9 October 2019 (BBC)
When a family arrives in a new country, often the children are first to pick up the new language - and inevitably, they become the family translators. Researcher Dr Humera Iqbal describes what it's like to be a child responsible for dealing with doctors and landlords, bank staff or restaurant suppliers.
"Baba! Baba!" calls out the driving instructor. Thirteen-year-old Jiawei sits at the back of the car while her dad takes his driving lesson. Father and daughter exchange confused glances, then burst out laughing. The instructor, who has heard this Chinese word during one of Jiawei's father's previous lessons, looks puzzled.
"Doesn't 'baba' mean 'move forward' in Chinese?" he asks.
"No," says Jiawei. "It means 'father'!"
Jiawei was in the unusual position of acting as an interpreter for her dad as he learned to drive. She took notes and repeated in Chinese exactly what the instructor said in English - things like "Turn left at the roundabout," or "Slow down at the junction." She's proud that she helped her father pass his test.
"It was quite fun and I thought I was doing something to help my family," she says, looking back. "I was also learning how to drive myself without knowing it, doing something that other kids didn't get to do."
A year earlier, Jiawei's family had moved from China to the UK and while she had managed to pick up basic English at school, her father was struggling. Jiawei became a crucial link helping him find his way in a new country.
Thousands of migrant children in the UK translate for their families every day. My colleague Dr Sarah Crafter and I have come across child interpreters, some as young as seven, helping their parents communicate in shops, banks, and even police stations. It can be stressful for them, especially when adults are rude or aggressive.
12 September 2018 (SecEd)
This September, many secondary schools will have new arrivals from abroad who have English as an additional language. Continuing our series on EAL, Dr Ruth Wilson gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of this diverse group of learners
New arrivals with English as an additional language (EAL) are a very diverse group. Their language proficiency can range from “new to English” to “fluent”. The young person can arrive at any age and with widely different socio-economic and educational backgrounds. Some students may come from an advantaged context with a high standard of education; others may have had little or interrupted schooling or experienced traumatic events. A new arrival could for example be a refugee from a war-torn country or a child of a German banker working in the City of London.
Data show that, on average, pupils arriving late into the English school system do less well in external exams than their first language English peers, and that the older the pupils are when they arrive the less likely they are to achieve good results in year 11 (Hutchinson, 2018).
This article gives some practical advice for you and your schools in meeting the needs of EAL learners who are newly arrived from abroad.
27 March 2018 (British Council eTwinning)
Aimed at teachers of primary and secondary learners aged 4-16, this eTwinning workshop will develop teachers' awareness, confidence and skills in learning about refugee issues, welcoming refugee and migrant children to mainstream classrooms from a social and emotional perspective, and will give a basic introduction to language acquisition and the importance of maintaining and developing mother tongue and home culture.
Visit the website to sign up for the course between 9 - 17 April 2018.
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18 December 2017 (Bilingualism Matters)
Today, 18th December is the UN Day of Migrants. On this day in 1990 UN signed the International Migrant Convention protecting the rights of migrants and their families. It took another 13 years for the Convention to reach the threshold needed for its implementation – acceptance by 20 countries. Its main aim is to protect human rights of currently around 250 million people identified as migrants world-wide. Not many are aware of this date and not many are aware that UNESCO rights of children include a right to education in mother tongue/home language.
28 August 2017 (TES)
Supporting EAL students is personal to this assistant headteacher. Here she gives her six tips to ensure these students – and their families – get the right assistance.
7 August 2017 (TES)
Seven- and eight-year-olds from immigrant families make faster progress than their native-speaking peers, research shows.
Primary pupils who learn in a language other than the one they speak at home start out with poorer listening and reading skills, but “catch up” with native-speaking peers within one school year, researchers have found.
In a paper in the British Educational Research Journal, researchers from Ghent University in Belgium also looked at how pupils' listening and reading comprehension was affected by the proportion of their classmates who spoke a different language at home.
They found that classes with a greater proportion of non-native-speaking students achieved lower than average results at the start of the year, but by the end of the year this link had "disappeared".
26 January 2017 (University of Edinburgh)
Let your senior phase students see a meaningful context in which German is spoken and meet the students who ran the integration project working with refugees in Germany.
The principal aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness, hopefully inspire similar projects and increase learner motivation for those who often don´t see the relevance of learning a language.
The photo exhibition will be open from March until the end of May. Interested schools can arrange to either:
- come and see the exhibition at the University of Edinburgh and meet some of the students involved
- see the exhibition and have some workshops about the refugee crisis
- request photos of the exhibition, the power point presentation and the film clip for those who are too remote to come to Edinburgh
Please email Annette Gotzkes in the first instance to discuss your preferred option.
Further information about the project can also be found on the University of Edinburgh website.
17 June 2016 (TESS)
Teachers are dealing with increasing numbers of new arrivals to the UK, so here's a guide to ensure every learner with English as an additional language can succeed.
Read the full article in TESS online, 17 June 2016, page 32-33 (subscription required).
24 May 2016 (The Herald)
Two Polish police officers have joined Scotland's national force in a pioneering move to tackle criminality in the country's biggest migrant community.
The men have been seconded for six months as a pilot scheme that may be expanded in the future as EU law enforcement agencies tighten co-operation.
Senior officers at Police Scotland say the two officers have already helped on crucial inquiries involving Poles as perpetrators, victims or witnesses of crimes.
Chief Superintendent Paul Main said: "They are here to advise us and to help us on criminal and other inquiries. "They don't have the power to arrest anybody or question anybody so they are always with Scottish officers.
"But they can assist us with understanding cultural and linguistic issues and connecting with law enforcement in Poland to deal with everything from organised crime to domestic abuse."
[..] However, Poles would also like to see Scottish police raise their knowledge of migrant communities, including learning the language.
22 July 2014 (British Council)
This new book from ESOL Nexus is about the role of language in the integration of migrants. The writers of the chapters are all engaged in the education of migrants as teachers, researchers or policymakers in a wide variety of contexts and they provide us with a rich and thought-provoking array of perspectives from teachers and learners on language issues in migration and integration. Through them we hear directly from learners, migrants who have arrived in a new country and are now striving to master the host language. We learn much from them about the place of language and language learning in their new lives.
6 August 2013 (Language Rich Europe)
According to the Language Rich Europe research, the top provision of multilingual services is, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the tourist sector, with the most widely offered language being English. However, to what extent do cities look at the needs of their inhabitants before deciding which languages to offer and in which services? One of these needs is highlighted by the Language Rich Europe case study on the European Commission-funded project ‘Take Care,’ which seeks to: [make] health care more accessible and effective for migrants who do not speak the language and are not familiar with the culture nor with the health care system in the host country.