2017 was a busy year for me, and ended with the splitting of my site for parents (this one) from my site for schools (now at www.crisfieldeducationalconsulting.com). Although in many ways it is easier to maintain one site, and although the messages I hope to share on my blog are equally important for parents and for teachers, I felt that I could do a better job of speaking to each group about their concerns in separate posts and on separate forums. I still maintain that raising bilingual children is a partnership involving parents, teachers, families and communities, so I do hope that readers will read from both sites, and find interesting ideas and content on both.
That said, in this post I want to highlight what I think were my most important posts this year here at onraisingbilingualchildren. The first two are notable not only for their content but also because they both involve a new venture or experience for me. The next two I have chosen for their continuing impact on my community, as noted by their popularity when first posted and in on-going visits. The final choice is my the post that I feel reflects my own journey with this site and my professional work this year.
This post marked my first (and so far, my last!) podcast. I was invited to contribute to the Amsterdam Mamas podcast series, on the subject of bilingual education, and bilingualism in education. I normally do not consider myself a public person, and so going online and on air with my (not always well-received) opinions about issues relating to equal access to education and linguistic rights was challenging for me. But I’m glad I did it, as this podcast resonated with many families, who contacted me to tell me about their own experiences with language issues in schooling. I hope that it provoked some good discussions, and helped some parents stand up for their children’s right to use their own languages at school.
This post isn’t really even a blog post, as it’s all about the video. I’ve been working a lot with translanguaging pedagogy over the last several years, and this video was an exciting way to share this work. Again, I’ve never done video before, so the process of taking my in-depth understanding of translanguaging and putting it into a 2-minute video was both challenging and rewarding. It’s kind of like an elevator pitch for pedagogy… and it’s also had a great response, especially from teachers.
I wrote this post in 2013, so it isn’t a 2017 post by any means, but it remains consistently one of my most popular posts. I think that this reflects the growing concern that many families have when faced with the challenge of parents having two different languages. People who find this post are obviously searching for very specific information about parenting in two languages, and it shows a growing interest in the important role that a father also plays in a child’s linguistic development.
February 21 is an important day for anyone who works in the field of education or applied linguistics. Although it is not yet widely known, and is often ignored, International Mother Language Day is growing in reach and provides an impetus for important discussions related to language and children in today’s world. I am seeing more schools celebrate with their children, and more attention from media as well, and this is noticeable in the traffic that this blog post gets as well. Now if only they would change “mother” to something more inclusive…
The final post on my list is a purely self-indulgent one. This post was originally written on LinkedIn, where it was hugely popular. Here on my parent blog it did not garner as much interest, which was perfectly natural, given that it wasn’t for parents really. I wrote this as a reflection after a particularly interesting and inspiring conference, where I had the opportunity to meet, and present alongside, some of the biggest names in the language acquisition world (Jim Cummins, Stephen Krashen, Fred Genesee, Pauline Gibbons, just to name a few…). I write for professional publications once in a while, and one thing that I like to write about is the need for professionals to be professional, and to continue to be students as well. This conference gave me the chance to fully immerse myself in learning, which always has a hugely positive impact on my practice with parents and with schools. Even after so many years working in applied linguistics, I am always learning more about field, and using that knowledge to improve my own work.
I hope you enjoyed these posts as much as I did, and if you have another post that you found particularly interesting of helpful, do let me know! Thanks to all my readers for sharing my journey, and looking forward to many good posts in 2018!