Parents

Bilingual families come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all share is the desire to do the best for their children. This area of the SCILT website is aimed at both parents and practitioners. By working as partners, we are able to ensure better academic success and improved social and emotional development.

EAL and Bilingualism

Bilingualism Matters have produced a range of leaflets informed by current research which advise and guide both parents and practitioners.

 

Speaking two languages can help a child: 

  • maintain links with their family culture and heritage
  • develop stronger academic skills in reading, writing and language learning  
  • enhance cognitive skills such as attention span, problem solving, communication skills and task switching

Practitioners will want to be able to support pupils’ linguistic and cultural heritage whilst also ensuring that their English language skills are developing.

EAL

We recommend that practitioners contact their own Local Authority EAL services in the first instance. However, support, advice and guidance can be found at the following sites:

Network of teachers of EAL. The network fosters and develops the teaching of EAL in a multi ethnic environment through its website and annual conference.

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A network of professionals from all local authorities across Scotland who are involved in the management of EAL provision in schools.

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The national subject association for EAL. A wealth of resources, stats, information, research, publications and advice.

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Examples of good practice, resources and advice from Early Years through to Secondary.

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30 lessons on the principles of grammar

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Free online games to help children learn English the fun way

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Hundreds of free resources, videos and podcasts

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Bilingualism

Bilingualism Matters, an official Centre at the University of Edinburgh, provides a wealth of information and resources for teachers and parents. Bilingualism Matters is also at the forefront of the latest research on the benefits of bilingualism and language learning - here you can find out about previous research or even volunteer to participate in current studies. 

SCILT, in collaboration with Bilingualism Matters and Glasgow City Council’s EAL Service, ran a series of workshops throughout Scotland to showcase the benefits of bilingualism and practical strategies teachers can use to promote bilingualism in their classrooms. Ideas were offered on how to engage bilingual learners more and support literacy skills across both languages. The presentations from the 'Bilingualism DOES Matter!' workshops are available below:

SCILT’s Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry competition encourages bilingual pupils to be creative in their home language in the Mother Tongue category.

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Gathered Together was an award winning partnership project between BEMIS and SPTC to support parents from Ethnic and Cultural Minorities to become more involved in their children’s education and school communities. The project ended on March 2016 but the materials and resources remain available. Of particular interest will be ‘Scotland, People and Language Forum: Report’ (Gathered Together, February 2015).

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Supporting young learners who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) is an area of work and a priority for the British Council and EAL Nexus provides information and resources on bilingualism for teachers and parents.

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Bilingualism Matters at the University of Reading held an event in February 2017 in association with the university's Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism where parents in the audience shared their experience about keeping up the home language with children of different ages. An extract can be seen in the video 'Bilingual parents share strategies for home language maintenance' through the link below.

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Bilingualism Matters hosted its Annual Event at the University of Edinburgh’s Informatics Forum on 12 May 2017. The event brought together professionals and researchers from areas such as education, neuroscience, and policy as well as members of the public. Information and materials from the event can be found on the Bilingualism Matters Annual Event 2017 webpage.

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There is also an array of information about the benefits, challenges and practicalities of supporting bilingual children for parents and teachers at the following sites:

Section of the Language on the Move website dedicated to information and advice for bilingual and multilingual families.

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European Council for Modern Languages website with advice and information to support work-related second language development, particularly the linguistic integration of adult migrants.

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Online and in person language tuition delivered by highly skilled refugees from academic, professional, and industrial backgrounds.

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The site promotes awareness of language diversity in the city-region and beyond. We study the practical challenges and the immense opportunities that language diversity brings.

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Blogpost on teaching in action in a bilingual environment.

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An excerpt from a lecture given by Irene Fafalios at the Montessori Society AGM in London in 2007. Irene explains the different forms that bilingualism takes in today's multicultural society and how as teachers and parents we can support children who speak more than one language.

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News, articles and resources about raising children bilingually from National Literacy Trust. 2012.

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A look at bilingual parenting - what it means, the advantages and the practicalities. From 2015.

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Read about how other parents are finding bilingual parenting, along with lots of ideas and resources.

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Online resource with a host of articles to support parents raising bilingual children.

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Myth-bunking article with input from academia and parents. August 2016.

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Community groups

The following are links to community groups that allow families who share the same languages and cultures to meet regularly. These groups are not affiliated to or endorsed by SCILT, the Scottish Government nor any Local Authority.

The site is intended as a guide to some of the language opportunities in and around Edinburgh.

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German speaking children's club in Glasgow

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Saturday school in Glasgow for French mother tongue or bilingual children in Scotland

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Saturday school in Edinburgh for French mother tongue or bilingual children in Scotland

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A list of Polish Saturday schools across Scotland from Consulate General of Poland.

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Organisation for people who have an interest in all aspects of Chinese life and civilisation. The SCA holds a wide range of cultural events in Glasgow and Edinburgh to foster friendship and understanding between the people of Scotland and China.

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Spanish language community group in Edinburgh

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Club Soletes - Spanish language community group in Glasgow.

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If you would like us to include a link to a group that is not listed above, please contact us.

University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages