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Poland and Polish Discussion Group and Forum
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Polish as a Second Language

A few considerations before my question:

1. I just read an article about the government's plan to encourage Indian and Chinese people to migrate to Poland to take up manual labor jobs.
2. We've discussed on the forum the idea of importing people from "the East" to fill the labor shortages caused by the mass exodus to the British Isles.
3. A significant number of Polish kids are now studying in Britain, and are not getting the same amount/level/degree of Polish language input that they would get in Poland (even with Saturday schools). What happens when (or if) those families decide to return to Polska?

Does anyone else see a potential linguistic mess brewing in that instruction in Polish as a language is nearly non-existent beyond what is offered for adults (usually business types) in large cities? I can envision that in a few years there will be a small, but significant, number of kids (both Polish and foreign) all over the country who will need some assistance in learning Polish. Looking around my area, I'm not so sure that the schools are set up for teaching Polish as a Second Language.

Any comments. thoughts, ideas, personal experiences?

Re: Polish as a Second Language

There are already a number of schools teaching Polish, have been for the last 10 years or so.

Re: Polish as a Second Language

Probably most schools are in either Krakow or Warsaw. I think the Poles in the UK often live in Polish speaking pockets communicating almost entirely in Polish. Mother, father and children speaking only Polish at home. Because of this I don't see the kids having problems with Polish.



""I just read an article about the government's plan to encourage Indian and Chinese people to migrate to Poland to take up manual labor jobs. ""

A BLOODY STUPID IDEA!

Re: Polish as a Second Language

A BLOODY STUPID IDEA!

Mr Neil, hmmm Is this another racist comment coming from a Brit? Poles don't think that way and would welcome any person from any country.

Re: Polish as a Second Language

I think my question is being misunderstood a bit - I was asking more about the potential effect on kids. I'm sure that the Polish kids who live abroad can speak Polish, but developing literacy skills in order to stay at the same level as peers who are living in Poland, going to Polish schools, and are learning how to do other subjects (maths, biology) in Polish is another thing. The foundation needed for literacy skills just isn't present, and the vocab that goes with other subjects isn't present. And what about the children of migrants? They will need even more assistance.

In Applied Linguisitcs there is a name (and fair amount of research) for groups of children like this - Generation 1.5. The kids (usually from migrating families) haven't fully developed their literacy skills in their first language and then are put into an all second language environment where they have no literacy skills.

I am suggesting that in Poland in 3-5 years we might be seeing some challenges in the schooling of such kids if they come (back) to Poland. Any thoughts? I know several forum members do some home schooling in English (at least it has been mentioned here) to help their kids develop their language.

Re: Polish as a Second Language

"Mr Neil, hmmm Is this another racist comment coming from a Brit? Poles don't think that way and would welcome any person from any country." ANOTHER racist comment? Which other comments do you mean and what makes you think Neil is British? I think you'll find he's from a little further away.

Worth remembering that Britain is one of the most multicultural & least racist countries in the world. And to say that Poles are not racist & welcome immigration is one of the most absurd things l've heard in a long time. I suggest you read any Polish language message board or see some of the grafitti in Polish cities. I suspect you are at least part Polish - so perhaps you can translate a couple of phrases that are written on walls in my neighbourhood, "murzyny do drzewy" .and "zydzi won".

Fortunately us immigrants have the benefit of an official translation of premier Kaczynskis publicly held views on non-European immigration

Re: Polish as a Second Language

My *experience* (in a country primary school) was that the teachers had no idea. And, even worse, no intention of listening to a parent (amateur) tell the professionals that there could be an issue.

I left that battle with very little respect for the teachers concerned - they might well be moderately efficient, well-meaning and helpful within their comfort zone, but that's as far as it goes.

[rant follows] It's a difficult time for me, watching and listening while my child's education is shaped and controlled by people whom I wouldn't employ myself ... [end rant]

Re: Polish as a Second Language

Just keep your head down and be quiet over there in the Kaszub heartland - anyway, "Troo Poles" think you lot are German stooges!!

As for Polish openness, I'm sure they would vote massively in favour of unrestricted mass Indian and Chinese immigration

Re: Polish as a Second Language

your wish is my command, oh mighty one ...

Re: Polish as a Second Language

"I am suggesting that in Poland in 3-5 years we might be seeing some challenges in the schooling of such kids if they come (back) to Poland. Any thoughts? I know several forum members do some home schooling in English (at least it has been mentioned here) to help their kids develop their language. "

There will be a real difference. In many cases (everything of course depends on the individual family) some of those returning kids will be able to speak Polish only on subjects that are discussed within the home. In every other sphere of life their vocabulary will be English. They will watch British TV, even though their parents don't (given a choice between UK and Polish TV, it isn't hard to see which they'll go for), they'll understand the lyrics of English songs and will talk to their peers in colloquial English and in most cases, their reading skills will be in English.

Many will be afraid and traumatised by the move to Poland - others may thrive. They will probably be ahead of other children in their age group due to differences in the education systems, though the schools may think (and treat them) otherwise. They will have poorer memory skills than the other kids (the Polish education system is strong on memorised details), they will have a very different understanding of parts of the curriculum - possibly worse in maths and sciences but stronger in the humanities (or is that the other way round? I forget) and they will have a much more questioning and critical approach and an expectation of hands-on learning.

There will be a real culture shock and a sense of outrage when they get a monocultural and dogmatic Religious Education lesson from some pasty curate who tells the kids to single out, ignore and bully a non-catholic schoolmate (happened not long ago round here). They may well be less than engaged by the sex education lessons (the Polish state textbook coyly informs kids that the physical aspects of reproduction occur in the lower half of the body - no more detail than that) and they will probably be somewhat disappointed if they go to the school nurse for the morning-after pill.

There may be some discipline problems as British-educated kids are likely to laugh at the idea of calling some sullen old frump 'pani pedagoga'. They will have a very different attitude to school sports and, please God may it happen soon, a real disinclination to pay teachers for past-papers, worksheets and grade increases.

At that point the Polish Education Ministry will start asking for money from the EU, Britain or both, in order to provide extra provision.

Re: Polish as a Second Language

amen, brother ....

Re: Polish as a Second Language

Jon,
Kids are v. adaptable.
There's probably a bigger problem with Scottish children entering the English system in their teens (because they're surprised at how dumb and unambitious many teachers in England are - just my personal experience).
"Linguistic islands" do exist (my kids experience school in Polish), but you get over them by supplying the right vocabulary. I see you've got an issue with curates - most kids don't really bother what is taught, just as long as they keep their noses clean. The only real problems would be if a group of formerly UK resident Polish children all turned up in one class at the same time - then you wouldn't get them to shut up and sit down! Mind you, the way things are going here in Poland now after the ever-so intellectual do-gooders have thrown the educational baby out with the bathwater ...