Tuesday, December 16, 2014

MLE; Teaching in the tribal languages of Assam

 
 

National Geographic Reports on MLE in Assam

National Geographic published last month a brief article on the multilingual educations program the NGO PAJHRA  is doing among the tea planters in Assam.

 
The article titled "A Talk over Tea: Preserving India's Indigenous Languages" states:
"
Although Adivasis account for about 20 percent of the population, most local schools do not teach in Adivasi languages. Dropout rates are high, while literacy rates are low. To address these challenges, an organization called PAJHRA (Promotion & Advancement of Justice, Harmony, and Rights of Adivasis) is working with the community to promote and preserve their languages. "

About the teaching activities it states:
"
The project team developed, printed, and distributed 300 copies of an Adivasi alphabet book and 35 copies of an Adivasi storybook. Collaborative community meetings at Ananda Tea Estate helped the workers there lobby for the creation of Adivasi school houses."

Good to note that these type of activities are published and funded by National Geographic. Thanks to Luke Horo for the tip!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

[MLE] MLE related books and papers

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An emerging research partnership for multilingual education
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Multilingual Education Related Resources

 

Dear Multilingual Education Friends,

Sometimes we come across beautiful resources awhile after they were published.  Here are a few:

  • Common tongue: The impact of language on educational outcomes, a paper by Tarun Jain (2011) in which he explores the issue of language in relation to economic performance. He studies the impact that the reorganisation of Indian states has made on economic status on  the district level in relation to the language spoken. He concludes: “After reorganization, historically minority language districts experience greater growth in educational achievement compared to previously majority language districts, indicating that reassignment could reverse the impact of history.”
  • Children’s Literature in Multilingual Classrooms: From multiliteracy to multimodality, a book by Jim Cummings (foreword), Christine Hélot, Raymonde Sneddon and Nicola Day. Even though it is not about India, it seems relevant, as the description states: “It looks specifically at how translation can support learning, at how dual language books enhance learning in both languages, and at making and reading books from a variety of cultural backgrounds and in a variety of languages.  It provides much evidence for improved learning outcomes as well as children's social and personal development.”
  • Assessing early grade reading: The value and limits of ‘words per minute’,  a paper written by Barbara Graham and Agatha van Ginkel. This research paper is interesting for those of us involved in grading and research as in the study also two minority language speaking groups were included. The conclusion is that “WPM is not a reliable comparative measure of reading development since linguistic and orthographic features can differ considerably and are likely to influence the reading acquisition process.”
As so many of us know Dhir Jhingran, let me also mention here about his recent article entitled: Writing on board: Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan must be phased out.
Enough to read for today!

Karsten
http://www.mle-india.net/
Book: Multilingual Classrooms
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Monday, November 17, 2014

MLE Research partnership for India
Panel Discussion

 
Dear Multilingual Education Friends,

Last month the English Partnerships team of the British Council of India convened a research round-table on multilingual education in India.

The reason for the meeting was that the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at the University of Reading had proposed a collaborative research partnership with Indian universities and institutions to investigate the issues around multilingual literacy and education at the primary level in India. At the meetings, a framework was discussed for “setting up a longitudinal project into the role of mother tongues and regional languages in learning and teaching in India.”

During one of the evenings, there was a panel discussion on the “Benefits and challenges of multilingual education in India” with several people included who are well known to many of us: Dr Dhir Jhingran (UNICEF India), Prof. Ianthi Tsimpli, Dr Rukmini Banerji (Pratham – ASER Centre), Prof. Paul Gunashekar (EFL University, Hyderabad), Prof. Ajit Mohanty (National Multilingual Education Resource Centre) and Dr Mahendra Mishra (ICICI Foundation).

The outcome of the meeting has been the setting up of a “research consortium of interested parties who would like to be involved in the development of this project, with a view to submitting a joint application for funding.” We are looking forward to the outcome of that!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning in English and mother tongue are not mutually exclusive

 

Kieran Cooke from the Universal Learning Solutions, claims that if a synthetic phonics approach for literacy is taken governments do not need to choose between the mother tongue and e.g. English but can do both simultaniously.

The article on the World Education Blog  describes a Synthetic phonetic approach to reading as :
"This approach teaches pupils letter sounds (for example, mmm not em, sss not es) and how to blend those sounds together to read words (so d-o-g makes ʻdogʼ). At the same time they learn how to write words by segmenting a word into its sounds, and then forming letters for those sounds."

It then gives some examples from Africa which proof that also for non Mothertingue English children this approach gives better results than conventional methods. There is also a reference to India:

"One study using this approach with Kannada-speaking children in India shows that synthetic phonics in English is more effective if it is introduced in the mother tongue first. Teaching in the mother tongue for one term gives the pupils enough time to learn the letter sounds of their mother tongue and read simple words. It provides enough time for pupils to read and write confidently before the language of instruction changes to English, often in upper primary or lower secondary. "

The blog post concludes:
"It is clear, therefore, that there is need for children to read and write confidently in both English and their local language. However perhaps we need not have to choose between whether pupils should learn to read and write in English or their local language"

It is a bit questionable if these claims are really about language or more about a good reading method, but nevertheless the statements are worth some deliberation.

Thanks to Lissa Davies for the tip.
Regards,
Karsten
http://www.mle-india.net/

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pre-primary education in tribal language in Kerala

Tribal children at an anganwadi in Attappady. Photo: K. K. Mustafah     

The Hindu reports that The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) is planning an educational package for tribal pre-primary children in their own language. 

 
The article titled Pre-primary education in tribal language states:
"Anganwadi teachers will use languages of different tribal ethnic groups to impart pre-primary education. The curriculum has been prepared, and it includes details of the origin, history, cultural diversity, and social life among different tribal groups "

The given rationale reads:
“When these children begin their education, at the pre-primary stage in the anganwadis near their settlements, they find themselves lost. The language used for instruction and communication here is frighteningly strange. The process flows on to the primary level too. Majority of these children drop out of school as they find it difficult to fully comprehend classroom teaching and the activities, or read the language and understand textbooks,”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[MLE] Lessons in mother tongue for Rajasthan schools


                         

                       
                        

                                 

Lessons in mother tongue for Rajasthan schools

After Andra Pradesh and Odisha, now also Rajesthan wants to implement education in the mother tongue of the children.  The Times of India reports:

"To curb the dropout rates, especially among children in the tribal and remote areas and to instill interest towards learning, Rajasthan State Institute for Education and Training ( SIERT) is set to launch a UNICEF supported pilot project on MTB learning.
Ten schools each in Udaipur, Dungarpur and Banswara districts have been chosen under the project, where children of class one will be given lessons in the local dialect. While Mewari will be the medium of teaching for students in Udaipur, teachers will communicate in Wagri with the scholars in the other two districts.
"

Monday, August 11, 2014

[MLE] Odhisa Expands MLE program till class V

Last Month the government of Odisha made a significant move in the expansion of the multilingual education program. The Times of India reports:

"In a bid to extend the mother-tongue based Multilingual Education Programme (MLE), the state government has decided to use mother tongues as medium of instruction for the first five years in primary schools. In these classes, Odia will be taught as the second language from Class II and English will be introduced as a language subject from Class III."


Usha Padhee, secretary, school and mass education department, Government of Odisha affirms the long-term benefits of multilingual education.

It seems that the Odisha government is the first one to take the education in the Mothertongue really serious. Mr Usha Padhee, secretary, school and mass education department states:

"Continuing primary education for the first five years of school in the mother tongue will have several long-term benefits like sustained achievement at school, increased self-confidence and self-proficiency. Also, the children will learn Odia and English better if these languages are introduced when they are older,"

Monday, June 23, 2014

[MLE] National Seminar on Language Education, Chhattisgarh


Dear MultiLingual Education Friends,

The report on the  National Seminar on Language Education  has come out . The seminar was  organized  jointly by the SCERT and IFIG  at 21-23  February,  2014  at Raipur  Chhattisgarh with Dr Mahendra Mishra as convenor. The three main issues addressed at this seminar are stated as follows:
      
  1. How multilinguality is a reality and how our schools are unable to ensure the linguistic rights of the children.
  2. How language of the text book is teacher-centric and unable to represent the meaning of the texts in a language that is not understood by the children.
  3. How education can  be imparted  –  as far as practicable to those children who are linguistic minority,  and  equally  be  able  to  maintain equal  competencies  in  many  languages  like Hindi and English based on their mother tongue.
Experts in the area of multilingualism and multilingual education like Prof. D P Pattanayak, Prof Ramakant Agnihotri,  Prof. Rajesh Sachdeva, Prof. Minati Panda presented papers and contributed to the discussions. Even though it was a national seminar, there was a special emphasis on the host state Chhattisgarh. Some of the listed outcomes for this state are:               
  • Preparation of report on linguistic survey as it was already done in 2008 by SCERT but not in a report  form
  • Reform of curriculum, based on children’s language, knowledge and revise text book.
  • Strengthening  of  TEG  (Teacher  Educator  Group)  about  300  teachers,  to  explore conceptual knowledge of teachers.
  • Policy documents on language in Chhattisgarh.
  • Recruitments  of  teacher’s  policy  based  on  availability  of  language  teachers  in  tribal areas           
  • More 2-3 conceptual seminars will be organise on language at different areas.
Particular those with an interest in the state of Chhattisgarh should take an effort to read this 52 page report which gives a rich overview of the discussions and deliberations during this 3 day seminar.

Regards,
Karsten


PS IFIG is the  "ICICI  Foundation  for Inclusive Growth"

            

--
Karsten van Riezen
Education
Consultant, LinkedIn Profile
SIL International, South Asia Group
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

[MLE] A sad story from Nepal

Dear multilingual education friends,

Usually newspaper articles report on something new starting. This time Republic in Nepal reports on a failing project. The article Multilingual education fails to attract students in Jhapa points out that due to book supply challenges and resistance from the parents, several MLE classes have stopped.  It would be interesting to investigate further what is going on there. If you know any background on this, please put your comments on the MLE-India blog just below this entry. A few quotes:
In Jhapa district, more than three dozen schools had been conducting classes in around half a dozen local languages, including Rajbanshi, Limbu, and Santhal. However, many of these schools could not implement the mother-tongue based education after stakeholders criticized the use of local languages as the medium of instruction.
It seems one of the problems was with the teachers:
Jhapa had introduced a provision of hiring teachers who knew local languages, but the plan faltered as teachers who could teach in local languages were not available.
But is seems the main issue is:
“Parents want their children to learn English rather than their own mother tongues,”

Friday, March 28, 2014

[MLE] PAK moves to declaring mother tongues as national languages

Dear multilingual education friends,

There seem to be some significant moves in the language policies of our northern neighbour Pakistan. The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage earlier this months "declared major mother tongues as national languages and pledged not to allow 1linguiside'  of rich mother tongues" A few quotes from the article  NA panel for declaring mother tongues as national languages:

This one was new to me:
Punjabi scholar Saeed Farani said many verses in the Holy Quran have emphasised the importance of mother tongue and all Sufi poetry was in local languages.
With regards to MLE:
They urged the federal and provincial governments to take concrete steps for imparting education in mother tongues, as several regional languages were rapidly disappearing.
On regional versus national:
The resolution acknowledged that all mother tongues of Pakistan belonged to the whole country, rather than just one particular area and that all mother tongues were rooted in Pakistan’s soil in entirety and thereby derived their national status.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

[MLE] New book - Orthographies

Dear Multilingual education friends,

Some of the tribal groups in need for education in their mother tongue do not yet have a proper orthography. A new books has come out that topic:

 
Developing Orthographies for Unwritten Languages
Linguistics and Orthography
 ·         Michael Cahill & Keren Rice (Editors). 2014. Developing Orthographies for Unwritten Languages. SIL International. 276 pgs
·         

It is available in India via flipkart and Amazon . The table of content is given below.