In search of the ideal foreign language program for your child? (a post in progress)

Where do you start? Which language do you choose? How do you know which school is the best for your child? How much should it cost? Do all the parents at that school have the same goals? Does it matter? Should there be economic and ethnic diversity? If these are questions that matter to you when choosing a language immersion program then continue reading below.

When I started investigating,  8 years ago,  which language program would be a great fit for my daughter I simply looked at programs that offered Spanish. I failed in considering whether the foreign language programs were a good fit for her emotional and social well-being. One of the goals in writing this post is to offer parents an informed perspective, as a parent and academic, in helping you choose the “right” school for your child.

Please leave any other questions or concerns about choosing the ideal foreign language school for your child in the comments section below.

**this is a rough-draft of an upcoming post

 

 

 

 

Our Interview with Telemundo-Austin about Being Bilingual

When I got the e-mail from the Telemundo reporter, Camila Bernal, I was ecstatic. She said she found an old blog post of mine on NBC Latino about maintaining Spanish at home when my daughter was attending (for the first time!) an “English-speaking” school. I was happy at the chance to answer any of her questions about raising bilingual children in Austin.

I decided to have the interview at the Spanish immersion school, Academia Pre-escolar, my daughter was attending for various reasons. Not only does the school have an amazing backyard, but the owner, Pamela De Los Santos , has created such a warm and loving space where children can grow to become bilingual.

When Camila arrived my older daughter asked me if she could be interviewed too. I said, “Claro que si, pero tienes que hablar en espanol.” She agreed without a blink. After watching the recording when it aired a few days later and seeing Sabrina shine bright as a (bilingual) Spanish  speaker the entire SIX YEARS my husband and I have spent enforcing (in positive ways) the use of Spanish seemed to have paid off.  I couldn’t have been prouder of my nena despite the fact that she stole the show! LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. In the interview she mentioned that she loves speaking Spanish because her Abuelita speaks it and that she loves to sing songs in Spanish. My heart melted. This moment will definitely go down as one of the proudest “bilingual moments” we have had with Sabri.

I have to admit when my oldest daughter was born the support to raise bilingual children in Austin was on the rise. The year she was born coincided with the local school district implementing dual language education, which was also the year I started collecting data for my dissertation. This bilingual journey of ours has taken many turns from moving to Ecuador to collecting data in a dual language school. All in all, it has been an amazing adventure!

Below is the link to the interview. Enjoy!
http://telemundoaustin.com/news/local/formando-hogares-y-nios-bilinges-en-austin

Saludos desde Austin, Tejas where we proudly raise bilingual kids!

 

 

Co-authored a Huffington Post Article about CA’s Proposition 58- LEARN

Please help me in spreading the news about California’s Proposition 58 – (Language Education, Acquisition and Readiness). It will be on the November ballot and we must get California residents to vote YES. Voting YES means ALL students in the state of CA will have the opportunity to receive a multilingual education. This isn’t the first time I have urged the public to become advocates for bilingual education, so please take a moment to read about the proposition and share it with friends, family, and colleagues that can vote in the state of California.

Some may ask why I have an invested interest in seeing this proposition pass. I grew up in Southern California and in a bilingual community up until 8th grade. I personally did not benefit from bilingual education, but would love to see it an option for all students, but, especially students who come from bilingual homes.

Please click on the link below to read the Huffington Post promoting CA Proposition 58.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/american-anthropological-association/save-ca-residents-from-a_b_11387726.html

2015 in review! Looking foward to writing more about bilingualism this year! Stay tuned….

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,100 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Navigating Academia as a [Latina/Chicana/Minority]!!

2015

I wrote this post 4 years ago and never shared it. I am sharing it today because I have come a long way since then. I am now a doctoral candidate, and have several publications. I have applied to tenure-track jobs and have even been invited to go to an on campus interview. I decided to share it so that others that come across my blog see that it is possible to move past those lonely points in graduate school. This is my last year in the doctoral program. I am ABD and plan on walking next May! Si se puede!!!

2011

I was sitting in class (nervous about participating) and what happens every year in at least one of my graduate courses happened today! I said something, or at least felt like I said something stupid. Then it automatically feels like the whole room is spinning around me and the person speaking in response to my comment is moving in slow motion with a huge sticky note on her forehead that reads, “I am smarter than you will ever be and have ever been!” Of course this person is always Anglo and seems to be from a different upbringing. Yes, I am exaggerating!! The truth is that this was actually a reality when I was in high school and even as an undergrad at the same institution I am now.

There’s a part of me that will always be the attention-seeking, yet shy, Chicana from the barrio of Santa Ana, CA, kind of like Ugly Betty from Queens. I watched the show from the day it started and am currently rewatching the sitcom. It completely resonated with me because it reminded me of the experience I had as an undergrad in higher education. I started community college with such high hopes. I arrived almost two hours early on my first day because I really wanted to do well in the remedial math, reading, and writing courses I was placed in. Almost 20 years later I still feel like I don’t know as much as some of my doctoral peers. I hear their interpretations and think to myself, “Why can’t I interpret the reading as eloquently as they did?” or I compare my life story to theirs after hearing about how one of my classmates grandfather got his PhD from a Parisian university. I am pretty sure that about that same time my grandfather was immigrating to the U.S. as a bracero worker.

I’ll stop here with my self-reflection…..As I have mentioned before, this site is meant to help me understand various aspects of what it means to know more than one language, and that includes my personal story. In addition, writing can be very cathartic and after today’s episode, in class and on Ugly Betty, I felt the need to rant a bit….to better understand why, at times, I feel so alone in my doctoral program and why, at times, it feels like maybe I don’t belong.

**Don’t leave me, “Si se puede” comments, please. I was just ranting for therapy…for me.

My Disclaimer

Though my explorations of bicultural/bilingual experiences may allude to, or state quite blatantly, general perceptions about “Latinos” I by no means intend to offend anyone reading my blog. In addition, I consider my comments mere attempts to better understand why we communicate or hold certain ideals about one another. My main objective is to gain a better understanding, both personally and professionally, about my bilingual and bicultural experiences as I mentioned in the category titled, “About my blog”

This disclaimer was originally published in 2007.

*This applies to any other social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) venue I use to express my experiences, perspectives, & observations.

Why My Daughters Doctors Must Speak Spanish!

The U.S. does not have an official language, yet English certainly plays a vital role! I would be lying if I thought it wasn’t a necessary part of an individuals’ linguistic repertoire in order to succeed in this country. That being said, children at an early age pick up on the high status English carries in their everyday interactions.

My nena, for example, already pegs anyone outside her home as “English-speaking.” I have very few friends and family that, in my nenas eyes, are Spanish speakers or bilingual (even though most of my friends are bilingual) because of the status English plays in her interactions with them. For these simple reasons alone I make it a point to attempt to increase the status of Spanish in our everyday lives.

One very strategic move I have made is to make sure all of her doctor visits are with Spanish-speaking, hence bilingual, practitioners. I am even willing to drive out of my way to make sure she see’s a bilingual doctor. In fact, I prefer for them to be female as well. I guess you can see my motives are two-fold. I want her to have role models she can identify with as she develops her identity as a bilingual Latina.

Recently we took her to her first dental appoint. It was important for me to find a Spanish speaking pediatric dentist because we had been talking about what dentists do entirely in Spanish and I wanted my daughter to make the connections we had talked about at home once she was seated in front of her actual dental practitioner. I called at least four different pediatric dental offices and solicited information from my friends on facebook to find a doctor closer our home.

Just like searching for the ideal bilingual school environment, I learned that there are other aspects of choosing the right doctor for my daughter. These aspects include considering whether or not the staff is kid-friendly and if the office had a ambience that made children feel comfortable. Well, all in all, we were lucky to find Texas Tooth Fairies Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Singletary, a Venezuela native, and her staff were amazing. Not only did my nena get her teeth cleaned without a problem she actually LOVED the experience, as did I, because it was mostly in Spanish.

What are some strategic moves you have made to increase the status of Spanish in your everyday interactions?

My First 30 days in Guayaquil, Ecuador

If I had a video of the images or words that caught my eye during my first 30 days in a 3rd world country you would see the following:

Brown skinned workers arriving early in the morning to work in the homes of those more privileged…
A new sound of birds chirping…
Rain, rain, rain, and more rain…
Taxi drivers honking here and there looking to make another dollar….
Palm trees and coconuts….
The woman outside the church parking lot asking for something to get her by….
Stores with merchandise double to triple the price compared to the U.S.
Flip flops worn by the empleadas….
Eggs sold in non-refrigerated aisles….
Some of the only items less expensive here includes Chilean and Argentine wine…
Quechua, the language of the indigenous people, is completely devalued by many…..
English, on the other hand, maintains a high level of superiority….
Across the bridge (away from la puntilla) is a completely different world….

(still revising, but wanted to share what I have seen)….