ERIC Number: ED184333
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1979-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Semilingualism and Middle Class Bias: A Reply to Cora Brent-Palmer. Working Papers on Bilingualism, No. 19.
Skutnabb-Kangas, Tove; Toukomaa, Pertti
Immigrant education and Language Shelter programs for Finnish speakers living in Sweden are discussed in answer to Cora Brent-Palmer's criticism that a middle class bias exists in the Swedish educational system. She claims that the system operates against the academic opportunities and employment success of Finnish immigrants. However, it is argued that Language Shelter programs have as their goals assimilation of the second language speakers and the elimination of semilingualism. In these programs, instruction is mainly in Finnish with Swedish as a Second Language (SSE) from grade 3 on. Thus, instruction in Finnish to Finish speakers promotes linguistic competence in the first language (L1) while SSE leads to proficiency in Swedish. A large-scale longitudinal study proves: (1) that Finnish immigrant children at the end of grade 6 after a Language Shelter program do just as well as Finnish children in Finland on all language tests; (2) that they do just as well as Swedish children in tests of listening and reading comprehension and oral production in Swedish; and (3) that they write in Swedish almost at grade level, with some minor difficulties in spelling and punctuation. Their school achievement in academic subjects is also at grade level. (PMJ)
Descriptors: Bilingual Education, Bilingual Students, Bilingualism, Elementary Education, Finnish, Immersion Programs, Immigrants, Language Acquisition, Language of Instruction, Language Planning, Language Proficiency, Second Language Learning, Social Class, Socioeconomic Influences, Swedish
Bilingual Education Project, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S1V6
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Ontario Inst. for Studies in Education, Toronto. Bilingual Education Project.