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Picture of Astrid Dinneen
by Astrid Dinneen - Tuesday, 22 October 2019, 12:22 PM
Anyone in the world

By Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Jamie Earnshaw


A huge congratulations to all students who achieved a GCSE in a Heritage Language this summer! EMTAS supported 48 students with GCSEs in Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish.

Here are all the fantastic results achieved by students we supported:

GCSEs graded 9-4

Language

9

8

7

6

5

4

Arabic

2

    1

German

1

Greek

1

1

Italian

4

3

Mandarin

3

1

Polish

7

3

2

1

1

1

Russian

2

1

2


Total

18

9

4

2

2

1



GCSEs graded A*-C

Language

A*

A

B

C

Portuguese

2

4

2

1

Turkish

1

1

1

Totals

3

5

2

2






As you can see, students did extremely well this summer. Many students achieved the top grades and there were individual stories of success across the board too, including one student who did really well who was previously referred to EMTAS when in primary school and was later diagnosed with SEND with difficulties in reading and writing. Even with an uneven profile of skills across Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, with support and hard work, students can still succeed and achieve a grade at GCSE. Also do note that we offer an initial one session package of assessment to help determine if a student is ready for the GCSE.

Many of the students we supported this year were in Year 11 - we wish those students good luck with their next steps! No doubt the Heritage Language GCSE will be a bonus for those students to show to future colleges or employers. Do bear in mind though it is not necessary to wait until a student is in Year 11 to enter them for a Heritage Language GCSE but sometimes the themes of the exams are better-suited to older students (so perhaps most suitable for students in Year 9 onwards).

Visit the GCSE page on our website for more information about the GCSE packages of support we offer to help prepare students for Heritage Language GCSEs. When you have decided which package you want, ask your Exams Officer to complete the GCSE Support Request and GCSE Agreement forms and return them both to Rekha Gupta using the address details provided on the GCSE Support Request form (by the deadline of the 1st March 2020).

We look forward to working on Heritage Language GCSEs with you and your students this academic year!

[ Modified: Tuesday, 10 December 2019, 12:47 PM ]

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    Anyone in the world

    Sarah Coles shares the fourth instalment of a journal-style account of her reading for the literature review and methodology chapters of her PhD thesis. 


    12th October 2018

    Continuing with my reading, this time I write again about interviewing, as it seems there is no end to the number of articles devoted to this particular subject.  I read one about interviewing dementia care-givers, a cheery little number.  Whilst you might not immediately think there’d be many parallels, I found there was much to gain from it, mainly to do with thinking about respondent vulnerabilities, ethical considerations and how to get the most out of an interview situation when you are really expecting people to talk about some highly personal stuff to a someone they barely know.  A lot of this boils down to knowing your interview schedule really well (that’s the list you prepare in advance of the key things you want to cover in the interview).  It was found to be off-putting if the researcher had to refer to a list as this seemed to depersonalise the interview experience for respondents, causing them to stop giving full, descriptive accounts of their experiences – so clearly it had an impact that was entirely at odds with the researcher’s aims and as such is a useful tip I shall be taking on board.  Also, and in a similar vein to guidance we are periodically given relating to dealing with safeguarding concerns and disclosures, it is advised that one avoids asking leading questions and instead asks people to describe their situations.  O’Connell Davidson and Layder (1994) suggest that in qualitative approaches to interviewing, the researcher should be prepared to respond flexibly to whatever the respondent may say and should maintain a strong focus on listening and encouraging talk rather than on ensuring all the questions they have prepared are covered.  Their book, ‘Methods, Sex and Madness’, is an entertaining caper through issues of gender identity, sexuality and witchcraft, all linked to research methods.  I find it a refreshing change from the way research methods are discussed in more traditional academic writing, and it certainly raises some important points to ponder in relation to my own research.  These points are reiterated by a guy called Seidman writing in 2013, who advises that in-depth, qualitative interviewing should have as its goal to encourage respondents to reconstruct and express their experiences and to describe their making of meaning, not to test hypotheses, gather answers to a set of pre-determined questions or corroborate opinions.  Seidman goes on to expend some wordage decrying the use of the word ‘probe’ in favour of ‘explore’, which is the point at which I had to go and make a cup of tea.  The last advice I need to take from this week’s reading is to listen more and talk less.  This I will endeavour to practise at work, and I have asked colleagues at EMTAS to let me know how I get on.  I am fairly certain I will find it particularly challenging, and I can already hear those of you who know me well chuckling quietly as they are very well aware that I can talk for England and many other countries besides, given the opportunity.

     
     
    2nd November 2018
     
    Undaunted by the lack of feedback on my academic ramblings, I shall persist as I am sure at least two of you will be properly interested in this week’s topic, which is the concept of ‘semi-lingualism’. 
     
    This pejorative term has been used to describe an individual whose first language has not developed fully in that they are not considered to be ‘proficient’ users of that language.  When introduced to another language, such an individual would not be able to reach ‘proficiency’ in that language either, lacking the linguistic framework yielded by proficiency in the first language on which to hang the new language.  Or so the theory goes.  This being the case, rather than becoming a ‘balanced bilingual’ (more on that nebulous notion in a future edition) with comparable ‘proficiency’ (ditto) in both languages, such an individual would never attain proficiency in either.  Scary stuff indeed.
     
    Several inherent difficulties push their way to the fore here.  The first is that there is no universally accepted definition of ‘proficiency’ in either a first language or a subsequent one.  In the US, there have been attempts to measure first language proficiency and MacSwan (2005) discusses the use of various ‘native language’ assessment tools in the US to determine the proficiency of speakers of Spanish as a first language in particular.  For MacSwan, there are issues with construct validity with these tests.  How, he questions, can such a test assess a child brought up in a monolingual, Spanish-speaking household as a “non- or limited speaker of Spanish” given that the child has no attendant learning difficulties and given what we know about language development 0-5 years?  A review of the types of questions asked in these tests and the test rubric itself demonstrates a strong bias towards answers given in full sentences.  For instance:
     

    Item

    Required student response

    Prompt

    1. ¿Qué está hacienda el niño?

    [What is the boy doing?]

    El (niño) está leyendo/estudiando.

    [The boy is reading/studying.]

    Picture of boy looking at book

     

    In the above example, most people would give the response “Leyendo” or “Estudionado” (“reading/studying”) rather than responding using a full sentence – and they would be rewarded with a score of zero for this.  MacSwan suggests that to give an answer to that particular question using one word reveals “detailed covert knowledge of linguistic structure”, which sounds terribly learned.  To what MacSwan says I will therefore add my own two penn’orth and call it an example of “linguistic economy” – a new concept I have just invented to describe beautifully succinct language use in which no syllable is superfluous yet the full meaning is evident.  Add to these observations the fact that we only learn about the ‘need’ to answer in full sentence in school, where these US tests are used prior to a child being admitted to full-time education, and a picture begins to emerge of Spanish-speaking children in various states in the US being found linguistically wanting and in consequence penalised and denigrated for having poorly developed first language skills before they have even got off the starting blocks.  Furthermore, it is widely held that children exhibit from an early age complex knowledge of such language-related things as word order, word structure, pronunciation and appropriate use of language in particular situations, whatever their first language may be.  Most children achieve this by the age of five, in fact, bar perhaps just the latter stipulation which brings to mind those priceless examples drawn from one’s observations of one’s own child’s completely inappropriate use of language in various public fora.  Do please send in your own examples of these as mine, which took place at Marwell Zoo just outside the zebra enclosure, is unrepeatable in this context.  Back to the matter in hand and for MacSwan, then, it is not the child’s first language proficiency that is being measured with the test question above; it is the child’s ability to suspend his pragmatic linguistic knowledge in favour of compliance with an arbitrary requirement to couch an answer in a complete sentence - in itself an unrealistic requirement, given the child has yet to start school.  Hence definitions of ‘language proficiency’ and the ways in which this might be measured are open to debate and, in consequence, so too is the concept of ‘semi-lingualism’ for which I for one am thankful.


    Keep tabs on Sarah's journey using the tags below.


    [ Modified: Monday, 30 September 2019, 12:10 PM ]

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      Picture of Astrid Dinneen
      by Astrid Dinneen - Monday, 16 September 2019, 4:26 PM
      Anyone in the world

      In their last blog article published in the summer term, the Hampshire EMTAS team concluded the academic year with a celebration of their schools’ successful completion of the EAL Excellence Award. Now feeling refreshed after the summer break, the team look forward to the year ahead.  



      EAL Excellence Award 

      Our work supporting schools to develop and embed best practice for their EAL learners through the EAL Excellence Award continues. Surgeries will be held to help colleagues get ready for Bronze level and many of this year’s network meetings will focus on aspects of the award which practitioners need to develop for the next level up. For example, many schools will want to work on planning for the use of first language as a tool for learning this year (more on this in a future blog). See the EMTAS website for more information about the Award and how you can introduce it in your school or setting. 
       
      GRT Excellence Award 

      Following the success of the EAL Excellence Award, we have developed a similar award to support schools who have Gypsy, Roma and/or Traveller pupils on roll. At present, we have eight schools piloting the GRT Excellence Award and working towards getting their accreditation. To find out more, please contact: claire.barker@hants.gov.uk 
       
      NALDIC Berkshire & Hampshire Regional Interest Group (RIG) 

      NALDIC is the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum and has an EAL remit. Part of the work of NALDIC is to run Regional Interest Groups (RIGs) across the country. Many of you may have heard that Dr Naomi Flynn is giving up her role as convenor of the Berkshire and Hampshire RIG. Whilst we are sad as this means we will see less of Naomi, we are also excited that the responsibility will now be shared between Portsmouth EMAS, Dr Anna Tsakalaki at the University of Reading and ourselves at Hampshire EMTAS! We wish Naomi all the best in her new role of Events Chair for NALDIC and look forward to working with our new co-convenors. 
       
      Network meetings 

      EMTAS network meetings are a great opportunity to meet colleagues with an interest in EAL practice and provision, to share ideas and to access input and take part in discussions on a range of EAL-related issues. These termly meetings are free to Hampshire maintained schools; staff from academies or the independent sector are also welcome to attend for a small charge. To find dates and information about how to register for a network meeting near you, see the Training section of the EMTAS website. 
       
      EAL E-learning 

      Our EAL E-learning has been given a complete overhaul this year to bring it up to date. The modules will now play even better in the Chrome browser and are optimised for seamless delivery over mobile devices. Check out our latest module on the ‘Role of the EAL coordinator’ and look out for new modules being developed this year. 
       
      SEAL (Supporting English as an Additional Language) 

      Due to popular demand, this course is running again starting in October 2019. It is a training programme for support staff and EAL co-ordinators to help them build up their knowledge of EAL good practice and pedagogy and has a strong focus on practical strategies to support pupils with EAL within their school environment. The course covers best practice in the classroom, SEND or EAL?, assessment, working with parents of children with EAL and the latest digital technology and resources to support learning in the classroom. If you are interested in signing up for this course, please check details on our website. 
       
      NALDIC Conference 

      This year the NALDIC conference takes place at King’s College London on 16th November (easy walking access from Waterloo station). The conference title this year is ‘Inclusive practices in multilingual classrooms: assessing and supporting EAL and SEND learners in the mainstream’. The NALDIC conference always has a good variety of workshops to suit all tastes, stands from publishers/resource providers and is a great place to network with colleagues from all over the country. 
       
      As you can see there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with EAL this year. We look forward to seeing you at an event near you.  


      [ Modified: Friday, 4 October 2019, 1:06 PM ]

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        Picture of Astrid Dinneen
        by Astrid Dinneen - Thursday, 11 July 2019, 3:38 PM
        Anyone in the world

        Last September we kicked off our second year of blogging with an article introducing our new EAL Excellence Award, a self-evaluation tool for schools created with a view to support practitioners in developing EAL practice and provision. As they are about to break for their Summer holiday the Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisors reflect on their work with schools using the EAL Excellence Award in their area. 

         
         
        Getting ready 
        The award was met with much enthusiasm after its launch in our blog and during network meetings. Practitioners found it helpful as a way of mapping out the areas where provision was already strong whilst identifying areas for development. For example, many schools identified the need to appoint and train an EAL Governor. They reflected on policies and the importance of writing a stand-alone EAL policy. The self-evaluation tool also highlighted staff training needs which we supported through bespoke sessions as well as our e-learning. Feedback from schools indicated that they found the self-evaluation criteria relevant and purposeful.   
         
        Some schools have collated evidence into folders to make the validation visit as smooth as possible. They have used each statement from the EXA as a divider and then placed any appropriate evidence, such as lesson plans, copies of school policies or photos of work, into each section. This made the validation process relatively straightforward since all the evidence could be found in one place. For one school, the portfolio of evidence was a piece of work which particularly impressed the Ofsted inspectors.
         
         
        The validation process 
        Validation visits were, in most cases, carried out by a Specialist Teacher Advisor not previously connected with the school in order to get a fresh take on practice and provision.  It has also been great being able to meet Young Interpreters in some schools and in one school there was even the chance to meet with the school governor responsible for EAL. This was supplemented by tours to see displays and collections of resources in the library or in classrooms.  One tip for schools thinking about gaining their own award might be to take pictures of anything ephemeral like a classroom display and keep them in readiness.   
         
         
        What’s next? 
        Since the launch of these materials in September there has been interest from colleagues beyond the bounds of Hampshire. Schools have already purchased licenses to use the tool within their establishment and EAL specialists have been trained as validators to work with schools in their own locality. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact: Chris.Pim@hants.gov.uk.
         
        More materials will be produced to support schools with gaining their EAL Excellence Award in 2019-20. There will also be training opportunities to support aspects of the framework which some schools have found trickier e.g. using first language as a tool for learning. We will also work with our current bronze schools who might be thinking about developing their practice and provision towards silver.
         
        Building on the success of the EAL Excellence Award, the EMTAS Traveller Team have introduced a Traveller Excellence Award that is currently being piloted in eight schools all around Hampshire. We hope to present our first award early in the Autumn term. This award helps schools audit their provision for their Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and helps to ensure that all staff are well informed about the different GRT cultures in their setting. If you are interested in finding out more, please contact: Claire.Barker@hants.gov.uk. 
         
         
        Finally... 
        We congratulate the following schools for their hard work in achieving their award:  

        Bronze  

        Cherbourg Primary School, Eastleigh

        Cove School, Farnborough

        Hiltingbury Infants, Eastleigh

        Marlborough Infant School, Aldershot

        Merton Infant School, Basingstoke

        New Milton Infant School, New Milton

        South Farnborough Infant School, Farnborough

        St John the Baptist Primary School, Andover 

        The Wavell School, Farnborough

        Weeke Primary, Winchester 

         

        Silver 

        Cherrywood Community Primary School, Farnborough

        Harestock Primary, Winchester 

        Ranvilles Infant School, Fareham

        St John the Baptist Primary School, Fareham 

        Wellington Community Primary School, Aldershot

         
        Visit our website to find out more about the EAL Excellence Award and contact the Specialist Teacher Advisor for your area to book a visit:  

        Basingstoke & Deane: Astrid Dinneen, astrid.dinneen@hants.gov.uk 

        Eastleigh and Test Valley: Jamie Earnshaw, jamie.earnshaw@hants.gov.uk

        Fareham and Gosport: Chris Pim, chris.pim@hants.gov.uk

        Hart, Rushmoor and East Hants: Claire Barker, Claire.Barker@hants.gov.uk

        Havant and Waterlooville: Chris Pim, chris.pim@hants.gov.uk

        Isle of Wight: Lynne Chinnery Lynne.Chinnery@hants.gov.uk  

        New Forest – Lisa Kalim, lisa.kalim@hants.gov.uk

        Winchester: Sarah Coles, sarah.c.coles@hants.gov.uk 

         

        [ Modified: Friday, 4 October 2019, 1:05 PM ]

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          Picture of Astrid Dinneen
          by Astrid Dinneen - Monday, 1 July 2019, 10:32 AM
          Anyone in the world

          EMTAS’s ‘Welcome to Hampshire’ information guide for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) has been updated. By Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Lisa Kalim.


          Do you have unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) in your school?  If so I recommend that you have a look here at EMTAS’s newly updated information guide for UASC and encourage your UASC to use this useful resource, perhaps assisting them by printing a copy out for them.  This booklet was written specifically for the young people in our schools who are UASC and aims to help them settle into their new lives in Hampshire as smoothly as possible.  It was first created over ten years ago as a result of feedback received from UASC who had been in our school system for several years and who shared what they wished they had known about when they first arrived.  It has been updated regularly ever since.  It seeks to provide information on various topics that will be relevant to unaccompanied asylum seekers including:

          - what happens at each stage of the asylum process

          - what their rights and responsibilities are

          - housing

          - education and schools/colleges/universities

          - health care

          - working in the UK

          - sport and recreation 

          - how they can attempt to contact family and friends in their home country including those they have become separated from

          - details of organisations that can provide support to them.


          It has been written as simply as possible to allow those UASC who are already able to read in English sufficiently to access it independently, either in a printed version or via the online version on our website.  For those who can understand English well but are not yet able to read it to the level required there is also an audio version here.

          For those who are unable to access either the written or audio versions in English there are translations available in the three most commonly spoken languages by our UASC here in Hampshire – Arabic, Pashto and Farsi. These can be found here. Please check that your young person is able to read in the relevant language before providing them with this resource as some UASC may not have had the opportunity to learn to read or write in their country of origin due to difficulties with accessing education.  EMTAS hopes to be able to provide audio versions of these translated booklets in the future, starting with Arabic, so keep an eye out on our website.


          It is helpful if UASC can be given access to Welcome to Hampshire as soon as possible after their arrival in Hampshire but even if they have already been living here for several months or years it can still be useful to them as they may have forgotten some of what they were told early on or there may just have been too much information for them to take in all at once at a stressful time. Welcome to Hampshire can be referred to by the young person from time to time as needed, for example as they progress through the asylum system and would like a reminder about what will happen next. 


          Reading Welcome to Hampshire can also be useful for staff as it will give them an idea of the types of areas that are likely to be important to their UASC and explains the asylum process simply.  It also contains a section on useful contacts which staff may also find helpful if working with UASC. 


          At the end of the booklet there is a form on which the young people are invited to give feedback to EMTAS about Welcome to Hampshire.  This feedback is then used to update future versions to ensure that it stays relevant and includes information on everything that the young people feel they need.  I would appreciate it if you could encourage any UASC in your school who use the booklet in whatever format to complete it, with assistance from a member of your school staff if needed.  The young person can write in any language they like, or their views could be scribed for them.  Responses can either be posted to EMTAS’s office in Basingstoke (address is included in Welcome to Hampshire) or sent via email to lisa.kalim@hants.gov.uk.


          I’ll end with a quote from a 16 year old UASC from Iran who helpfully provided us with the following feedback:


          ‘When I first came here, I didn’t know where I should live or what I would do.  This little book helped me to find out what I needed to know.’


          [ Modified: Monday, 1 July 2019, 11:19 AM ]

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            Picture of Astrid Dinneen
            by Astrid Dinneen - Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 11:10 AM
            Anyone in the world

            By Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Jamie Earnshaw


            The early morning birdsong, lighter evenings and even maybe some sunshine peeping out from behind the clouds…this can only mean one thing: exam season is upon us.

            This academic year, EMTAS Bilingual Assistants have supported over 50 EAL students in schools across Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight, to help them to prepare for their Heritage Language GCSEs. We have supported students who speak Arabic, Cantonese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Turkish, to name just a few. I’m sure that both staff and students will sigh a breath of relief to get to the end of the exam season this year!

            Whilst we all know how stressful the exam season can be, upon receiving their results, many EAL students are given such a boost of confidence. It may well be an EAL student’s first experience of exams in this country and what better way than to acclimatise to the anomalous experience of sitting in an exam room than doing so in a subject they know well.

            Nevertheless, just because a EAL student has grown up in an environment in which their first language has always been spoken, or they have had formal education in their home country, it is so important that we do not take for granted that students necessarily have the skillset to be able to take a GCSE exam in a Heritage Language without support. Do students have the skills across all aspects of the exam, speaking, listening, reading and writing, in order to be able to access the exam with confidence?

            Having been brought up in the UK, where I spoke exclusively English, it was not just enough for me to turn up to the exam hall and proclaim my readiness for the English Language exam. In fact, I had 4 lessons each week, during my GCSE schooling years, in which I developed, improved and focused my language skills across speaking, listening, reading and writing. There was also the need to learn how to tackle the exams. How am I expected to answer the questions? Which skills do I need to display? What am I being assessed for?

            It is essential for EAL students to have the same opportunity to have those niggling questions answered and to receive appropriate support when completing a Heritage Language GCSE. Attempting and receiving feedback on past papers and rehearsal opportunities for the speaking test are vital. It is also worth remembering that the papers are designed for non-native speakers, so the tasks are set in English. Therefore, for a newly arrived student with very little English, time might be needed to develop skills in English to a level in which they are able to access the questions or, at the very least, get used to the target question vocabulary used in the papers.

            Once these initial hurdles have been crossed, the benefits for students really are immeasurable. Often, pupils achieve very good grades in their Heritage Language GCSEs and this can be a bonus when they are applying for college places or apprenticeships. It also gives students that experience of completing a GCSE examination, which, if they do earlier than Year 11, will help to ease any worries about what the experience of sitting an exam is actually like when it comes to perhaps those more daunting subjects like English, Maths and Science.

            Visit the GCSE page on our website for more information about the EMTAS GCSE packages of support available to help prepare pupils for Heritage Language GCSEs. When you have decided which package you want, ask your Exams Officer to complete the GCSE Support Request and GCSE Agreement forms and return them both to Rekha Gupta using the address details provided on the GCSE Support Request form (by 1st March 2020).

            Good luck to all those students (and staff) anticipating GCSE results this summer!

            [ Modified: Thursday, 24 October 2019, 9:44 AM ]

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              Anyone in the world

              In a previous blog, Hampshire EMTAS colleagues Smita Neupane and Sudhir Lama discussed the use of persona dolls in a project aiming to support transition in Early Years and Key Stage 1 with a particular focus on Service children. In this blog, Cherrywood Community Primary School’s EAL Co-ordinator Dawn Tagima shares one year group’s experience of working with Himal.


              Year 1 children at Cherrywood Community Primary School in Farnborough were delighted to welcome a brand new member to their class, Himal who was from Nepal. Cherrywood Community Primary School has a high number of children with EAL however not many are from a Service background. The school does have experience of working with the local Nepali community and the Year 1 classroom teacher leading this project is herself Nepali. So when the school looked for creative ways to support transition, the persona doll project (and specifically Himal) fitted the bill.

              Himal came with his own passport and a 'talking book' which told the children all about his country. The children were told about the fact that Himal was new to this country and how he must be feeling. This encouraged conversations from our children about their own experiences and their own family situations.

              Himal was given his own special place to sit in the classroom and the children involved him in every aspect of the school day. They particularly loved sitting and reading to him!

              The children made a book about their plans for Himal both in school and at home. Himal was lucky to go home with many of the children to take part in family celebrations and trips out. The children shared this with the class, brought in photos and wrote about it in Himal’s scrapbook.

              Himal helped to introduce a brand new topic about feelings and this encouraged the children to produce some amazing work.


              Himal has now gone off to another school much to the disappointment of our children but they are always reminded of him with a lovely display in our main hallway and we hope he can come and visit us again when he returns from his 'travels'.

              The children gained so much from Himal’s visit. We talked about religious traditions, diversity, beliefs, equality, inclusion, self-esteem, ideas, opinions, sensitivity and pride.

              I encourage Early Years and KS1 settings to consider using persona dolls with the children. Simply contact Hampshire EMTAS to discuss the loan of dolls and resources.


              [ Modified: Wednesday, 5 June 2019, 10:15 AM ]

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              • Picture of Sarah ColesSarah Coles - Fri, 7 Jun 2019, 4:02 PM
                What a fantastic example of how Persona Dolls can be used to explore diversity with young children. Thank you Dawn for your contribution to our blog.
               
              Anyone in the world

              Sarah Coles shares the third instalment of a journal-style account of her reading for the literature review and methodology chapters of her PhD thesis.  


              Week 5, Autumn 2018

              Last time I focused on sequential and simultaneous bilingualism with a light touch on the Critical Period Hypothesis, specifically referencing the age at which one starts learning an additional language, a cause for personal lament.  I mentioned how there is a general difference between early starters and late starters, with the acquisition of phonology being the key area in which a difference can be discerned.  Apart from that, the notion of there even existing a Critical Period is open to debate, so the jury’s still out.  Undaunted I will keep up my efforts, practising asking for things in Turkish when in France.

              There are, of course, various factors that are important in second language learning and in this instalment I will talk about two more: aptitude and attitude/motivation.  First to aptitude, and the literature reveals that…wait for it…some people are better at learning a second language than others.  Ground-breaking stuff you’d never have thought of for yourself, eh?  Anyway, in the 50s and 60s, aptitude was a popular area of study and there were many tests developed, each designed to assess language aptitude.  These were largely geared towards formal second language learning in the 1960s classrooms of the UK, where students conjugated verbs, did precis and dictation and learned lists of vocabulary (in fact exactly how I was taught French in the 1980s) but rarely – if ever – used the new language to communicate with others.  How weird is that?  Anyway, when teaching practice evolved to include experience of actual communication (must’ve been after I left secondary school), aptitude testing fell out of favour.  There ensued a tumble-weed period of about 30 years until the debate bump-started again in the 1990s when working memory was put forward as a key component of aptitude, conventional intelligence testing having become a subject of much controversy.  The net result has been to propose language learning aptitude needs to be redefined to include creative and practical language acquisition abilities as well as memory and analytical skills.  Mystic Sarah predicts the conclusion will still be that some people are just better at it than others but that a lot more hot air will have been generated along the way.

              Now, if you’re all still keeping up, to attitude and motivation.  As you might presume if you give it 5 minutes’ thought, these are difficult things to measure.  Gardner and Lambert (1972) helpfully distinguished integrative motivation and instrumental motivation.  These go as follows.  Integrative motivation is based on an interest in the second language and its culture and refers to the intention to become part of that culture.  I wonder if by this they were really talking about assimilation, given they were writing in the 1970s, but that aside they developed tests to measure motivation and attitude.  These included factors such as language anxiety, parental encouragement and all the factors underlying Gardner’s definition of motivation.  A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, then.  For Gardner, the learner’s attitude is incorporated into their motivation in the sense that a positive attitude increases motivation.  This is not always the case, some astute observers note, citing by way of an illustrative example Machiavellian motivation in which a learner may strongly dislike the second language community and only aim to learn the language in order to manipulate and prevail over people in that community.  They do like to quibble, these academics.

              Instrumental motivation is all about the practical need to communicate in the second language and is sometimes referred to as a ‘carrot and stick’ type of motivation.  The learner wants to learn the second language to gain something from it.  I can see the carrot here, but where the stick comes in is less clear, unless it means putting in the effort required to make progress.  Back on planet earth, it is often difficult to separate the two types.  For instance, you might be in a classroom learning a second language and you might have an integrative motivation towards your progress in acquiring the second language.  You might, for instance, yearn to have a Spanish boyfriend and fancy going off to live in Madrid or Barcelona to find him.  But you might at the same time have an instrumental motivation to get high grades in order to ensure you can get onto the A level Spanish course next year, just in case he turns out to be nothing more than a pipe dream and you need to rethink your strategic timescales.  People more recently engaged with this aspect of the discussion suggest this dichotomy (integrative/instrumental) is a bit on the limited side.  They put forward ideas such as social motivation, neurobiological explanations of motivation, motivation from a process-oriented perspective and task motivation.  So nowadays motivation is seen as more of a dynamic entity, in a state of constant flux due to a wide range of interrelated factors.  That said, motivation is a good predictor of success in second language learning.  Probably.



              [ Modified: Thursday, 19 December 2019, 1:07 PM ]

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                Picture of Astrid Dinneen
                by Astrid Dinneen - Tuesday, 30 April 2019, 11:57 AM
                Anyone in the world

                By Hampshire EMTAS Specialist Teacher Advisor Claire Barker


                As the summer fast approaches many of us will see our Traveller children and their families disappear for the last weeks of term or dot in and out as they attend the most notable horse fairs around the country.  The horse fairs are a valuable and treasured part of the Traveller culture and should be shared and enjoyed in our schools that have Travellers as part of their school community.

                The season always opens and closes with Stow Fair which is held in May and October.  It takes place at Maugersbury Park and thousands of Travellers come to the showground to trade and parade their horses.  This particular fair has been an annual event since 1476 when a Royal Charter was given for a fair to be held.

                Locally, in Hampshire, Wickham Fair is always held on 20th May unless that day falls on a Sunday and then the fair will be on 21st May.  This year it is an extra special event as this is its 750th anniversary.  King Henry III granted a Royal Charter to Wickham in 1269 to hold the fair and markets in the town.  It was not a Gypsy Horse Fair at this time but in later centuries it became one of the main English horse fairs for Travellers.  A condition of the Charter was that a fair had to be held every year on that day so during World War II a local Traveller placed a carousel in the Square to keep the tradition of the fair going so it could continue after the war.

                Appleby Fair is the big event of the year for Travellers and it happens in the first week in June and goes on from Thursday to Wednesday with the main events happening on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Like Wickham and Stow fairs it was also granted a Royal Charter.  King James II granted a charter to Appleby in 1685.  Many Romany historians claim this fair is older than five hundred years with some claiming Travellers from the Roman times travelled to Appleby to trade and parade.
                The fairs and the events surrounding them form a vital heartbeat in the Traveller communities.  It is a time when Travellers from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England come together to share their traditions and values.  They trade together buying and selling horses and goods.  They eat together and socialise and there is lots of catching up with families from far and wide.  The fairs are often times for family weddings, baptisms and birthday celebrations as the whole family is together.  Many young Travellers meet their future partners at the fairs.

                Romany, Irish Travellers, Scottish Travellers, Welsh Travellers and Showmen come together to ply their goods and catch up on the year’s events. However, the Showmen tend to be at the fairs as service providers running carnivals and catering wagons for all of the Travellers.

                Many of the families will take pictures and share them on social media and this provides schools the opportunity to discuss and find out about the fairs and the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

                If you have a child from a Traveller community in your school and they are absent for a fair, take the time on their return to ask them to share the magic and experiences they have had.  Explore their world together and create a greater understanding of one of Britain’s oldest communities and what they hold dear.


                Visit the GRT pages on our website


                [ Modified: Thursday, 9 May 2019, 9:47 AM ]

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                  Anyone in the world

                  By Debra Page, Masters candidate at the University of Reading


                  Hi readers. If you’ve not read about me in the Young Interpreters Newsletter, my name is Debra Page. I am conducting research on the Young Interpreter Scheme under the supervision of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism at the University of Reading and with Hampshire EMTAS as a collaborative partner. This is the first time the successful scheme will be systematically evaluated since it began 10 years ago. I have worked in research and as an English as a Additional language teacher since graduating with my psychology degree. Now, I am completing my Masters in Language Sciences before starting the PhD. My Masters research dissertation is looking at staff experiences of the Young Interpreter Scheme with a specific focus on motivation for participation in the scheme, views around teaching pupils with EAL and effects of running the scheme on children, staff and schools. 

                  After months of behind the scenes work from the team, a questionnaire has now gone live! The team and I encourage as many staff as possible to complete the questionnaire. This includes people who are running the scheme, who aren’t running the scheme, and staff who work with children with EAL. This anonymous online questionnaire should take around 15 minutes to complete and will allow myself and Hampshire EMTAS to discover what you really think about the scheme, your experiences of participation, and working with children with EAL. Finding out your views in running the scheme (or not) will help EMTAS improve and expand it, plus you will be helping to shape its future. 

                  If you haven’t met me yet, I will be at the Basingstoke Young Interpreters conference on 28th June. If you have any questions about the questionnaire, please email me – debra.page@student.reading.ac.uk

                  I hope you choose to help by completing the questionnaire. Please spread the word and share the link!

                  [ Modified: Monday, 29 April 2019, 10:07 AM ]

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