On October 2, I was thrilled to join Council Member Ben Kallos, French Consul Jérémie Robert, Community Education Council President Maud Maron, parents, teachers, and school administrators for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate two new French dual language classes that have opened at the District 2 Pre-K Center located at 355 East 76th Street in Manhattan. The joyous occasion for the families who attended the ribbon cutting and for all supporters comes after a very dedicated group of parents, including members of the Francophone community from Canada, Africa, and France, met with more than two hundred families who pledged to send their children to a French dual language program in Manhattan if one was created. I particularly congratulate the incredible efforts put forth by parents such as Stéphane Lautner, Catherine Rémy, and Nadia Levy who have kept the torch of the Bilingual Revolution burning in Manhattan even during these tough times. The French dual language classes began on September 21st with seats for 36 pre-K students. The Department of Education will operate these classes using a side-by-side instructional model where it will have one Early Childhood-certified teacher who is fluent in French and who has or will work towards a bilingual extension, alongside a second Early Childhood-certified teacher.
Here are quotes from some of the participants as well as a news report and additional photos and links.
Once you’ve gathered a group of parents who share your goal of launching a dual-language program, you must prepare your data and present it to a principal and/or a school community. Before approaching a school principal with your proposal, it is advisable to build a rationale for a local strategy as well as a persuasive argument that will help you convince the school principal as well as other appropriate administrators of the importance of your proposal. This webinar will help you develop a convincing rationale and develop a strategy to locate a school. Guest speakers will include parents who have successfully created dual-language programs as well as school principals.
The Cultural Services of the Embassy of France are inviting you to a series of webinars for parents and educators who are interested in creating bilingual dual-language programs in public schools. Join author and education attaché Fabrice Jaumont and guests to learn how you can make a difference in your community by starting dual-language programs and providing opportunities for more children to become multilingual.
St. John’s University hosted my talk on the Bilingual Revolution and the future of education and I enjoyed every minute of it! I was asked to present in French so that everyone in the audience, which included students and faculty from all over the world, could put themselves through an immersive experience in a language that was not theirs. Professor Puig was there to provide some translation when I felt the students needed some help. This bilingual talk idea worked out well. The students seemed to play along and accepted the challenge. They experienced bilingual education firsthand. The next day, I heard from one student from Colombia who said she was able to understand everything. This is what she writes: “I took two courses [of French] in college but until last night I had not been able to prove to myself whether or not I could actually understand the language in a real life setting – and I could….” Kudos to Dean Katia Passerini and Basilio G. Monteiro for coming up with this idea and for inviting me. You might have started a new kind of experience!
Parents in Manhattan won an important victory and were able to convince schools authorities about creating a French dual-language program in a public school in the Upper East Side. Their journey, which started two years ago, has culminated in a series of recent meetings with elected officials, school leaders, and community leaders. Hailing from a number of countries, some parents want access to English or French and the equal opportunity they provide. Others want to sustain their heritage, and utilize bilingual education as a tool to do so. Others are interested in the benefits of bilingualism for cognitive development. Others are interested in the acquisition of a second, third, or fourth language because of the professional opportunities and advantages it will yield. Ultimately, these perspectives share the same goal: to create a multilingual society with greater access to languages and cultures.
Multilingual education and the Bilingual Revolution were the focus of an event which took place at the General Consulate of the Republic of Poland in New York and provided the perfect setting for launching Rewolucja dwujęzyczna, the Polish version of my book, The Bilingual Revolution.