Category Archives: Multilingualism

Multilingual environments promote (authentic) international-mindedness. – IN CONCLUSION

Wow! What a time we’ve had exploring the title of this post!
A big thank you to my inquiry group – @andymccallum, @chelseamwoods, @mclouter, @maudeboyer and @tinamoyale – for giving me another positive, group work and collaboration experience for the books! 🙂

Hard at work! :)
Hard at work in ‘our spot’! 🙂

We really pulled it together as a team to have a look at what ISPP is doing to cater to our multilingual population, why we think we should be promoting multilingualism in our teaching and learning spaces, where and how we see room for improvement as well as coming up with (using resources shared on SPELTAC/other PD @ ISPP) ideas and activities that can help you create a multilingual OR language neutral learning environment.  We shared one of these activities by having participants in our session complete it and the rest of our workshop showed a compilation video of our efforts. I will link this here soon, but for now, here’s the slideshow – including resources and links – that might be applicable to your classroom and promote multilingualism:

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 7.27.14 PMhttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9j6anD8uUzHRmxZanlKSS1IcDQ/view

And here’s the link to our full presentation video:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5q2nmrXicfsY2x5eGJWMHdCU2c/view

Staff participants took turns drawing body parts, not knowing what the bit above theirs looked like!
Staff participants took turns drawing body parts, not knowing what the bit above theirs looked like!

OH, I also learned what lingual meant and made some good connections so I’ll always think of other ways to be multilingual other than speaking!
LINGUAL DEFINITION

I also picked up a lot of new learning! From the text type activity I did with @mthoutermangmail-com and @tinamoyale and @catherinelaing, I gained a bigger picture, hands-on experience look at how I can be introducing ‘audience’ to my writers.

SPELTAC GROUP

I attended another session that challenged my group’s inquiry and ideas by suggesting maybe the multilingual bit doesn’t have to be so visual for it to be there. They even had some student support to back-it-up which challenged me to think of how we can find a balance and meet everyone’s needs and desires…if we can! I mean, that’s the goal! 🙂

RUZF9115

IMG_5499
These guys started with a cool quiz and offered an alternative point of view on multilingualism.

I also enjoyed my other sessions, the TED talks and the conversation and interactions surrounding the success of day and complimenting Marcelle on a job well done! 🙂

IMG_5483.PNG
Rachel’s presentation got me in the zone…both of ’em!

 

 

 

 

 

I look forward to following through (or continuing to do so) with some of my group’s ideas and suggestions and I look forward to trying out some new ideas in my classroom tomorrow!

Thanks for the inspiration, everyone! AND thanks for the awesome feedback! 🙂
SPELTAC Feedback 1 SPELTAC Feedback 2

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 7.16.16 PM
#awesome #SPELTAC #thanks

 

The Language of Gratitude as an Academic Language in Kindergarten

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, but kept putting it on the back burner. Finally, I’m putting pen to paper!

As part of my inquiry group, I’ve investigated multilingualism and what it looks like in different environments around ISPP. I’ve come to believe that multilingualism comes in many different forms and academic language is one of its dimensions.

What is academic language?
Hrmmm…? Math and other Language specific subjects – physics, chemistry, genre related writing, subject specific text, etc.
There’s a lot of academic language…but…

What is academic language in Kindergarten?
Well, I believe it’s very student-constructed…but I also believe there’s a hidden academic for Kindergarten students…but also for EVERYONE! The language of gratitude.

Yes, the idea of gratitude (and simple manners, really) as a language is something I have spent a lot of time thinking about as we inquire into academic language as part of Course 4.

The language of gratitude:
Is it a language? Well, no, but it shouldn’t it be a taught part of any language/curriculum? I feel it is often forgotten or overlooked. This is why I’ve been putting so much thought into it…I’ve been SHOCKED on numerous occasions about how many students (and parents and even staff) lack manners when speaking to and with other community members. Below, you’ll see a series of photos from our own cafeteria in this video:

Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 11.36.03 AMScreen Shot 2017-03-04 at 11.36.51 AM Screen Shot 2017-03-04 at 11.37.28 AM

Perhaps the video is misleading of the general community’s lack of gratitude, but I fear it’s not. There doesn’t appear to be ANY exchange of words here…certainly not a thank you! I’m not trying to call out this particular student, either! Maybe she usually says thank you but was nervous on camera or was having a bad day – it happens. But when I’m in the café, and in monitoring my students at lunch, the lack of manners is consistent. It’s definitely a source of frustration for me.

What’s next?
I need to further analyze what academic language looks like in Kindergarten, but I will also continue to teach and enforce respect and manners in my classroom. But I want to do more to make this common practice at home for my students, across Kindergarten and hopefully beyond.

I want to design an orientation program – in conjunction with epicure, the cleaning companies and our Khmer teaching  and office staff – to implement a please and thank you program within Kindergarten. If, culturally, these manners are not expected in Cambodia by Khmer people, it’s our duty to prepare our students for future situations where they are expected. A little respect and appreciation goes a long way…and it can be done with a simple please and thank you.

Post SPELTAC inquiry group presentations, I will update with my action plan to educate and implement a manners expectation for our community. #schoolgoals #teachinggoals #whatgoesaroundcomesaround #respect

How do our ‘environments’ support multilingualism?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent some time thinking about how my classroom (learning environment) lends itself to or helps my students…no matter what their level of English understanding may be. On top of that, I’ve been having a bit of a creep on my students’ single subject lessons to see how these teaching and learning environments (“classrooms”…?) accommodate for our language learning student. Through doing all of this, I hope to gain a better understanding of:
A) what an ‘environment’ is.
B) what multilingualism looks like in different learning environments.

The single subject lessons that my students attend are very movement oriented and provide kinesthetic outlets for students to express their understandings from the lessons/units; I consider this a pretty big positive for a student who may not be able to communicate confidently verbally. Art, Music, PE and Swimming lessons are all pretty active and the students always seem enthusiastic about attending…with the exception of a child who all of a sudden hates swimming now.

In my wanderings, I wondered how these photos might elicit conversation about multilingualism in our teaching and learning environments…
I think these photos say a LOT and I still want to know more so I made a point of asking my students about them and what they mean. What might they mean to you, multi-linguistically speaking?

art music peThanks to @msdana, @leigh, @andymunn and @annenewman for letting me observe you, for welcoming my feedback and most of all, for engaging all of the Rainbow Fish in your lessons! 🙂

Celebrating Successes in Communication

Sometimes, it’s easy to let the little wins be clouded by the (‘what-you-think are’) fails so I needed to celebrate two communication successes by two of my students these past two weeks.

Just before the Pchum Ben break, we started our new unit all about ‘Communities’. The unit was provocated (or provoked I guess) with a few rounds of charades where students blindly chose community action figures out of a mystery box and then acted like that person – like charades! One student was acting out ‘businessman’ and after some incorrect guesses, another student (a beginner EAL student) put up his hand for a second time and thought hard about how to explain the role of his father – who is a businessman! The student’s actions in the video below show you how he feels about his communication success! 🙂

On Friday, I had a student who speaks two languages at home and additionally English at school,  wanting to have an item that she couldn’t name. I asked her what the item was in French but she was unable to say after a lot of thought. She was asked to draw the item and this is what she gave to Ms. Nearÿ and I.

Pretty abstract, eh? Becoming somewhat frustrated, she then looked at us and mimed the shape and purpose of the item and we were able to determine it was a serving tray; we had three new ones given to us from Ms. Helen just the day before!

How obvious does this drawing look before and after you know it’s a tray? Persistence paid off in the case of this student as she got the item she wanted. Does this lend itself to a lesson on ensuring we keep pushing for information? And what would have happened if we just disregarded this one child’s want because she couldn’t say a word? What does this say about a child’s ability to communicate verbally? About the importance of noticing the important non-verbal cues when language is absent?

Both of these situations, of course, made me wish I could speak these students’ mother tongue languages, as per my previous post, but they’ve shown examples of communication success without ‘the right words’ 🙂

“What do we mean by environment?” -@mclouter

How many times have you wished, in a moment, that you could speak the same language to (better) communicate with someone? Me? Probably about a million times…

A number of things can help or hinder our ability to effectively communicate with another person/people and my inquiry group will dive into the exploration of how multilingualism environments promote international mindedness. Before delving too deep, though, we’ll first be answering the question – “What do we mean by ‘environment’?” -M. Clouter

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll each look at different learning environments and then report back at our next meeting as well as each writing a blog post that shares our discoveries… stay tuned!

I will be taking a closer look at what single subject learning environments look like in the elementary school. I’ll be furthering my thinking whilst making observations and wondering what multilingualism looks like in these environments and comparably to my own teaching environment. In terms of what I’ve been observing elsewhere so far, I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen and appreciate the open doors! 🙂

Interested? Want to learn more about multilingualism and its impact on the learning environment? This is a good supporting document for our central idea:
Multilingual environments promote (authentic) international mindedness.

Until next time…

screen-shot-2016-10-09-at-12-40-50-pm

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201505/multilingual-environments-enrich-our-understanding-others