Offering 0pen and Honest Professional Advice
Papers Welsh Language Drakeford -
The Welsh Language Society is a direct action pressure who have a small cohort of language activists who bully and harass anyone who says anything about the Welsh Language they disagree with. They refer to them as being anti-Welsh Language or English. The sub-title of article is "Language Campaigners hit out at first minister." He is a Welsh speaker.
Mark Drakeford is a politician. He is not qualified to inform on educational issues. The members of the Society, which Professor Sioned Davies appears to be associated with, are very skilled at political marketing. Welsh Language activists like Arron Jones have been blatantly lying, brain washing the Welsh public on how easy is to learn Welsh.
All he public hearing about is ever more adults learning Welsh, despite the fact it takes about five years of part time study for leaners to reached even GCSE Welsh level white immigrants and are learning Welsh is a complete mystery. I should be learning English first?
Very few people understand language learning. This is why the Welsh Language Society have got away with a misinformation campaign. Research suggests bilingual education is very complex. Howard has researched Welsh medium education. What Mark Drakeford stated that "Making all schools Welsh medium was not the answer to increase the number of people speaking the language in Wales" reflects the research that follows.
There is absolutely no evidence the proposals have been though through let alone been supported by research. Howard has researched what is publicly not known. He has understanding of the whole curriculum. Simple solutions to complex educational problems yield superficial outcomes.
Unlike Professor Sioned Davies, Welsh Language academic, Howard never makes assertions he cannot subtitiate. Issues like language switching of experience, knowldege and understanding between different languages that bilingual children must do is extremely deep. Howard appears to have got the issue 'about right'.
Rationale for Professional Educators
The problem with Welsh language learning and Welsh medium education is, without wishing to be disrespectful to talented Welsh Language teacher trainers and Colin Baker, who is a professor of education and is a leading authority on bilingual education, there has never been that Wales has never generated a leading educationalist who could inform on the Welsh Language from a cross-curricula perspective apart from Howard who is probably is one.
The fundamental problem of education is that so many variables that influence children’s attainment that top-down educational research is a very inexact science because there is no precise measure of what children’s learning potential is. It cannot be assured from top-down education evaluations of whatever an English-speaking child attains in a Welsh Medium school, whether they would not have attained more in an English-medium school, especially if they devote thousands of hours they must devote to learning Welsh, is devoted to their English medium learning,
The notion that Welsh-speaking children will be able to live informed, educated lives in Wales without obtaining a secure command of the English language is not sustainable. Simply passing a G.C.S.E. in English is not sufficient to illustrate that children have a secure command of academic English, which is needed for higher education. Professor Plomin, the geneticist, contended that it is parents of average intelligence and likely to be the most talented in the next generation, and countries must invest in them.
Cognitive research refers to the processes. It is increasingly making it difficult for education ministers to make promises they cannot fulfil. It has been established there is no magic bullet solution to children’s the 33% of children who will always find learning more difficult than others, for instance. It is also known that children with lower-than-average working memory will find new language learning difficult (deKaser). It would be a crime against humanity to compel them to learn Welsh to be educated through the medium of Welsh. Most native English speaking germane cognitive load, their capacity for effective learning in Welsh medium schools, their capacity for effective learning will be restrained, unless the teachers in Welsh medium schools use English to teach them.
There appears no research that counter challenge these issues, because it does not exist.
The Importance of Language
“If we want to address social mobility, we must concentrate on developing young children's speech and language skills.”
“Language is the fundamental life skill for children. It directly impacts on their ability to learn, to develop friendships and on their life chances.
“Even at the age of 2, language ability can strongly predict children's subsequent performance on school entry assessments.”
“The most important factor in reaching the expected levels in a and maths at the age 7 is children’s language skills when they are 5. This is greater than the link to poverty or parental education.”
“The greatest predictor of children’s language development is the quantity and quality of the language they hear in their environment.”
Bob Reitemeier – T.ES. Supplement - 11th July 2018
This article refers to a House of Commons Committe on language and it emphasises the critical importance of it on children education. Language is the foundation to the educational building. Howard refers to Quigley in his research. The quality and quantity of langauge they hear in their environment primarily refers to children early learning. As they grow older children literacy skills also play an important part, especially reading.
These priniciples apply to alll language learning. Some language are easier to acquire than other. At all ages the balance of bilingualism pertains to the quanity of time devoted to each language. Older children learning a new language to be educated through the medium of it will need to learn and retaion two different vocabularies.
Grosjean, who is auhority on binligualims claims that rarely are bilingual have equal biligualism and if everyone has equal bilingualism then there would be not point in learning both. This is not arguemnt for children not to learn Welsh in Welsh schools, because learning a new language has intrinsic learning value for children, langauges like French as minority languages in United Kingdom. School learning only provide a foundation for future learning (Keith Field) that provides learners with the opportunity to learn Welsh at a older age.
The Difficulty of Language
The challenge of developing language fluency is
summed up in the following B.B.C. article by Sandoval (2019): -
“I can relate all too well to overestimating one’s own abilities. A “heritage speaker” of Italian, I’d been living in Italy for two years when I overheard a receptionist refer me to me as that foreigner who doesn’t speak Italian.” I was confused, then gutted. That one casual sentence launched a journey that resulted in my being forced to acknowledge that while I had grown up speaking Italian at home and was fluent, I was not by any means proficient.”
and her conclusion is that:
“As for me, while my Italian grammatical range has improved dramatically in my nine years in Italy, as a writer, I yearn for flawless, native-like accuracy and syntax. I’m not there yet, and there are many days where I despair that I ever will be.”
“And then I remind myself that learning a second language is like entering into a marriage. You think you know your partner when you put the ring on their finger, but it’s only the beginning, and the commitment is for life.”
Italian is a very regular language to learn.
The Welsh Government had a adverising claiming "Learn Welsh so you can Speak Welsh to Your Friend". The problem is that it will take years to reach a level of fluency to speak Welsh to a friend providing everyone can find a friend to speak to Welsh, but all they need to do is open their mouths to speak them in English.
What certain intelligent children and adults attain in Welsh Language will not apply to all learners. There is a seven year spread everyone learning potential with most clustered around the mean.
The evidence why Englsh is being so widely spoken by Welsh medium Educated children has been influx of English speaking children who have more impoverished Welsh Language skills.
Sandaval unlike Welsh Language Learners s was able to live her everday life for two years when she heard the comment about her Italian and nine years later she is still claiming she has not perfected it. One only need to consider time English speakers encounter their language to work out how 'tip of the tongue' and 'point of the ear' language fluency.
Very few people because of political marketing have any appreciation what is involved in learning a new language and brining it to anything near fluency.
Howard book on Welsh Medium is an academic one and he critical conclusions are not presented on this website. It is currently available in pdf for qualified sources.
Teaching is legal process. Researchers like Howard are only interested in establishing the truth.