Saturday, January 25, 2014

[MLE] Webinar on January 27: Transition from Mother Tongue

Dear multilingual Education friends,

Next week on Monday the 27th there will be a webinar on "Using an Additional Language as the Medium of Instruction: Transition in Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education" The Webinar will be led by Dr Agatha van Ginkel who I happen to know as we both speak the same mother tongue: Dutch! Dr van Ginkel has a wide experience on as well the grassroot level as in national and international level projects. Highly recommended! Note in the below announcement that you need to sign up as the space is limited.

Monday, January 20, 2014

[MLE] Release of ASER Report - also: Implications for English teaching

Dear multilingual Education friends,

Every year the ASER report provides a great source of data with regards to realities of primary education in rural India. The ASER press release states:
Every year, ASER finds out whether children in rural India go to school, whether they can read simple text and whether they can do basic arithmetic.

Nationally, the proportion of all children in Std. V who can read a Std. II level text remains virtually the same since 2012, at 47%. This proportion decreased each year from 2009 to 2012, dropping  from 52.8% in 2009 to 46.9% in 2012. Among Std. V children enrolled in government schools, the percentage of children able to read Std. II level text decreased from 50.3% (2009) to 43.8% (2011) to 41.1% (2013). Over the last three years, there has been a steady increase in the provision of libraries in schools that have been visited. The All India figure for schools with no library provision
dropped from 37.4% in 2010 to 22.9% in 2013.

Given the changing priorities in education policy and the shift in focus to learning outcomes, we hope that in the next few years there will be much better news to report on children’s learning.
While reflecting on the data, Rukmini Banerji, the director of ASER, wrote in the Hindustan Times an article on "When and how English should be taught in schools". Some quotes:
The figures indicate that about half of all rural children in Class 8 can read a set of simple sentences and of those who can read about three-fourths can explain the meaning of what they have read. - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/when-and-how-english-should-be-taught-in-schools/article1-1166370.aspx#sthash.lllnv1NR.dpuf
When and how English should be taught in schools
When and how English should be taught in schools
When and how English should be taught in schools
When and how English should be taught in schools
The figures indicate that about half of all rural children in Class 8 can read a set of simple sentences [in English] and of those who can read about three-fourths can explain the meaning of what they have read.

Time and again, the NCF 2006 focus group paper on the teaching of English dwells on the need to help children learn their first language well. Looking at our own realities, it is essential that we must develop our own ways of bridging between languages and creating our own processes for language development within and across languages

More often than not, the weakness in learning a new language has less to do with the new language and more to do with lack of capability, competence and confidence in the original language. Second, if children have print material around them — books, stories, posters, newspapers, slogans — the more they learn how to deal with print. This is true regardless of the language. (ASER 2012 figures indicate that apart from textbooks, less than 20% of rural households have any material to read.)

We have found that children respond well to texts that have both languages interspersed. This is different from bilingual texts where both languages are placed side by side.

We have found that children respond well to texts that have both languages interspersed. This is different from bilingual texts where both languages are placed side by side. - See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/comment/analysis/when-and-how-english-should-be-taught-in-schools/article1-1166370.aspx#sthash.lllnv1NR.dpuf
We must encourage children to have fun in using language differently and appropriately in different situations for different purposes. Serious investment in building strong foundations in language skills will reap rich dividends in all the languages that children use. Whether Hindi, English or any other language, our approach to children in our fertile language landscape must be connected to our realities and suited to our condition, capabilities, needs and uses.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

[MLE] Crowdsourcing for MLE project

Dear MLE friends,

The project managers of the Toto mother tongue based multilingual education project in West Bengal have become very creative in their fund raising. Instead of looking for big donors, they are collecting funds via crowd-sourcing. Look at their promotional website and video to learn how they do that.

Besides that, the approach the project is taking is also of interest. Lissa Davies writes "... We have been using Karla's heritage playschool book as our template curriculum. We have since, developed our own curriculum and TLMs, which we are thinking of putting  into a publishable document, given that there must be other communities out there, especially in India, whereby they face the same problems we have faced. " 

Monday, December 2, 2013

[MLE] E-publication: ‘Signposts to Identity-Based Community Development’

Dear multilingual education friends,


In March 2013 LEAD Asia held workshop on the topic of 'Identity-Based Community Development', bringing together 60 community development practitioners from 12 different countries. One of the outputs of this event was the production of a practitioners guide titled Signposts to Identity-Based Community Development .

The guide provides a useful resource for anyone involved in community development work, particularly among linguistic minorities. It is adding to the growing literature around the importance of communities identity, language and culture in the development process. A brief introduction to the guide is included below.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

[MLE] UN launches essay contest to celebrate multilingualism

Dear multilingual education friends,

The United Nations is encouraging college and university students to write an essay in one of its six official languages on the role of multilingualism in a globalized world. To qualify, the student’s native language has to be different from the one in which he or she writes, and different from the principal one at the school. The contest is called "Many languages, one world’.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

[MLE] ECCE- Article: The Word and the World

Dear MultiLingual Education friends,

Against the backdrop of the new Early Childhood Care and Education policies Prof Shivali Tukdeo recently wrote an article in the Indian Express titled The Word and the World . A few quotes:
The inclusion of home or local languages in preschool is a step in the right direction, for educational as well as social reasons.

Evidence-based studies on early childhood and research in educational psychology and cognition suggest that exposure to multiple languages can facilitate early development.
Given the interactive nature of early learning, home languages and local vernaculars would be excellent resources to introduce the child to the rhymes, rhythms and stories of a world that she inhabits. With the inclusion of mother tongues and local vernaculars in preschools, many neighbourhoods and localities, with their different stories, will enter the realm of school.
If the responses to the recent textbooks in Santhali, Gondi and Kok Barok are any indication, Adivasi children want to see their languages in school. The development of local languages as languages of knowledge production and dissemination will be crucial in democratising our education.
The language debate would be more productive if it were not framed within the binaries of either-or. The proposal to introduce mother tongues or home languages is not against English, and should not be taken to be so.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

[MLE] NMRC Conference "Whither MLE?"; Delhi, JNU, Nov 21-23

Dear MLE friends,

Just after the MLE conference in Thailand at which several people from India will participate, there will also be an MLE conference in India organised by the National Multilingual Education Resource Consortium (NMRC). The conference is titled "Whither MLE? Rethinking MultiLingual Education in the 21st century".

A quote from the Conference website:
This conference, "Whither MLE?" will therefore attempt to revisit our assumptions of a modern Global Indian state and Indian education in 21st century against the constitutional debates, the NCF2005 and the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan where MLE is implemented as an innovation program for tribal children. Can we imagine a post colonial, post modern Indian state without recognizing and building on the multilinguality of Indian and World communities? Shouldn't subaltern discourse inform the entire school education practice of India? Shouldn't all schools including the ECCE centers have a multilingual pedagogy that builds on the home languages of the children? Analysis of these issues will provide a fresh paradigm for examining the reasons for marginality of the hitherto run MLE programs in Indian schools and the inadequacy and in-egalitarian nature of the universal school education system in India. This conference will create a layered discussion on each of these issues, reflect critically on the MLE programmes and practices in Indian school and develop an agenda for implementing MLE in all schools in future.
The following themes will be covered:
  1. Taking Stock: Current MLE Research and Programs in India
  2. MLE Policy and Advocacy
  3. MLE Strategies and Innovations
  4. Pedagogic Practices, Teacher Training and Capacity Building for MLE
  5. Networking and Partnership in MLE research and Programs
  6. Future of MLE in India
  7. RTE Act 2009 and Multilingual Education
  8. Planning for SAARC level conference on MLE in November 2014