Developing bilingual learning through partnerships between complementary and mainstream teachers Mahera Ruby & Charmian Kenner Goldsmiths, University of London Tower Hamlets classrooms Majority second and third generation British Bangladeshi children Some children with other languages: eg Somali, Arabic, Russian... Newcomer children from Bangladesh Teaching assistants bilingual in Sylheti/Bengali Some bilingual teachers Only English being used in class Parallel world: complementary classes (thanks to www.stifford.org.uk for the image) Often just round the corner or down the road After-school or weekends Children learning mother tongue and often maths or other curriculum subjects as well Strong links with families The need for a bilingual approach in both settings Second and third generation in complementary school: English stronger Same children in mainstream school: drawing on all their language resources (Kenner et al, 2008) Children strong in both languages doing well in both settings New project: partnerships between primary and community teachers (funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Tower Hamlets) Collaborative action research on bilingual learning Teachers visit each other’s settings Plan jointly around a topic, adapt to own context Deliver lessons and observe each other Plan and deliver again Supported by Goldsmiths and Tower Hamlets Languages Service Characteristics of complementary classes Multi-age, multi-level Bilingual – children often stronger in English, teacher in mother tongue Teachers devise strategies to meet the challenges Zainab’s Somali class, visited by James, primary school teacher: a learning community, everyone pools their resources A two-way exchange Mainstream teachers recognise the value of complementary teachers’ strategies, as well as vice versa Example of James, primary teacher (music/drama) co-teaching at the primary school with Zainab (Somali class teacher) Children in class mainly British Bangladeshi, two Somali children, one child from Afghanistan Child as teacher Changes power relationships Multiple practice Each child highlights different aspects Fine-tuning learning Synergy in teaching and learning through exchange with peers (Gregory, 2001) James on the child as teacher ‘It’s a more rounded use of resources, it develops the children in different ways – self-learning, self-monitoring… the understanding you get from having to teach something, to try to explain it, focusing in your head on what it should be’ Learning keywords through drama Children choose keywords and build into English sentence, then act out – consolidate meaning, kinaesthetic learning Equal status of teachers James introduced Zainab and Muna: ‘we’re teaching buddies’ Co-teaching in the mainstream classroom was conducted seamlessly and with mutual understanding James’ comment on complementary strategies: ‘it isn’t what you do, and that’s why it’s good for you to see it’ Developing topic-based bilingual learning Primary school: adding a multilingual dimension to topics for IPC (International Primary Curriculum) Community teachers help develop ideas and teach topic in own setting From ‘parallel worlds’ to ‘connected curricula’ Grandparents A partnership project Smithy Street Primary School & after-school Somali class Grandparents Family tree: words for relatives Children learn with actions and rhythm Grandparents Afternoon at Smithy Street School Make family trees in different languages Messages to grandparents Families bring photos of grandparents Imagine what you would like to say to your grandparent in Somalia (practise orally and on phone) Write messages to grandparents Create powerpoint presentation for Tower Hamlets Languages Celebration My sweet grandma I miss you could you come with me bye bye. Rahima Warqad awoowe by Mohammad and Asya Awoowe Salaam calaykum Aad baan kuu salama aniga. Aad baan u fiicanahay. Awoowe Allah waxan kaaga baryaya-inaad ku waarto caafimaad. Awoowe ii so ducee. Letter to dada (grandpa) Asalamu alaikum dada. Are you O.K. I am writing to you to hope you have good health and wealth. Could you read me dua (make a prayer for me). Benefits for learning Community teacher’s understanding enriches ‘grandparents’ theme for school Children exploring their roots and who they are Building attachment to grandparents Developing language to communicate with elders The Rag Trade A partnership project Smithy Street Primary School & Stifford Community Centre What can you see in these pictures? Tomra ei chobi gulate khi dekte parteso? Why are they asking us to save their life? Key words Rag Trade – kaporer bebsha Labour - srom Export – roptani Slums - bosti Exploit – shujuger bebohar Trade - bebsha Fair Trade – sromer mullo Questions to ask parents Ma babader jonno proshno Bangladesher bachara ki bhabe thake? (How do the children in Bangladesh live?) Ora pora shunar kototuku shujug pai? (What opportunities do they get to read and write?) Amra ki bhabe bachader srom dur korte pari? (How can we stop child labour?) Tomra Bangladeshe tader che pora shunar kototuku shujug pacho? (What opportunities did you get in Bangladesh to read and write?) Tomra ei deshe eshe khi khi kaz korso? (What work did you do when you came to the UK?) Investigation with children in Bangladesh A teacher from Smithy Street School visited Bangladesh. Children from Smithy Street and Stifford Centre sent questions to children there. Some children go to daytime school. Others work in the rag trade by day and go to night school. The teacher brought back answers which children from Smithy and Stifford performed at Tower Hamlets Languages Celebration. Night Time School Benefits for learning Engaging children in meaningful issue, drawing on knowledge of community teacher Thinking through ideas in Bengali and English Aiding biliteracy, using transliteration as a bridge to Bengali script Developing speaking skills Empathy through role-plays and preparing costumes The importance of bilingual learning ‘It’s about the whole child really for me…just by having contact with their community schools I feel I can understand a bit more about their learning in a broader context – they’ve got skills we don’t always use in class and doing the poetry work has given us the chance to use some of those skills…it was lovely to see the confidence of the children who were able to take on the task and engage with it, using their mother tongue, it just felt very positive to see them…obviously English is what we’re being asked to teach but what I think I learned from this is that children who are actually being very successful in English seem to also be children who are engaging with mother tongue classes as well’ (Annika, Smithy Street) Ideas for joint activities between mainstream and community schools Topic-based teaching International languages celebration event Bilingualism advice panel for parents Dual language book making Dissemination Training for complementary and mainstream teachers, led by teacher partnerships from the project Resources to be placed on Tower Hamlets languages website National conference in Tower Hamlets, Thursday July 1st References Kenner, C., Gregory, E., Ruby, M. and Al-Azami, S. (2008) Bilingual learning for second and third generation children. Language, Culture and Curriculum 21 (2), 120-137. Kenner, C., Al-Azami, S., Gregory, E. and Ruby, M. (2008) Bilingual poetry: expanding the cognitive and cultural dimensions of children’s learning. Literacy 42 (2), 92-100. Al-Azami, S., Kenner, C., Ruby, M. and Gregory, E. (2010) Transliteration as a bridge to learning for bilingual children. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.