Research shows that most teachers in English speaking schools do not receive training to work with the fastest-growing student population: bilingual and multilingual learners (BMLs). As a result, there are still longstanding myths that form the basis of many teaching practices and policies. These are frequently damaging to BMLs and their families and can impact their academic achievement, the maintenance of their home languages and the links to their cultural identities. This Campaign aims to empower teachers with the knowledge they need to provide an equitable and inclusive education to BMLs. Over the next 2 years, we’ll train over 3,000 teachers to gain high-level information and strategies to support BMLs’ home languages, cultures and educational success. Participating schools will invest in training one teacher to become a ‘Home Language Ambassador.’ Home Language Ambassadors then go on to train their colleagues about the most important research and practises that are critical to BMLs and their linguistic and cultural rights. Home Language Ambassadors remain important resources for their students, colleagues and parent communities long after they complete their training.
WHEN SCHOOLS GET INVOLVED IN THIS CAMPAIGN, EVERYONE WINS:
- TEACHERS gain high-level, expert knowledge and strategies, better equipping them to work with their BMLs while advising parents accurately
- SCHOOLS elevate their policies and practices, providing inclusive and equitable education for BMLs
- STUDENTS are more likely to maintain their home languages and cultural identities while acquiring English; they benefit from more responsive learning programs and they become ‘additive’ bi/multilinguals (instead of ‘subtractive’); as a result, they build valuable ‘cultural capital’
- FAMILIES are able to maintain their languages and cultures, strengthening connections with their extended family members and their cultural groups
Home Language Ambassadors can register for our 8-week, online Educator’s Course, ‘Bilingual and Multilingual Learners from the Inside-Out’ during any of these 3 sessions for 2018/2019:
- October 2, 2018 (8 weeks)
- January 22, 2019 (8 weeks)
- April 16 2019 (8 weeks)
Home Language Ambassadors have undergone high-level training about bilingual and multilingual learners and this includes information about their languages, cultures and identities. The most important role these individuals have is to share their knowledge and learning in a powerful workshop for their colleagues. In this way, they are empowering other teachers with critical information so that everyone in the school will have access to the same knowledge-base. While they have no other responsibilities, they can serve as indispensable resources for their colleagues and parent community if and when questions or issues arise. For example, if a colleague is wondering whether a child has a learning issue because they’re writing from right-to-left, the HLA can direct the teacher to find out more about the writing direction in their home language first, to better understand if the student is simply applying what they know from home language literacy. Similarly, if a parent doesn’t understand why they should continue speaking their home language to their child who attends and English-speaking school, the HLA can answer their question and even direct them to additional resources.
“WE BELIEVE THAT THE LANGUAGES AND CULTURES OF OUR STUDENTS ARE IMPORTANT AND REPRESENT THEIR UNIQUE IDENTITIES. WE COMMIT TO SUPPORT-ING STUDENTS IN VALUING AND MAINTAINING THESE ASSETS ALONG THEIR MULTILINGUAL JOURNEY.”