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Relating to major findings from Thomas & Colliers 1997 Research Report – confirmed in 2002 Final Report. 

(Most effective to least effective).


In Two-Way Schools in research, two groups of children from two different cultures learn each other’s languages, i.e. literacy and all the curriculum in two languages. It is an additive approach where English is added to their first languages.  (Literacy and curriculum areas are taught through both a minority language and English).

In these schools minority learners reached grade age norms at year six in the 1997 study and year five in the 2002 study.  They went on to average the 65th percentile in literacy. In the following years –-better than 65% of the other children their age. The Learners average scores in Literacy were
 65%---75% and well above 50% in all  curriculum areas.

There are no current two-way schools in NZ. This model has enormous potential if we could get it operating in NZ with Pasifika learners.  This is however, what the French-English bilingual programme for NZ children is aiming to achieve at Richmond Road School, Ponsonby, Auckland.

School Type Two: DUAL MEDIUM 50%-50% Two Languages, Two Literacy

In Dual medium, two language/literacy, heritage language i.e. using the learners mother tongue/ heritage language and english, learners reached grade age norms at between  year  7 & 8 and in two school districts at year 4. These schools had large groups who exceeded their reading ages and curriculum grade age norms. This is an additive approach where English is added to their first language and literacy. The Learners’ average scores in Literacy were  50 - 61%.

This is similar to results now coming from Finlayson Park School and predicted for the Mangere East programme in NZ.   Most NZ Pasifika programmes will  be of this type.

School Type Three: Transitional Early Exit/ One Literacy Programmes

Transitional Early Exit Programmes with 50%-50% or 90%  L1 / 10% English,  where the mother tongue is phased out at between yr1 and yr3 and all education and literacy from then on, is in English. Here learners failed to achieve grade age norms. The use of ESOL programmes as the English programme to teach English across the Curriculum raised achievements above ESOL Withdrawal  and other programmes that did not teach ESOL.

This is a subtractive approach where English is used to replace their first languages over time.

The Learner’s average score in Literacy was 30% to 40%. The best score was 45% at year 11. This was better than only 30%-40% of children their age.

This is what the Government is proposing for Pasifika learners in NZ.
(NZ Ministry of Education, 2001, 2002)

School Type Four: ESOL (English as a Second language) Programmes

ESOL  programmes with no mother tongue, where the learners were withdrawn for ESOL and / or where ESOL support was provided in class across the Curriculum is a subtractive approach where English is used to replace their first language over time.

The Learners’ average score in literacy for withdrawal programmes --20%,  that is better than only 20% of all children their age.

Learners average score in literacy for ESOL across curriculum --30% - 40%. That is better than only 30%-40% of children their age.

This is similar to many NZ ESOL programmes. Most L1 mother tongue Pasifika children receive this type of programme for 12 terms.  The Government appears to be proposing to exclude NZ born Pasifika children from these withdrawal and support programmes over the next few years and allocate resources to newer immigrant Asian and African groups.

School Type Five: Submersion; Sink or swim; Osmosis learning.

Submersion; Sink or Swim means learners are left to pick up English by osmosis and receive no special language or ESOL support.  This is the case in most NZ schools at present for most NZ born Pasifika learners. The Learners’ average score in Literacy and curriculum subjects was around 18%-20%.
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The conclusion that can be drawn from this research is that additive two-language / two literacy programmes for eight years plus, and where possible secondary Bilingual Education as well, allows children to reach grade age norms in literacy and in other curriculum areas. Subtractive programmes where learner’s mother tongue is progressively replaced by English and the aim is for literacy in “English Only”, do not significantly increase minority success in school.   
(Thomas and Collier 2002, Cummins 2000)

School Type Six:

Another type of programme NZ is planning to use, was not included in the research or evaluated. This is language teaching.  Where is the research evidence on the option of  teaching of minority languages as the Government in NZ has  introduced at Year 7 upwards.  Sadly and significantly there is no evidence from anywhere in the world that shows that Teaching minority languages as a ”language” curriculum  in schools has any effect what-so-ever on levels of academic achievement. Just the opposite is true. In the NZ history of Maori language teaching in secondary and primary schools it has showed twenty years and hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted, for no change in Maori academic achievement at all.

 Only Maori Medium Education / Bilingual and Immersion is beginning to show the potential for doing this.

 Reference: McCaffery,J.& Fuatavai,N. Read, Write, Succeed. A paper presented at 1st National Pasifika Bilingual Education Conference. Oct.1-3 2003