To have another language is to possess a second soul.
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As someone who has lived within the academic world since the age of five years old, I always feel like the beginning of September is the “New Year” for me. The last six months have been very busy for me, both personally and professionally (having three kids will do that for you!) and I’ve not been a very consistent blogger…
So here is a new start, with four projects I am working on – What’s happening with CEC (Crisfield Educational Consulting) this year.
1. Right now, I am in the UK, Coventry to be precise, to present the results of our pilot project “Beyond EAL: Supporting Language Learners in British Schools” at the annual conference of the British Association of Applied Linguistics. The project was in collaboration with Dr. Jane Spiro of Oxford Brookes University, and New Marston Primary School in Oxford. Over the academic year, we did eight training sessions on various aspects bilingualism in education with the school staff, and ran a research project alongside. We’ve been very happy with our initial results, and are looking for partner schools who may be interested in committing to a longitudinal project, starting in Sept. 2015. If you would like more information, for yourself or for your school, you can find it on my website Crisfield Educational Consulting or email me.
2. Also new this year, I’ve joined the teacher-training team at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. One of my first important moments was opening a brief discussion of “mother tongue” use in language classes with a group of trainee teachers who have always been taught with the “target language ONLY” method. I really enjoy working with pre-service teachers and am looking forward to many interesting and thought-provoking sessions this year!
3. In addition to the academic side of my work, I also spend time working with parents, in various circumstances. The beginning of the year is always busy, as I go into schools to do seminars for parents on “Raising Bilingual Children” and the parental role when you are achieving bilingualism through education. Although teacher-education is very important, it’s also important for parents to understand their own critical role in the process. For parents who do not have access to these seminars at school, I also do seminars through local community organisations. There are upcoming sessions in The Hague in partnership with Passionate Parenting and in Amsterdam in partnership with Jacaranda Tree Montessori. These sessions are theory-and-practice sessions, on raising children with two or more languages, at home, school, or in the community.
4. DRONGO! The DRONGO Fesitival of Multilingualism is an annual event, held at the main public library (OBA) in Amsterdam every September, this year, September 27. The festival is is for people of all ages who are multilingual, want to be multilingual or just love language. There are too many events to list (see the website of FB page) but my personal project is the Children’s Program. This year we have an outstanding program lined up for parents and children, from multilingual story time with Amsterdam Mamas to Speed Language Lessons for Children with The European School Bergen, and on through theatre, creative writing, Chinese calligraphy and many others. I’ll write a full post on this festival – it deserves its own page – in the next two weeks. For now, I am doing a “general call” for readers for our “A Very Multilingual Caterpillar” read-a-thon. Last year this event was an overwhelming success, with standing room only and people being turned away. So this year, we are moving it to a bigger space (in the main area of the children’s floor), and having two sessions (11:00-12:00 and 15:30-16:30). If you would like to share your language with us, or know someone else who would like to share theirs, please do get it touch. Each reading takes between 5-7 minutes, and last year we had a dozen languages represented, which we would love to double!
So, off to present research and hear other interesting presentations about a host of language-related topics, and I’ll be back here sooner than you might expect..