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How can we profit from multilingualism? Good practices in Europe

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Presentation by Dr. Jacomine Nortier (Utrecht University) at the Rutu Roundtable on Multilingual Education for Migrant Children in Europe.
The Roundtable was hosted by Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands and was held on 6 November 2015.
More info: http://www.rutufoundation.org/rutu-roundtable-utrecht/

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How can we profit from multilingualism? Good practices in Europe

  1. 1. How can we profit from multilingualism? Good practices in Europe Jacomine Nortier, Utrecht University, The Netherlands RUTU ROUNDTABLE MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR MIGRANT CHILDREN IN EUROPE 6 NOVEMBER/ UTRECHT, THE NETHERLANDS 14:15-14:30 / #RutuRT
  2. 2. RUTU round table, November 6, 2015 Jacomine Nortier
  3. 3. Athens Dublin Hamburg Limassol (Cyprus) London Madrid Osijek (Croatia) Oslo Rome Sofia Strasbourg Utrecht Varna (Bulgaria) Toronto Vancouver Montreal Ottawa Melbourne
  4. 4. In all cities primary and secondary data were collected Primary data: City respondents were questioned about the reality of multilingualism in their city, about language policy/practice, visibility, affordances and challenges Secondary data: Data on/about multilingualism. Manifestations/examples of multilingualism.These visual examples can be found in printed images,TV, media, architecture, and urban design
  5. 5.  Public services  Economy  Education  Health care  Urban space We interviewed both police-makers/influencers and policy-implementers/users
  6. 6. 18 city reports: http://www.urbanlanguages.eu/cityreports 6 ‘toolkits multilingualism’: http://www.urbanlanguages.eu/toolkits
  7. 7. http://www.urbanlanguages.eu/images/stories/ docs/toolkits/toolkit-economy.pdf Some examples:
  8. 8. Ideas for the multilingual jobseeker Have you considered a qualification in the language of an emerging economy or in a less widely spoken language? Have you considered taking language courses that address the needs of companies in your city? Remember, you don’t need to have native-like fluency in a language in order to recognise it as a skill – businesses need people who are culturally sensitive and who can get along with a wide range of people! Here is a list of professional areas and their required languages within Germany. In other regions, other languages might be needed! • Logistics, foreign trade: English, any language depending on which country company is trading with • Hotel, catering industry: English • Healthcare, caring for the elderly:Turkish, Russian, Polish,Arabic, Dari, Farsi; Crafts: Turkish, Russian, Polish; • Support services: Wide range of languages; • Child care: English, Spanish,Turkish, Russian, Polish,Chinese; • City administration (public services, police, fire brigades, penal system): English, Turkish, Russian, Polish.
  9. 9. Ideas for employees Have you thought about how you can make your employer aware of your language skills? Ideas for employers Are you aware of the language skills that your employees possess? Language may be a criterion for selection, but do you track current employees who speak another language? Consider carrying out an audit of the language skills in your company. Keep in mind that any additional language is a key skill, so encourage employees to think about their home languages, as well as languages learned in education or while abroad. Is your human resources department aware of the skills in the company and how they might be used? How might trainers in your company work with multilingual employees? This questionnaire is based on the Common European Framework of reference for Languages (CEFR) can be used to assess language competences of employees. Employees report a) their spoken languages and b) the level of those spoken languages: http://www.kombi-hamburg.de/kombi.html?seite=17&lang=en
  10. 10. http://www.urbanlanguages.eu/images/stories/ docs/toolkits/toolkit-plurilingual.pdf Some examples:
  11. 11. Questions teachers might ask: • How can I facilitate their bilingual experiences as a resource for the bilingual children themselves? • How can their bilingual experiences become a resource for all children? • What can I do to create a linguistically rich school and classroom environment that reflects the community of learners I teach and encourages bilingual development? • How do I promote the idea that all languages are of equal value and that each pupil’s home language is important and interesting? • How do I promote the idea that linguistic diversity is not only normal, but also enriching and pleasurable? Some answers/suggestions:
  12. 12. Start by making a record of the home languages spoken by children, parents and teachers/school staff. Consider making this visible in some attractive way, such as “Our languages” displays in common areas and classrooms. Make use of language portraits – let the children explain their linguistic experience, knowledge and feelings in suitable ways. In the “languages of the month project” each month a language spoken by a child in school is introduced and promoted throughout the school. Pupils from other countries present their language, simple words and phrases by video: http://www.newburypark.redbridge.sch.uk/langofmonth/ A good instrument to start raising awareness of the languages pupils speak and how they feel about them is the European Language Portfolio.The website of the Council of Europe contains valuable information on its development, as well as on how to use it.The portfolios can be displayed in the classroom as a record of achievement. (http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/education/elp/) Encourage children to do their class work (especially group work) and homework in their strongest language – let them decide if they want to use their home language(s) during partner or group work which aims at understanding a task or problem. Encourage them to make comparisons between expressions in their home language and the host language – even if you as a teacher don’t speak the home languages.Trust the children and encourage them to experience themselves as successful learners.
  13. 13. Ideas for school leaders In Strasbourg, a pilot was launched to assess the level of heritage language learners at the end of the school year.The levels were linked to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages: Learning,Teaching and Assessment.This language assessment scheme complements the usual assessment schemes of schools. Heritage language learners and their parents see their competences recognised and valued. Ideas for parents Ideas for teacher trainers What can children and young people do? Bilingual children and young people can be asked to take on the role of a ‘buddy’ to a child who is new to school and often new to the host language. In Hamburg the Family Literacy Project supports parents to read and write with their children at home. http://li.hamburg.de/family-literacy/ Introduce student teachers to ways of identifying pupils’ abilities and experience in their home language.
  14. 14.  We didn’t ‘invent’ anything!  Cooperation on a large scale can lead to useful results.  Ample evidence that multilingual is an asset, not a burden!

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