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Expert and author in learning and teaching of second language to speak at UMFK on October 15

October 3, 2003

NR03145

Lily Wong Fillmore, a well-known and respected scholar and author of numerous publications on issues related to the education of language minority students in American schools will speak with area educators and other interested individuals in the Fox Auditorium at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Wednesday, October 15 at 3:30 p.m.

The session entitled "What teachers need to know about language", is designed for educators, future educators, parents and interested community members.

Fillmore will incorporate into her presentation some of the research material she used in her recent publications "What Teachers Need to Know About Language"; "Language in Education"; and "The Loss of Family Languages: Should Educators Be Concerned?"

A professor in the University of California-Berkley's graduate school of education, Fillmore is considered a champion of children for whom English is a second language. Her professional specializations are second language learning and teaching, the education of language minority students, and the socialization of children for learning across cultures.

"Teachers must recognize that a focus on language, no matter what subject they are teaching, is crucial. They must engage children in classroom discussions of subject matter in more and more sophisticated and mature forms of academic language and provide the support they need to do so effectively," said Fillmore.

Over the past 30 years, she has conducted studies of second language learners in school settings. Her most recent study is of the language resources of Alaskan Native children in several Yup'ik villages along the Yukon River.

Fillmore is currently engaged in studies of the academic language demands of high stakes tests such as California's High School Exit Examination and the SAT-9, and considerations of what kind of instructional support is needed by English language learners and speakers of English dialects to deal successfully with such tests and other uses of academic language.

In the past, she has been involved in the revitalization of indigenous languages in the Southwest, and has been working with leaders in several pueblos in New Mexico in support of language programs for the teaching of heritage languages to the children in those communities.

Fillmore is the recent recipient of an award from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports in recognition of her work promoting the learning and use of Spanish by Spanish speaking children in the United States.

The expert on language education was invited to speak at UMFK by assistant professor of education Gil Albert, himself a well-known local expert in the field. Albert has attended several workshops throughout the country at which Fillmore was a presenter.

"Dr. Fillmore's work with language acquisition and the education of minority students in the U.S. has had a huge impact in eliminating many myths about the education of minority students and has challenged us to find more efficient and effective ways to educate all of our students," said Albert.

Two days after Fillmore speaks at UMFK, she will deliver the keynote address at the 23rd annual conference for Maine Educators of English Language Learners in Portland.

The lecture in UMFK's Fox Auditorium will run approximately an hour-and-a-half in length. The session is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Albert at (207) 834-7583 or by e-mail at galbert@maine.edu.