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The World in the Classroom Developing Multilingualism in Irish

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									     The World in the Classroom:
   Developing Multilingualism in an
         Irish Primary School




Bernadette O’Rourke (Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh)
Michael Cronin (Dublin City University)
What kinds of multilingualism
should be developed through
         schooling?


 What languages should be
   used for education in
 multilingual communities?
Irish Context: Effects of Celtic Tiger
   Emigration ---- immigration

   250, 000
       50% foreign national
    Changing Linguistic Landscape
   Eastern Regional Health Authority     130

   Translation & Interpreting Services   210

   Census of population                  1 in 10
        Schools as Sites of Linguistic
                  Diversity

   Deficit model
       2 years language support

       Mother-tongue not recognised
    Community Language – ‘Handicap’
             or ‘Problem’
   …there has to be a massive reform of the [Irish]
    educational system. The State sector has to be expanded
    and we have to have a doctrine for coping with
    foreigners speaking foreign languages in our schools.
    For example, there is good reason to outlaw foreign
    languages being spoken in the playground because the
    playground is the primary area for them to learn about the
    culture of the school and the society they are in. It is good
    to have foreigners in Ireland but it’s not good to have them
    create a separate culture in their schools…
              Language Rights
   Any credible educator will agree that schools
    should build on the experience and knowledge
    that children bring to the classroom, and
    instruction should also promote children's
    abilities and talents. Whether we do it
    intentionally or inadvertently, when we destroy
    children's language and rupture their
    relationship with parents and grandparents,
    we are contradicting the very essence of
    education (Cummins 1999).
‘The World in the Classroom’ Project
   Action research
   Inner-city primary school in Dublin

   ‘a form of self-reflective enquiry in social
    situations in order to improve the rationality and
    justice of their own practices, their
    understanding of these practices, and the
    situations in which the practices are carried out’
    (Carr and Kemmis 1986: 162)
                            Stage 1
   February – June 2007
   Migration and Citizenship Research Initiative
    (University College Dublin)

   Characteristics of school
       Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Nigeria, Vietnam,
        Mongolia, India, the Philippines.

   Focus Group Discussion
       Support for multilingualism
       Tensions
   One of the difficulties that we have is when a
    child comes to the school and has no English at
    all, and the parents don’t have English either.
    The parents will speak their own language at
    home rather than practicing English and trying
    to incorporate it as part of their home language.
    In the interest of the child, parents should
    make an effort to speak the language that
    the children are learning at school. There are
    a number of cases where the child has no
    English what so ever – if they don’t have a lot of
    the language there is a danger that they will
    become isolated (Language support teacher)
    Developing Strategies to Promote
        Multilingual Awareness
   Chow and Cummins (2003)

   Armand and Dagenais (2006)
    ÉLODIL (Éveil aux langage et ouverture à la
    diversité linguistique)
    www.elodil.com
                       Aims
   Enhance status of multilingual children

   Provide support for parents

   Expand teachers awareness
                     Pilot Study
   Participants
     Junior Infants (children 4-5 years)
     Mainstream and Resource Teacher

     Researcher



   Language-awareness activities
       ‘Language Flowers’ (www.elodil.com)
‘The Life Cycle of the Butterfly’
                    Outcomes
   Sensitized teachers & pupils to linguistic diversity

   Provided resources for teachers

   Created dialogue with parents

   Developed multilingual awareness at school level

   Towards a school language policy
              Future Directions
   Multilingual signage

   Communication through translation

   Multilingual storytelling

   Skills of migrant population
      The World in the Classroom




   Contact: B.M.A.O’Rourke@hw.ac.uk

								
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