Wednesday, January 21, 2015

[MLE] Good news from Nepal


                                 

Nepal reports positive effects from local language classes

Only a few months ago the Nepal press reported negatively about the multilingual education programs. But this time is different.

The article Start of native language classes ups enrolment states: "According to the District Education Office (DEO), the use of native language has not only proved effective but also helped increase the quality of education."

Fun to read that in this Magar community the program has motivated the parents to send their children to school. If the claims stated by the headmasters and government officials are true, it looks bright for this program. The article also gives some context: "Starting in 2007, the government introduced education on mother tongue in Tamang, Athpahariya, Dhut Magar, Santhali, Rajbansi, Uraw and Rana Tharu languages in seven schools from Rasuwa, Dhankuta, Palpa, Jhapa, Sunsari and Kanchanpur districts.The School Sector Reform Programme has also adopted education in mother tongue and has a plan to introduce it in 7,500 schools by the end of 2015. "

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.
"