Archive for February, 2010

Empowering children and youth ~ Call for proposals for the annual NAME conference

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

The (US-based) National Association for Multicultural Education will hold its next – and its 20th – conference November 4-6, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV. The theme is Empowering Children and Youth: Equity, Multiculturally Responsive Teaching and Achievement Gaps. From the call:

“Since the founding of NAME, it has become clear that empowerment of children and youth, and the urgency of addressing achievement gaps, dropout rates, and the larger equity issues within which they are embedded, includes marginalization on the basis of race, class, language, sexual orientation, gender, disability, and religion. In fact, rather than being separate and distinct communities, they overlap in complex ways, suggesting that teaching should be multiculturally responsive. … Further, these issues transcend concerns within the U.S., inviting international dialog about diversity, equity, multiculturalism, and justice”.

“The vitality of NAME flows from its diverse membership. Thus, it is NAMEs policy to ensure presentations by and about diverse ethnic, racial, gender, language, religious, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, disability, and geographic groups. Presentations by teachers, school administrators, community activists, government and organization officials, higher education faculty, and others interested in the conference theme are encouraged. Students (high school, undergraduate, and graduate) and international scholars, practitioners, and activists are also encouraged to submit proposals”.

For more information, and to submit an online proposal (deadline is April 17th), visit the NAME website.

Dual language learners: What educators need to know and how best to deliver language training

Friday, February 26th, 2010

From the folks at Early Ed Watch, a US-based blog and part of the New America group (a public policy think tank dedicated to advancing ideas to advance the US), comes news of a 4-part series on dual language learners and what early childhood practitioners need to know in order to best support 2nd (and subsequent) language learning, while maintaining home language(s).

Looks like a useful and interesting series that came out of several key questions; questions worth looking at from a Canadian perspective too:

What to call children who arrive on new shores speaking a language or languages other than English? Early Ed Watch is using “dual language learners”, but “English or French language learners” is used in Ontario/Canada and because programs used to deliver language training are called English or French as Second Language courses, some children are referred to as ESL or FSL children. What do we think? Should we adopt “dual language learner” in place of the awkward E/FSL?

Are dual language learners at risk of performing more poorly than their peers who speak the dominant language of the school community? In the US, there is evidence to suggest this is true. Do people know of any Canadian research in this area?

What is the best way to teach another language? Are there best practices known in Canada? Is immersion the best way? Comments and resources are welcomed.

immigrantchildren.ca will be following the Early Ed Watch series.

Newcomer Children Information Exchange – new website

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies of BC (AMSSA) has launched a new website to provide information related to newcomer children. The site Newcomer Children Information Exchange includes information, resources and other items of interest in several areas:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Family Dynamics
  • Health and Wellness
  • Multiculturalism and Identity
  • Adaptation and Integration
  • Schooling
  • Socio-Economics

immigrantchildren.ca welcomes this new presence in cyberspace that addresses the specific and unique needs of immigrant, refugee – all newcomer – children.

The site also features:
• A searchable database of useful research reports, educational materials, and web links
• Theme pages that provide a general overview of key issues affecting newcomer children
• The eventual home (and archive) of the ANCIE e-newsletter.

“Babies who hear two languages in womb likely to be bilingual”

Friday, February 19th, 2010

See the article in the Feb 19th edition of the National Post.

Enter to win Shaun Tan’s “The Arrival” for International Mother Language Day

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

People who have previously commented* on immigrantchildren.ca are eligible to win a copy of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival. How? By Feb 21 – International Mother Language Day (IMLD) – leave a comment to the IMLD post in your home language. The winner will be selected randomly at 10pm EST from the list of comments.

Good luck! Bonne chance!

*If you’ve left a comment anywhere on immigrantchildren.ca before February 20th, and you leave a comment to the IMLD post in your home language, you are eligible to win the book. (The book will be sent through Canada Post).

Feb 21 is International Mother Language Day

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

International Mother Language Day was first proclaimed by UNESCO in 1999 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity.

Related resources:

mylanguage.ca ~ mylanguage.ca, a project of Dr. Roma Chumak-Horbatsch, Ryerson University’s School of Early Childhood Education, provides evidence-based research and multi-lingual resources to support parents, teachers, early childhood practitioners and other interested service providers in maintaining and protecting minority languages spoken by children and families in Canadian homes. This year, graduate students of Dr. Chumak-Horbatsch invite the Ryerson community to the School of ECE to commemorate International Mother Language Day.

facebook page ~ set up by Vox Humanitatis, a non-profit organization that supports “less resourced cultures” in maintaining their culture and languages.

UNESCO International Symposium: Technology and the Mother Tongue: Friend or Foe? ~ as part of a 2-day event to mark IMLD, this symposium will bring together researchers, academics and other experts in Paris to discuss “bridging global and local languages and translation, mutual understanding and stereotypes”.

UNESCOs Multilingualism on the Internet ~ the 2004 online issue explores “the linguistic impacts of the Internet and at filling this knowledge gap”.

Leave a comment here in your mother language – and tell us what it is!

Dzi?ki! (Polish)

Welcome to Canada: Have a coffee and a donut?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Premiering during the 2010 Olympics, a new Tim Hortons commercial depicts a common migrant experience: a family reuniting at a Canadian airport. Welcoming the mother and two small children is a newcomer (immigrant or refugee?) father who extends a coffee to his wife after a tearful reunion kiss saying “Welcome to Canada”. It’s not visible, but one would presume that the kids get a Canadian treat too, perhaps a donut? Maybe the latest promotion, the “Canadian donut“.

Nutritional info:

Calories (per 1): 200

Fat: 8 per gram (total grams: 63)

Sodium: 190 mg

Welcome to Canada and to the healthy immigrant effect.

Listening to families: Responding to (newcomer) families

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Sponsored by the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs and the Family Support Institute of Ontario and funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, a trio of Ryerson University researchers have developed a book and DVD based on research they conducted with families across Canada. The results provide early childhood practitioners with best practices in working with newcomer families, families living in poverty and families with children with special needs.

For more information on the Listening to Families: Reframing Services project, visit the Ryerson University research update page.

Metropolis conference: Immigration and diversity. Crossroads of culture, engine of economic development

Friday, February 12th, 2010

The 12th annual Metropolis conference will be held March 18-20, 2010 in Montreal. The theme this year is Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Culture, Engine of Economic Development. immigrantchildren.ca is pleased to see so many workshops and roundtables addressing issues related to newcomer families and young children, including:

Transnational Families: Where race, culture and adoption intersect, by Susan Crawford, lead for the Halton Multicultural Council project “Transracial Parenting Initiative”. From the abstract: “This workshop presents research on transracial and transnational families created through adoption across Canada. Presentations examine cultural enrichment through adoption, gaps in delivering pre- and post-adoption services and the needsof transracial familites; and adult adoptees’ complex experiences and understandings of ethno-racial identity”.

Conflict and Violence in Immigrant Families, by Madine VanderPlaat, St. Mary’s University. From the abstract: “This workshop will examine issues related to gender, conflict and violence within immigrant families. Participants will discuss the factors that contribute to stressors as well as the challenges and opportunities for culturally competent social responses”.

Health and Access to it for Migrants after Birth, by Anita Gagnon, Denise Bradshaw, Marlo Turner-Ritchie. From the abstract: “Tri-city (Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal) data on the health and service needs of refugee, asylum-seeking, non-refugee immigrant and Canadian-born women and their infants during pregnancy, at birth and during the first four months after birth will be presented in conjunction with potential policy responses to these date”.

School, Community and Collaborative Practice: Fostering the Integration of Immigrant and Refguee Youth in the Canadian School Context, by Sophie Yohani, N. Ernest Khalema. From the abstract: “Creating welcoming communities in educational settings is vital for newcomer students who may have a history that hinders adaptation. This workshop brings together academic researchers, non-profit practitioners, a government program officer, and a graduate student who share expertise in community-based collaborative practice to address the adaptation of refugee and immigrant students in the Canadian school context”.

Taking Care into Consideration: Local and Transnational Implications for Families, Children and Youth, by Alexandra Dobrowolsky and Evangelia Tastsoglou. From the abstract: “Familial networks, local and transnational, are critical to immigrants’ decision-making processes. The accommodation of care concerns (care of children, elderly parents, etc). also becomes a key consideration for migrants, especially for women. This workshop explores the repercussions of familial networks, and the complex negotiation of care concerns vis-a-vis attraction and retention”.

For more details on the above, see the conference program page.

immigrantchildren.ca is on twitter

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

immigrantchildren.ca is on twitter. Follow me as I tweet on issues related to immigration, diversity, inclusion, integration, interculturalism and multiculturalism, and citizenship. A little broader than the strict focus here on children (birth to age eight) and their families.

Call for nominations: Children’s Peace Prize 2010

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

The KidsRights Foundation annually awards the Children’s Peace Prize to a child “whose courageous or otherwise extraordinary efforts have made an impact on behalf of the rights of the child”.

Former award winners include AIDS activist Nkosi Johnson, South Africa, “slave” Om Prakash Gurjar, India, peace activist Mayra Avellar Neves, Brazil.

The Children’s Peace Prize includes prize money, which will be invested by KidsRights in specific projects related to the struggle for peace and interests of the winner.

Do you know a child who works on behalf of the rights of children? Deadline for nominations in April 1, 2010.

Speaking in tongues, film on promoting, maintaining ‘home’ language of children

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

From the Speaking in Tongues website: “Julian, Jason, Kelly, Durell.  Four typical American kids with one exception.  Their parents placed them in schools where, from the first day of Kindergarten, their teachers speak Chinese or Spanish.  Why? To give them a career edge.  To raise their academic achievement.  To maintain their home language.  Or to help communicate with their grandparents.

“What would it be like if your parents put you in a school where the teacher spoke a foreign language?”

Speaking in Tongues makes the case for promoting the maintaining of ones home language. Speaking in Tongues follows 4 diverse children in their roles as global citizens.

For more information and promotional goodies, see the film website.