Why stop this vital experiment?

10th March 2006 at 00:00
There is much evidence from countries such as the United States, that being taught bilingually helps learning, but we have little research in this country on the impact of bilingual learning.

The experiment in bilingual teaching at White Hart Lane was in the process of being assessed. A full evaluation would have provided evidence of the benefits and drawbacks of this approach.

So we are greatly concerned that it is being terminated, abruptly depriving the education community of important research evidence.

The science lessons taught to Turkish speakers at White Hart Lane were taught bilingually, using both Turkish and English, not in Turkish as reported in the press. The aim was to help pupils with a history of low achievement understand scientific concepts so that they would be motivated to study science and sit an exam in English.

We are also concerned that the announcement was made in the press before staff concerned (and, apparently, the governors) were informed or any consultation took place with pupils and their families.

Dr Raymonde Sneddon University of East London

Professor Peter Martin University of East London

Dr Charmian Kenner Goldsmiths college, London

Dr Olga Barradas Goldsmiths college

Dina Memedbegovic London borough of Westminster

Dr Jim Anderson Goldsmiths college

Dr Vally Lytra King's college, London

Pat East Multiverse, London metropolitan university

Dr Leena Robertson, Middlesex university

Ana Souza and Dr Hara Sidiropoulou, Institute of education,University of London

Evangelia Prokopiou The Community Languages Research Group

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