On the occasion of the European Day of Languages, Speak to the Future wishes well to all the schools, colleagues and individuals who are celebrating language learning and linguistic diversity across the UK and Europe.
Here is one inspirational project to inspire you: Critical Connections – a multilingual digital storytelling project 2012-14.
Goldsmiths researchers collaborated with teachers working in mainstream and community based complementary schools in and around London as well as overseas (Algeria, Palestine and Taiwan). The project involved primary and secondary level students studying a range of languages including Arabic, Chinese, Croatian, English, English as an additional/foreign language, French, German and Greek.
A wide range of stories were created across various genres: traditional tale; fantasy; history and culture; personal interest/hobby; personal, social and moral issues / world news; reflections on school, local area and teenage life. These were shared within classrooms and schools, but also more widely across schools through the project website: http://goldsmithsmdst.wordpress.com/ They were also presented by students and their teachers at two film festivals held at Goldsmiths.
The project provided important evidence of the valuable contribution multilingual digital storytelling can make to young people’s education, but also revealed constraints within the education system which act as barriers to fulfilling the potential of this kind of work. A summary of key findings is provided in the project flyer: http://goldsmithsmdst.wordpress.com/research/critical-connections-research-flyer/
Through the project important pedagogical insights were gained enabling the creation of clear guidelines to support colleagues working in mainstream and complementary school contexts who may wish to develop similar work. These are presented in the project’s ‘Handbook for Teachers’: http://goldsmithsmdst.wordpress.com/handbook/
Overall, the project points an effective way to engage young people in language learning by providing a genuine purpose for communication, by extending notions of literacy to embrace plurilingual repertoires and identities and by fostering student voice.
Dr Jim Anderson firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Vicky Macleroy email@example.com