Billak, Bonnie. “Second Language Acquisition at the Early Childhood Level: a 5-Year Longitudinal Case Study of Pre-Kindergarten Through First-Grade Students.” Tesol Journal. 4.4 (2013): 674-696. Print.

Kuo, Li-Jen, Gloria Ramirez, Marin S. de, Tae-Jin Kim, and Melike Unal-Gezer. “Bilingualism and Morphological Awareness: a Study with Children from General Education and Spanish-English Dual Language Programs.” Educational Psychology. 37.2 (2016): 94-111. Print.

Peçenek, Dilek. “A Longitudinal Study of Two Boys’ Experiences of Acquiring Italian As a Second Language: the Influence of Age.” International Journal of Bilingualism. 15.3 (2011): 268-290. Print.

Sawyer, Brook E, Patricia H. Manz, and Kristin A. Martin. “Supporting Preschool Dual Language Learners: Parents’ and Teachers’ Beliefs About Language Development and Collaboration.” Early Child Development and Care. (2016): 1-20. Print.

My first source by BIllak called “Second Language Acquisition at the Early Childhood Level: a 5-Year Longitudinal Case Study of Pre-Kindergarten through First-Grade Students” strongly supports my first argument that teaching Spanish to students early in their education helps with their brain development. Since it follows students through the years in question it provides first hand statistical and categorical evidence for the argument about the benefits of Spanish education.

My second source by Kou called “Bilingualism and Morphological Awareness: a Study with Children from General Education and Spanish-English Dual Language Programs” supports the argument that teaching Spanish to students early in their education helps with their brain development. It delves deeper into the science of brain development and how learning two languages can improve it.

My third source by Peçenek called “A Longitudinal Study of Two Boys’ Experiences of Acquiring Italian As a Second Language: the Influence of Age” supports my argument that it is easier to learn a second language at a young age and understanding multiple languages will benefit the children socially. Since the study explores language learning process of two brothers at different ages learning a second language, it shows how the learning process differs between ages. It also shows how the younger and older brothers’ social interactions differed between themselves and natives due to their age of learning their second language.

My fourth source by Sawyer called “Supporting Preschool Dual Language Learners: Parents’ and Teachers’ Beliefs about Language Development and Collaboration” works well with all of my other sources. In this source it goes into the perceptions by educators and parents of kids who are in the dual language program of what learning a language at an early age actually does. This source has a lot of statistics and direct quotations from interviews that I could use throughout my paper in most of my arguments.

Overall, my sources interact well with each other because they all support ideas that are in my thesis but focus on different aspects. The source by Sawyer can draws more on people’s emotions when I use the quotes from the parents and teachers, whereas most of my other sources rely on logic with facts and observations from studies. They build well onto each other, each bringing new information to my paper as a whole.


Topic Ideas

Topic one: Entrepreneurship in Younger Grades

Starting a business is very hard and the rate of success is very low. For how challenging it is, there is not much support out there to get people started. Part of the problem is that kids do not have a chance to practice entrepreneurial skills when they are young because it is not taught or encouraged in most primary or secondary schools.

Question: To what extent should college students promote entrepreneurial education in primary and secondary schools?

Motivation: I currently studying Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation and a lot of the skills we use on a daily basis are foreign to me and if I had grown up practicing them I would be much more confident with them now. I think that if I was exposed to entrepreneurial thinking earlier on, I may have been able to start effecting change sooner.

Information and Arguments: I could argue that the more people who are exposed to the idea of starting a new business or being an ‘intropreneur’ the better the economy would be. For example, more people are employed at small businesses than large businesses and a lot of job growth comes from small businesses and start-ups. I would want to look into a new program started by a UD student that’s goal is to get younger students involved in entrepreneurship. Another argument could be that learning how to think entrepreneurially can be applied to any field of study and any job, so students should learn how to do it before college.


Topic two: Teaching Spanish in Elementary Schools/ Pre-schools in the US

Many elementary schools do not offer Spanish to its students. It is much easier for younger children to learn a second language than for them to learn one later in life, and with Spanish becoming very common it would help students to learn how to speak, read, and write it early on.

Question: How should college students use their skills and college’s resources to promote Spanish being taught in elementary schools/ pre-schools?

Motivation: My elementary school offered a very short afterschool program to start teaching us a foreign language and I really enjoyed it. The problem was it was so short so it was not enough time to really learn enough to become proficient in a language. However, I remember it being easier to learn the language then when I started learning it in middle school, and the few things I did learn stuck with me longer.

Information and Arguments: One argument is how there are so many Spanish speakers in the United States and that it would be beneficial for all citizens to be able to communicate more effectively. Language also ties in more cultural understanding, which would be beneficial to unite our country. College students who know a language could partner with elementary schools. Some information I would like to find would be how learning two languages early on is easier for people and affects brain development.

Topic three: Literacy in the US

There are still a lot of people in the United States who cannot read due to many different situations. In poorer school districts students who cannot keep up with the pace get left behind and they learn to fake knowing how to read until it is too late. This makes it harder for them to do daily tasks like holding a job or making it through school.

Question: To what extent can college students improve the literacy problem in the United States by working to educate illiterate children and people?

Motivation: I interned at a nonprofit over winter that was an afterschool tutoring program for kids living under the poverty line and I was taken aback by how old some of the kids were who were struggling to read simple books. Most of their parents did not know English so they were not able to help them when they struggled. I don’t think any kid should have to struggle to learn to read English in a country that predominantly speaks English.

Information and Arguments: I want to explore how being illiterate harms the individuals. Also, I want to find out how programs that aim to solve this are going about it and why they are not successful at reaching everyone.

Small Business Movement (Team Amigas)

A movement that is taking the nation by storm is the Small Business movement. The notion to shop small is being echoed from small towns to large cities. When you walk down Main Street, it is not the chain restaurants and convenience stores that give it character, it is the unique, small businesses that add to the flavor of Main Street. It may seem that big businesses are what keeps our national economy afloat, but in reality half of employed Americans work for small businesses. Also, in an economy where job growth is everything, it is important to note that in the past 20 years 65% of new jobs came from small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. If small businesses are so important, why do we need a movement surrounding them?

According to the Small Business Revolution, small businesses are under attack in small towns. Small businesses do not have the advantage of having lots of funding and resources to fall back on when their location fails. They must rely on support from the community and lots of hard work. One way the movement is promoting small businesses is through Small Business Saturday. This ‘holiday’ is between black Friday and cyber Monday. It has successfully promoted people to shop at small businesses on that day and spend around $5.7 billion. However, there are 364 other days in the year! The maker movement is what small businesses must rely on the rest of the year. This movement “[shares] a vision of nothing less than changing the world, “freeing the worker” from the rote and unempowered work of corporations and into doing something fulfilling and creative that may well transcend the profit motive.” This movement within in a movement is the driving force that keeps small businesses connected. The point of the movement is to put the power into the hands of the small businesses and take it from corporate America. Around 1/3 of small businesses will fail in the first 2 years, with the support of the maker movement, maybe this statistic can improve for the better. The students at the University of Delaware could definitely be more involved with small businesses in the area. We have a very active Entrepreneurship club, but they are more focused on starting their own ventures instead of working with already existing ones. I think this movement would be an exciting movement to get involved with because we could help to improve our campus by helping the local businesses on Main Street, like Grassroots. Focusing on our small businesses could help improve the atmosphere of Main Street and make our university even better.grassroots

Student Loan Debt’s Online Platform

An online platform is vital for the movement I am looking at, Student Loan Debt. Given that the most affected group of people are students or recent graduates, the internet is a great way to reach them. Since the statistics surrounding student loan debt are so shocking, pictures that show how much debt people are accumulating based on region or on average are a quick and easy to get the message across. The numbers are undeniable, which is why when you google the movement that is the first thing you see. Another part of their platform is very informal but reaches a large audience: memes and twitter. There are pages upon pages of SpongeBob and Arthur and Disney themed student loan memes that highlight the frustration and pain caused by student loans through humor. The movement reaches their audience in many unconventional ways, but they also use a traditional website. One website is called Rolling Jubilee and it has a very appealing layout. The first thing you see is a current counter that advertises the current amount of money they have raised towards their cause and how much debt they have “abolished” total. They present statistics with easy to interpret drawings that make it more interesting. As already mentioned they take advantage of twitter’s influence on people’s lives, for instance they have a section that allows the viewer to simply click on a premade tweet and post it directly. Another form of media that they use a lot is videos. They have videos that span the range of polished professional recording explaining their plans and stance to home videos of protests and marches to boost morale and encourage action. Something I find really effective is the personal story videos that Student Debt Crisis has on their website. I think it makes the movement more relevant and relatable. I plan to include a variety of the types of media that the movement uses. I think it would be useful to use the more lighthearted memes to grab the viewer’s attention, but then also include the more moving personal story videos to really have the message hit home. I think it is also important to include statistical pictures/diagrams on my website because it helps to show the relevance of the issue. I will also include some audio clips to help show another way people get their information about the issues and the movement. I think NPR does a good job of showing how people seek advice about their student loans and decisions people have to make about savings and loans. I plan to include this variety of media because different viewers learn in different ways and by having different types of media presented in an appealing and easy to use way will reach the whole audience the best.


Advocacy: Making a Change

To me, advocacy is when people actively work to promote a change in the world that they perceive as positive. The point of advocating is to make the society as a whole see why their side of a problem is the morally right side. Advocacy movements that are successful tend to be ones that approach promoting their ideas peacefully. With MLK day being just last month, it is easy to call to mind Martin Luther King Jr.’s shining example of peacefully advocating for civil rights. The way I see it, the best way to advocate for something is to change what you do every day by going out of your way to talk to people who can make changes, going to places where injustices happen, attending marches and protests, creating and sharing social media campaigns, making ads for TV, newspaper, phones, raising money for support, and doing whatever is in your power to make a change no matter how small. For example, there is a group on campus who plans to make feminine hygiene products more available to women in Africa because that is one of the main reasons they must miss school every month and therefore have less education. That kind of advocating not only gets a message out but actually does something about it. Some other movements that come to mind are immigration, LGBTQ rights, gun violence, climate change, and student loan debt. Student loan debt interests me because it is something that affects me as a college student. With education being so expensive, it is harder to get a degree in a world where a degree is a requirement for most jobs that will lead you to the middle class. Another interesting movement is the one surrounding immigration given the new recent political atmosphere. I think it is important to study movements because they can be divisive and having the right facts is very important. Just like any argument it will be a benefit to fully understand both sides from studying the movements. One challenge will be trying to ignore our own innate biases from the way we were raised and the beliefs that are around us. It will be challenging to not react to the movements with only our emotions but use facts and logic, but it will be a rewarding experience.