In India low-cost private English medium schools are growing in popularity and in Ghana an early exit, transitional bilingual education model is promoted. The British Council, together with other institutions, did research at the classroom level in these countries on what this means for the learning of the children. The findings are worth considering with as key question: How to avoid damage to learning when teaching is through English?
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Thursday, September 28, 2017
|Expert panel in debate. Photo by Natalie Lovenburg|
While visiting government officials I have often come across the assumption that multilingual education would foster separation movements and therefore violence. Recently a panel called "Linguistic tolerance as a tool for resiliency in multilingual societies against violence and radicalization" addressed this issue. As this is also relevant for India I post the reference here.
Monday, March 20, 2017
We are often asked for research evidence with regards to the impact of MLE. Even though the below write up is not on a project in India, it seems to have enough similarity to make it relevant to take note of. The Endline survey of the pilot is showing that MLE children do better in particularly reading.
In the article Building bridges through multilingual schooling: a mother-tongue pilot in East Timor is showing the way, Kerry Taylor-leech writes with enthusiasm about the classes she observed. “The children love it and I too am enjoying myself immensely.”. About the evaluation report she states:
the survey compared children’s performance in EMBLI schools, government schools and Portuguese-immersion schools. Not surprisingly, the results show the benefits of learning in a language a child understands best. EMBLI children showed marked gains compared to the other children, especially in reading
|International Mother Language Day 2017 (Image source- en.unesco.org)|
In the week of the International Mother Language Day there are usually extra postings related to language and education. Particularly because this year the theme is: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. It is also a good excuse to list a few (new) resources.
The postings in the India Express and India Today are quite general in nature with some quotations from Unesco and background on the history of the day. WebIndia reports that activist used the day to demand linguistic parity for the regional languages. Chanpreet Kaur published an interview with Dr Mukti Sanyal on How the focus on English could be seriously damaging India's future with an interesting link to self-esteem: “We are losing our mother languages. And with it, we are losing self esteem, different ways of seeing the world, and encouraging the mugging up of the concepts”. Scroll.in used the opportunity to dig into history: Which 'mother language' did India's lawmakers want after Independence? A nice news item is that the goverment of Bengal gave Kurukh language an official status and a promise that Rajbangshi/Kamtapuri will also be given that status.
Saturday, October 29, 2016
New book on multilingual education in India with a special focus on teaching English.
Dr Mahendra Mishra is a well known figure in the area of multilingual education in India. He was State Coordinator for Multilingual Education (1996-2010) in Odisha and spearheaded the mother tongue-based multilingual education in the primary schools in ten tribal languages there. So, when he (co-)writes a book, we better take notice!
MLE proponents usually have a love-hate relationship with English as the English is often suppressing the building of a good foundation in the mother tongue. It is therefore quite courageous to write a book on "Multilingual Education in India: The Case for English". The description makes you want to read more:
"Some perceive English language education as a hindrance to the growth of lndian languages and allege that it causes a social divide. The arguments of this book convincingly correct this uninformed notion and prove that English has been a tool of empowerment and a driver of social and economic mobility. The contributors demonstrate that local languages and cultures can be revived by integrating them into English language education."
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
5th International Conference on Language and Education will start tomorrow
The 5th International Conference on Language and Education will take stock of recent developments in MLE policies and practices in the Asia-Pacific region, with a special focus on multilingual education in early childhood and primary education.There will be several presentations relevant to India.
The conference will start tomorrow with opening speeches from UNESCO and the Thai government. The Keynote address will be on "Supporting MTBMLE to achieve sustainable development for all: what have we learned about successful programs?" by Dr Susan Malone (SIL International). Some of the India related presentations are:
- Prarthana Kumari (Nirantar, India) and Anita Singh (Nirantar, India), Breaking language barriers in India
- Sivagami Sivasubbu (Aide et Action International, India), Experiences of Aide et Action imparting MLE through teacher training in India
- Dwiti Vikramaditya (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), India) and Kadey Soren (Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), India), India transition curriculum: a smooth transition of indigenous children from preschool to primary school, an initiative by Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, Odisha, India.
- Arpita Panda (English and Foreign Languages University, India), "Translanguaging": a pedagogical tool to improve reading comprehension of learners in a multilingual setting in Odisha, India
- Valerie Haugen (VoxPacis International Development) and Dhir Jhingran (Language and Learning Foundation, India), An analytical framework to inform strategic and programmatic decisions around language in education: cases from India, Lao PDR, and Papua New Guinea
- Binay Pattanayak (UNICEF India), Some steps towards MTB-MLE in Jharkhand, India
- Boneti Simhabaludu (World Vision, India), Collaborating: a key component to transform early childhood and primary education in India and a step towards achieving SDG-4
- Uma Maheshwari Chimirala (English and Foreign Languages University, India), Looking through the teachers' "other languages" use/preference: a study of the monolingual mindset in MLE classrooms in Andhra Pradesh, India
Monday, December 14, 2015
Policy Brief - Reading Solutions for girls in a multilingual setting
The 2015 Echidna Global Scholars Policy Brief has this year been titled Reading solutions for girls; Combating social, pedagogical, and systemic issues for tribal girls' multilingual education in India.
The 28 page Policy Brief has been written by Suman Sachdeva, Technical Director Education, CARE India. Here are a few highlights taken from a summary on the brooking website:
- The current approach to delivering effective multilingual education (MLE) for tribal students where tribal populations are more than 30 percent of the local population and where there are more than three dialects is inadequate overall and ignores gender-specific educational challenges.
- Although evidence suggests there is a small gender gap in reading ability between tribal girls and boys, in general girls are more heavily impacted by inadequate language skills in the short and long term as they become more vulnerable to drop out and thus unable to complete a full course of education.
- To address the shortcomings of the current MLE approach, policymakers must look into the social, pedagogical, and systemic barriers tribal girls face when impeded from acquiring reading skills
Monday, November 30, 2015
Last week the British Council India hosted the 11th Language and Development Conference on Multilingualism and Development in Delhi.
The Statemam published this week an article with highlights of the conference Of course there was quite some attention given to the role that English plays in the sociolinguistic arena india. Prof Ajit Mohanty spoke in that regard about "a double divide: one between the elitist language of power and the major regional languages (vernaculars) and, the other, between the regional languages and the dominated indigenous languages."
While talking about the promises the parents are given while enrolling their children in private English medium schools, Giridhar Rao of Azim Premji University, "argued that it is a false promise for two reasons. The first is the poor condition of the education system in the country. ... private schools do not give better academic results compared to government schools. The second reason, according to Rao, is that the introduction and teaching of English do not emerge out of a mother-tongue-based multi-lingual education."
Relevant was also a presentations by Seemita Mohanty, National Institute of Technology, on Mother-Tongue-Based Multilingual Education in the Indian State of Odisha.. She concluded: "Even though the programme is progressing on the right track, there are still numerous issues that need to be handled at the implementation level before it can be designated a success."
Not to often we hear about the particular linguistic needs of Moslim learners. Sajida Sultana, English and Foreign Languages University, presented on Muslim Education and Multilingual Contexts: A Study of Madrasas in Hyderabad. It focused on the multi-lingual context of madrasa education and concluded that "there is a need to have a greater understanding of madrasa education and also to relate research insights into curricular innovations in the teaching of English in non-native contexts."
Many more presentation were given. The British Council website reports: "The event was the largest of the conference series so far, attracting over 260 participants and with a programme of more than sixty sessions. Over 30 countries were represented, from Afghanistan to South Africa, Bhutan to the Philippines."
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Monday, November 17, 2014
MLE Research partnership for India
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 22, 2014