Posted in Content

Thoughts from FIGT

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference hosted by an organisation called Families in Global Transition. It is a group that works to better understand how to support families who are mobile, from a business and educational perspective. It was a very interesting experience, as I normally attend academic conferences rather than industry-type conferences.
One of the things that surprised me was how many different aspects of the mobile world can be impacted by language. Companies who offer moving support and school choice support need information on bilingualism, to better advise their clients on critical issues such as mother tongue maintenance, school language support, special needs services etc. Organisations that support international adoptions need access to information and research on the issue of language loss by adopted children. Coaches and therapists who work with Third Culture Kids and their families need a better understanding of how language issues can impact the expat experience.
For the first time, I found myself presenting the opposite perspective from my usual message – that bilingualism is not for every mobile family. In some situations (age of children, length of stay, special circumstances), choosing to add another language for a child is not always the right choice. However, I do believe that if a family chooses for monolingualism in an international lifestyle, there are ways to do so that can still benefit the children.
The bottom line, for me, is that everyone involved in an internationally mobile lifestyle needs a basic understanding of the principles of bilingualism, from a cognitive and sociolinguistic perspective, in order to navigate the language aspects of a global lifestyle in an informed manner.

One thought on “Thoughts from FIGT

  1. Kids moving around with parents every few years do need some stable factors – such as a strong family culture, since that is the only unchanging variant in their lives. At the same time, an openness to being sensitive to the host languages(s) does not have to be overwhelming. Finding international schools with excellent support structures (who also engage in the local community) is the ideal scaffold for interlingual exposure.

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s