We at Raising Bilingual Children are passionate about languages and multilingualism, drawing our expertise from scientific research and day-to-day practice alike. Eowyn Crisfield, founder and lead adviser, is a fully qualified language teacher (BEd Teaching English as a second language) and Applied Linguist (MA Applied Linguistics) with specialisations in child bilingualism and education. She is also the (co) author of two books and a Senior Lecturer in TESOL (Oxford Brookes University).
As Family Language Advisers, we are deeply committed to helping you navigate the ebbs and flows of multilingual childrearing in your unique family situation.
What is a Family Language Adviser?
A Family Language Adviser is a person who guides and supports parents, caregivers and others involved in a family’s linguistic environment in creating a setting that will foster a child’s successful multilingual development. This consultation process is called Family Language Planning.
What can a Family Language Adviser help with?
Some of the questions that could be addressed and resolved include:
- Why does my child refuse to speak my home language?
- Will my child eventually stop using my home language?
- How many languages is too many? Won’t my child get confused?
- We are trying to choose a school – which language of instruction would be best for my child?
- We are moving – how do we navigate the new language(s)? Should we leave some behind?
- We are both monolingual and would like our child to be bilingual – is that possible?
- Do I have to pick one language to speak to my child and stick with it 100% of the time?
- Do I necessarily have to speak my first language to my child? What other possibilities do I have?
What happens in a Family Language Planning consultation session?
Setting priorities and strategically planning for them is fundamental for successful language learning and development. Through detailed questions and discussions, the Family Language Adviser assesses the family’s linguistic environment and the parents’ goals for their children’s linguistic development. Aims are examined and analysed in light of current input, and realistic future input, in each language.
What is a Family Language Plan?
A Family Language Plan is a guiding document that the adviser develops, together with the caregivers, to set the family’s goals and plan for their children’s multilingual development. Apart from setting goals, creating a Family Language Plan involves, but is not limited to, mapping out where the input in each language will come from, ways that literacy will be approached, school choice, etc.
As specialised Family Language Advisers, we are here to discuss your concerns and craft tailored solutions regardless of your family’s language combination.
Family Language Planning – Personalised Consultation
1. Targeted Consultation
Have you already chosen a path for your family’s multilingual journey but still have questions? Your story is unique and carries specific nuances, bringing about varied individualised queries along the way even if you have already set your goals.
We will meet you where you are and explore the questions and concerns that you will have sent us in advance. We will take 30 minutes to address and discuss these and other issues that might come up as we go along. Together we will look at your family language situation, delve into the possibilities at hand and find the best solutions to adapt to your personal language environment.
If at the end of this session you would like to delve further into these topics and have us develop a Family Language Plan for you, the fee will be rolled into the Family Language Planning Package.
2. Family Language Planning Package
Are you wondering where to start or how to best juggle your family languages? Do you need in-depth professional advice on your current approach? We will take a deep dive into your family language situation and work with you!
In this 3-part package, we offer:
- A 90-minute introductory session. In preparation for this session, you will receive a short questionnaire requesting key information about your family’s language situation as well as your wishes, ideas and vision going forward. During the session we will discuss all the details of your unique family story as comprehensively as possible.
- A personalised Family Language Plan. After the session we will develop a personalised Family Language Plan for you, including practical advice and actionable strategies that best suit your unique family situation and concrete challenges.
- A 60-minute follow-up session. After you have read and trialled your Family Language Plan, we will conduct a follow-up session to discuss any additional queries that might have come up along the way.
Reach out and let us be a part of your journey!
Theory-into-Practice Seminars and Workshops on Bi-/Multilingualism
We offer actionable strategies and theoretical information about bi-/multilingual child development, rooted in the latest scientific research and best practices, including a multitude of topics, such as:
- What is bi-/multilingualism
- Common myths and facts
- Family Language Planning and how to set your goals
- Choosing a school
- How to support your goals
The seminars and workshops are based on Eowyn’s latest book ‘Bilingual Families – a Practical Language Planning Guide’.
Some groups they could be relevant for include:
- parents and caregivers
- expectant and new parent groups
- community / minority-language groups
- healthcare professionals – nurses, doctors, midwives, etc.
- childcare organisations
- community and weekend schools
- parent-teacher associations
Do you have high numbers of international employees working for your company? If so, why not welcome them with our expertise?! We can support your employees and their families with 1:1 family language planning sessions and / or deliver workshops on key topics. Our support can help ease the stress of moving to a new country with a new language and ensure that parents feel confident in their language-related decions for their families, includuing sustaining family languages and making the right school choice for their Family Language Plan.