As I head into a new school year, new projects are starting up. This year is a very exciting one here at Crisfield Educational Consulting (well, sounds impressive but it’s only me!). In addition to continuing the work I have been doing with families for almost ten years (seminars, family language planning) I am also launching myself back into the world of research.
Over a three-year span of time (2009-2012) I worked closely with the British School of Amsterdam, creating a bespoke training program that addressed the whole-school need for knowledge about bilingualism and practical applications for schools with high numbers of non-native speaker learners. Many of you may have experienced this situation yourselves, either having children at a school where the language was new, or having children who went to a school with many children who were “language learners”. As numbers of new arrivals increase across Europe (and in many other areas), schools are increasingly finding it a challenge to best serve all their students, both native speakers and non. The goal of this multi-seminar/workshop in-service training program is to enable all school staff to both understand and respond to the varying language needs in their classrooms. The program is entitled “Beyond EAL” (English as an additional language) because this is the term used in the UK for children who are learning English in school. However, the program content is suitable to any situation, not only for learners of English (also, for example, NTT (Dutch as a second language), FLE (French as a foreign language) etc.
This year, in cooperation with Oxford Brookes University and an Oxford-area primary school, we are piloting the training program as a whole-school, whole-year study.
I am very excited about this venture; it’s the culmination of many years of hard graft and it’s gratifying to be able to put it into motion in a new environment. I will talk about it some here on the blog, but not overly, as I recognize that most of my readers are here as parents, not as educators. If, however, you would like more information about the program, for your school, your children’s school, or for yourself, please feel free to contact me.