Saturday, June 18, 2022

MLE+: Schools Embracing Local Culture and Language (BBC)

 

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-61497001

Children at the Freedom School Kenya, Africa



Creating a school environment that helps the children to love their local languages and cultures seems rather idealistic. The BBC recently published a video clip of a school in Africa that does just that: celebrating the children’s culture in the school. As also in Africa, teaching is based on a post-colonial curriculum, that is rather unique. This is worth taking note of!


To begin with, the Freedom School in Kenya promotes love and acceptance of their own culture by encouraging children to speak their mother tongue. The BBC documentary Afrocentrism: The school teaching kids to love their African culture shows a school culture and curriculum that is Africa centred through which the children are growing to love who they are. The children are provided with mentorship and with plenty of encouragement to embrace their own heritage. This has also resulted in an increasing use of mother tongue names.  The children are being provided opportunities for inclusion and quality learning which have increased their academic learning skills. Furthermore, instead of conventional uniforms cultural patterns are worn by children which has taught them to love how they look. According to Dr Charles Ong’ondo from the Kenya Institute of Curriculum development, African traditional education had been undermined by the colonisers. The Freedom School has a Competency Based Curriculum which includes cultural elements such as learning Swahili, local other languages and the use of traditional clothes. This is MLE+: not just the languages but also the local cultures are valued!

Resources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-61497001

Produced, filmed and edited by Njoroge Muigai, Additional filming by Ashley Ogonda

Published 19 May Section BBC News Subsection Africa

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Jharkhand Tribal languages to be used as medium of Instruction


When I read the news that “Tribal children in Jharkhand get lessons in their own language”, I checked back with my friend Binay Pattanayak (Senior Education Consultant at the World Bank). I was pleased to note that he confirmed that there are indeed things moving there!

There has been a push for tribal schools in Jharkhand to use the local languages since 2015. The development of textbooks in 5 tribal languages (Santhali, Mundari, Ho, Kuruh and Kharia) and 2 regional languages (Bangla and Odia) that were published back in 2016 was a step in that direction. In accordance with the NEP, Jharkhand education department now says that children are to be instructed in their mother tongue till the 3rd standard. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

New Books on Multilingualism, Education and Inequality

 


In nearly every conversation I have had over the years with Prof Rama Kant Agnihotri, somehow we would talk about the concept of the fluidity of languages. No wonder that he is the co-author of a book on multilingualism. He also recently co-published a book on education and inequality with a solid section on the issue of language. Two books worth noting!


The book Being and Becoming Multilingual: Some Narratives, consists of 14 essays on topics like “ Being Multilingual” “Growing Up as a Multilinguist” and “Negotiating Multilinguality”. The note on the cover states: ”While this volume provides novel theoretical insights into language acquisition and use, it is also a timely and relevant reminder of how dynamic human communication and linguistic awareness forge relationships that go beyond constructs and agendas.” 


The  above book does not have a direct link to education, however the book Education and Inequality: Historical and Contemporary Trajectories does: It has several essays on the issue of language with authors like Kathleen Heugh and Minati Panda. Particularly the essay on “Examining the Linguistic Dimension of Draft National Education Policy '' looks interesting.


Thanks for letting us know about these relevant publications, Prof Agnihotri!


Regards,

Karsten van Riezen

Upasana Lepcha


Monday, March 21, 2022

Collaboration between two resources: Storyweaver and Bloom Library

At the recent International Mother Tongue Language Day, the use of technology was emphasised. Bloom Library and Storyweaver are two pieces of simple software which come to the rescue of educators, parents, and students who want to create books in their own language. It is good to note that, rather than competing with each other, they complement each other and host each other's books and resources on their websites.

Picture Source : https://storyweaver.org.in/publishers/3814-bloom-library

As many of you are already aware, there are two very useful online book-creation tools that are making enjoyable reading material available for children in many different languages. They are Storyweaver from Pratham Books and Bloom Library  by SIL International. Both of these online libraries not only offer books in many languages but also allow one to create one’s own books and download them for future use. They also have a variety of  image libraries which can be used by someone creating a resource. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Happy International Mother Language Day! -Studies in Assam & Webinar

Happy International Mother Language Day! -Studies in Assam & Webinar

Today, as I was running some errands, I noticed a lot of action on the roadside. As someone was talking passionately through a microphone I assumed it was a political rally. But then I heard one phrase coming back again and again: "Matri Bhasha". Of course, I thought, today is International Mother Language Day! That gives me a  good excuse to highlight a new initiative in Assam. It is also a good reason to recommend a webinar multilingual education later today.

Pic Courtesy: UNESCO.ORG

February 21 is the International Mother Language Day. The day is to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism around the world. The theme of the year 2022 is “Using technology for multilingual learning: Challenges and opportunities”.


As reported by the Times of India and other newspapers, Assam schools are planning  to introduce 4 languages as new media of instruction: Rabha, Missing, Tiwa and Dewri in the upcoming academic year. This was announced earlier this month by the Education Minister Ranoj Pegu. It is a part of the New Education Policy (NEP) which promotes the use of mother tongue in education. According to Pegu a ‘multilingual pedagogy’ will be used and will focus on English and Hindi as well. Bodo, Hmar and Garo are already being taught in schools in Assam and introduction of the new languages were a long standing demand of the Tribal organisations and Sahitya Sabhas. We are looking forward to hearing more about it in the coming years!


As it is a special day today, it is worth mentioning that the National Multilingual Education Resource Centre is conducting a webinar today at 5 PM on the topic of “Language practices and classroom pedagogy in India". Given the fact that all 4 speakers have a broad experience in this field, I would highly recommend attending that! See details below.


Regards,

Karsten



Wednesday, January 26, 2022

NCERT Video lesson for teachers on multilingual education in primary grades

 

The NCERT/LLF  video lesson is making the concepts very clear for teachers

There is quite a bit of material on the Internet about multilingual education aimed at an academic audience. This week I watched the newly published video lesson  hosted by NCERT aimed at primary school teachers. Dhir Jingran, together with other LLF staff are the resource persons and are making multilingual education very practical. I love the participatory way the lesson is designed: there are interactions, video fragments, brief explanations, helpful graphics and ways for the audience to ask questions: worth watching!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Odisha to teach tribal children in their own languages: Project ‘Samhati’

The Hindu reported Nov 19, 2021 on Project ‘Samhati’  

Odisha has been for years the most active Indian state with regards to Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education (MTB – MLE). In the context of the new National Education Policy it has recently initiated Project ‘Samhati’ to ensure that tribal children are indeed taught in their own languages.