel all native English speaking teachers and children to learn through the medium of Welsh has been ill-conceived and ill-thought out. It appears to have been based upon the naïve assumption that new languages can be easily learnt and retained by children for the rest of their lives. The complexity of learning languages has been ignored and the full implications of the proposals never actively considered.
There is no evidence of any country in the world that requires its native speakers of the countries majority language to learn a minority language to be educated through it, especially one where only 11% of the population fluently speak it.
Children who learn English to be educated through the medium of English are referred to "E.A.L." - English as an Additional Language Learners - and English medium children who learn Welsh should be referred to "W.A.L." - Welsh as an Additional Language Learners. The children’s status will be similar to immigrants to United Kingdom, but unlike immigrants they will not be learning a language that is all around them. The children’s status will be similar to immigrants to United Kingdom, but unlike immigrants they will not be learning a language that is all around them.