Early Language Transmission and Pre-school Provisions for ...

Early Language Transmission and Pre-school Provisions for ...

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Early Language Transmission and Pre-school Provisions for Regional – and Minority Languages. Early Language Transmission and Pre-school Provisions for ...

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EarlyLanguageTransmissionandPreschoolProvisionsforRegionalandMinorityLanguages
EarlyLanguageTransmissionandPreschoolProvisionsforRegionalandMinorityLanguagesInthe21stcenturyallEuropeancitizensliveinamultilingualenvironment.Intheirdailylivestheycomeacrossmanydifferentlanguages.Consequentlythereisagrowinginterestinmultilingualismandanincreasingneedfor(regional/minority)languagecommunitiestoexchangeexperiencesandtocooperate.AsdefinedbytheEuropeanCharterforRegionalorMinorityLanguages(ECRML),“regionalorminoritylanguages”arelanguagestraditionallyusedwithinagiventerritoryofastatebynationalsofthatstatewhoformagroupnumericallysmallerthantherestofthestate’spopulation;theyaredifferentfromtheofficiallanguage(s)ofthatstate,andtheyincludeneitherdialectsoftheofficiallanguage(s)ofthestatenorthelanguagesofmigrants.TakingthedefinitionoftheCharterintoaccount,thereareapproximately60minoritylanguagesinEurope.Therearehowevermanymore,forexamplecrossborderlanguagecommunities.Approximately55millionpeopleinEuropespeakaminoritylanguage(roughestimate).RegionalorminoritylanguagesarespokeninmostEuropeancountries.Asindicatedabovemultilingualismcanhaveitsownperspectiveforregionalandminoritylanguages,aswellasforcrossborderlanguages,constitutionalandsmallstatelanguages.Theselanguagecommunitieshave,underdifferentcircumstances,longstandingtraditionswithlanguagetransmissionallcontextswhetherformal,nonformalorinformalandatalllevels:fromearlychildhoodandschoolsthroughtohighereducation,vocationaleducationandtrainingandadultlearning.ArecentinitiativeonaEuropeanscaleistheMELTproject(MultilingualEarlyLanguageTransmission,www.meltproject.eu)withfourparticipatinglanguagecommunities:FrisianintheNetherlands,SwedishinFinland,WelshintheUKandBretoninFrance.Belowaresomeofthecurrentchallengesinthefieldofmultilingualearlylanguagetransmissioninthecontextofregionalandminoritylanguages:CompetencesofcaretakersandpreschoolpractitionersOneofthefourstrategicobjectivesfromET2020is:improvingthequalityandefficiencyofeducationandtraining.Itisimportantthatstudentsacquirelanguageawarenessandtheabilitytodealwithdifferentlanguagesattheirfutureworkplace.Onlyqualitativeandqualifiedcaretakersandteachersshouldbeworkingwith(young)children.Languagesareanessentialpartoftheschoolcurriculum.AcrossEurope,nurseries,playgroups,preschools,andkindergartensaresettingthestageforchildrentolearntwoormorelanguages.Researchonthissubjectcouldlookatthemultilingualcompetencesoftheearlylanguagelearningteachersinthedaycarecentrewithchildrenfrom0;64;0years.AlsothedifferencesbetweenthetrainingqualitiesfromearlylanguagelearningteachersacrossEuropecouldbefurtherinvestigatedandclarifiedmoreindepth.Researchquestionscouldbe:
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January2011
EarlyLanguageTransmissionandPreschoolProvisionsforRegionalandMinorityLanguages
Aretheresetcriteriainteachingaboutminoritylanguages?WhataretheminimumentryrequirementsofthestudytobecomeacaretakerorpreschoolpractitionerandwhatarethedifferencesinEurope?Whatcompetencesshouldrecentlygraduatedcaretakersandpreschoolpractitionershaveconcerninglanguagetransmissioninamultilingualcontext?ContinuousmultilinguallanguagetransmissionAgoodconnectionandtransferoftheleveloflanguageacquisitionbetweenforexamplethekindergartentoanotherinstitution(forexample,nurseryschool)isvital.Teachersfromprimaryschoolsneedcertainknowledge,somebackgroundinformation,tomeettheneedsofthechild.Itgivesprimaryschoolteachersconfidenceiftheyknowthatinthepreschoolperiodstructuredworkhasbeendoneonthedevelopmentoflanguageskills.ResearchonthissubjectacrossEuropeisnecessary.Researchquestionscouldbe:WhatisthecurrentpracticeofanintegratedapproachthroughmultiplelevelsofeducationconcerninglanguagetransmissioninEurope?AretheregoodpracticesinEuropeofindividuallanguageportfoliosonmultilingualisminthepreschoolsector?MethodsoflanguagetransferAgoodcommandofthemothertongueatayoungageiscrucialforthefurthereducationalcareer.Vocabularyisimprovedbyofferingyoungchildrenalanguagerichenvironment.Thereis,however,stilldiscussionaboutmethods.Shouldlanguagesbeacquiredsequential(onelanguageatthetime)orsimultaneous?Forthesimultaneouslanguageacquisitionthereare,inturn,severaloptions.Oneperson,onelanguageforinstance,oronesituation,onelanguage.ThedifferencesinlevelandinstructuresforpreschooleducationvarywidelythroughoutEurope.Somehaveahalfdaysetting;othershaveafulldaysetting.Somechildrengoonceaweektoaplaygroup,otherchildrengofourtimesaweektoaplaygroup.Goodcontactwiththehomesituationisthereforeimportant,ifnotimperative.Raisingtheawarenessoftheparentsofthebenefitsofmultilingualism,especiallyconcerningregionalandminoritylanguagesisthereforeanecessarystep.Forregionalandminoritylanguagesthebalancebetweenlanguagesisalsoanimportantaspect.Ifthedivisionbetweenthemajority(dominant)languageandminoritylanguageis50/50,thedominantlanguage(outsidethehome)willprevail.Inordertocreatean‘equalchange’youwouldneedadifferentdistribution.Abalancedlanguageinputisnecessaryforachildtogrowupmultilingualandproperlyacquirehis/hermothertongue.NewcomersinmultilingualregionsThroughincreasedmobilityandincreasingnumbersof‘mixedcultural’marriages,childrenwillincreasinglybecomemultilingualcitizens.Forimmigrants(orpersonscomingfromthesamecountrybutadifferentlanguagebackground)movingintoacommunitywitharegionalorminoritylanguage,thiscouldincreasethechallengeofintegration.Languagesareconsideredasavitalelementtointegration,butthenagain,languagesarenotexclusive,theycanbeacquiredbyanyone.
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January2011