St. John’s University Talk: On The Experience of Bilingual Education

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!

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Bilingual Revolution in Manhattan

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.

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Multilingual Education and Bilingual Revolution at the Consulate of Poland

Photo credit: Tomasz Jakubowicz

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.

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China: Rise of a New Philanthropic Power

Jack Ma speaks at a meeting of the World Economic Forum Foundation in 2015. Jolanda Flubacher/World Economic Forum, CC BY

In response to the ongoing coronavirus emergency, on January 31, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma pledged the equivalent of US$144 million for medical supplies for Wuhan and Hubei as well as $14 million to help develop a vaccine. Just a few months ago, the former teacher had left the reins of a company of more than 100,000 employees, valued $450 billion, stating that he wanted to devote himself to philanthropy in the field of education. The emergence of the coronavirus threat showed his commitment to supporting public-health efforts as well.

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