This blog post was contributed by Helena Taelman (ODISEE).
It takes a village to raise a child. This saying is particularly true for young multilingual children growing up in a diverse context: they thrive with the support of their families, their teachers and the many other responsive and knowledgeable adults around them. Multiple actors around the world help us shape this environment, a.o. by the development of free online tools.
We share with you three tools that were recently launched with this goal in mind.
1. ReadyDLL, an app for professionals to shape a rich classroom environment
This clear, well-designed app challenges preschool teachers by means of feasible weekly tasks to support the partnership with parents, the use of the home language, the stimulation of the school language, and the integration of the home culture. Several good practices are demonstrated by brief movie snapshots, and reference is made to an extensive knowledge base and some professionalization tools. Last, but not least, teachers learn some survival words and key phrases in the home language to help a new child feel comfortable in the new classroom environment.
One task is about math. Teachers are challenged to learn five key math words in the home language. They use the child’s prior knowledge of these concepts to connect that understanding with the words in English. A movie snapshot demonstrates how to engage children in math and vocabulary during mealtime.
ReadyDLL has been developed by the American HeadStart organization. The main language is English. The home languages represented are Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, and Haitian Creole.
2. The ISOTIS-app, with a virtual learning environment for professionals and parents to gain multilingual competences
The ISOTIS Virtual Learning Environment promotes the use of different languages at home and school. Of particular interest are the movies that explain essential concepts and research knowledge to parents and teachers. Apart from this, the environment supports professional development activities, by using real-life critical incidents to foster reflection in team.
Finally, well-framed and accessible research briefs communicate about multilingualism and language learning, intercultural sensitivity, family & school partnerships, participation and democratic life, social justice and human rights. Academic level reports detail new research insights gathered by the research team.
This movie explains the benefits of stimulating children’s language awareness and gives four different examples.
The ISOTIS Virtual Learning Environment has been developed by 10 research institutions. It is available in up to 32 different languages: English, Italian, German, Dutch, Greek, French, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, Ukrainian, Albanian, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Bengali, Bulgarian, Gujarati, Lithuanian, |Persian, Polish, Punjabi, Urdu, Tagalog, Romanian, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Tamil, Georgian, Sinhalese, Serbian, Slovenian, Vietnamese, Wolof, and Romani Čhib.
3. Langaroo, a game for families to stimulate a rich home language environment
Langaroo is an online language platform to play with language together. The platform enables all parents to stimulate the language development of their children, regardless of their mother tongue and regardless of their own language proficiency. Both comprehension and production are triggered by means of questions. This game goes way beyond the usual online vocabulary exercises available on the internet and draws from the research-based design principles of interactive digital books.
Parent and child view a Sesame Street movie in which Elmo invents his own piano song. The movie is briefly interrupted with a comprehension question. Afterwards, parent and child are asked to discuss the song, and sing their own favorite songs.
Langaroo has been developed by two Dutch organizations, the VoorleesExpress and meertalig.nl. It is available in English, Turkish, Arabic, Polish and Dutch.