CIS SYMPOSIUM ON INTERCULTURAL LEARNING | AMSTERDAM

Dates: 9 & 10 March 2017
Location: The International School of Amsterdam, Amstelveen, The Netherlands

Programme

STRAND C | LANGUAGE AS A PATHWAY TO INTERCULTURAL LEARNING

Dr. Graham Ranger | Strand Leader

Dr. Graham Ranger is the Academic Director of The Aga Khan Academies, based near Paris. His expertise is in leading sustainable school improvement in diverse cultural and linguistic contexts. Until December, 2016, he was Director of School Support and Evaluation for the Council of International Schools (CIS), where he was responsible for overseeing the support to CIS member schools through leading the development of international accreditation. Prior to this, he was Director of The British School, New Delhi, India. As Director of Education for the English Schools Foundation (ESF) in Hong Kong, he oversaw the systemic introduction of the IB, of international accreditation and the development of Putonghua for all students. In his current role with Aga Khan Academies, he gives academic leadership to schools teaching a customised, three programme IB education in a dual-language environment. Selection is means-blind and based on merit, welcoming talented students from all socio-economic backgrounds through its financial aid programme.

An Asset-Based Approach to Multilingual Education: Promoting Intercultural Understanding Through the Teaching and Learning of Language(s)

Presenter: Lorena Mancilla
Organisation: WIDA

A 21st century multilingual education recognizes and values linguistic diversity, utilizes dynamic language practices for meaning-making, and is firmly rooted in the notion that the teaching and learning of language is not a neutral act (García, 2009; Motha, 2014).  Such an approach to multilingual education better prepares students to navigate our global landscape equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to use their language(s) in ways that will help them thrive across diverse contexts.  Furthermore, such an approach promotes respect and understanding, and affirms social justice – values that are at the core of Intercultural Education (Allemann-Ghionda, 2011; Grant & Brueck, 2011). This interactive session will engage participants in critical discussions about multilingualism and approaches to language instruction that promote intercultural understanding. 

Through the use of guiding questions and practical tools designed for educators, participants will take part in activities that illustrate how an asset-based, mindset can help school leaders and educators:

  • Focus on what students can do with language;
  • Recognize the rich linguistic assets students and families contribute to the school community;
  • Challenge language hierarchies by elevating the status of all languages present within the learning environment; and
  • Design instruction that is linguistically responsive to students’ needs.

Participants will walk away with resources that can guide school-based professional learning, and tools that can be used to analyze policies and practices used within multilingual education programs.  

ESL Departments as Centres of Expertise in International Middle and Upper Schools: Exposing Myth-Information about Second-Language Issues

Presenter: Maurice Carder
Organisation: Independent Researcher

The purpose of the session is to illustrate the fundamental differences between  second language learners (SSLs) in national education systems and the needs of the children of the “international community”, itself a term that will be deconstructed. There will also be a reference to how “managerialism” may negatively influence the opportunities for providing positive outcomes for SLLs, in “the culture of the new capitalism” (Sennett). The aims of this session is to  show how SLLs in international schools can be better provided for by establishing models of instruction that do not assimilate to any political system; where motivation can come from in areas other than wanting to belong to a specific culture; and where students can develop all their languages equitably. The focus of the session will be on SLLs’ language repertoires and their trajectories as they move from school to school around the world. It will aim to show up the “passé” approach of many international schools which still teach English “as if it belonged to them”. It will also reflect on practices open to question in many international schools, and the agencies which give them credibility.

Multilingualism: A Whole Community Project

Presenter: Susan Stewart
School: International School of London (Surrey)

International schools contain within their walls an array of languages, and the average international student’s language profile is a complex interplay of languages acquired from the father, mother, extended family, previous schooling and previous countries of residence.  What is the responsibility of today’s international school to develop and support these languages?  As globally responsible organisations, should you extend your support of multilingualism towards the local community? And most importantly, how do you attempt to do so? The International School of London (ISL) has a long history of providing mother tongue language support to all its students from ages 3 to 18.   Mother Tongue lessons take place as part of the mainstream curriculum.  Currently there are 17 languages taught in ISL Surrey, with languages added based on need. ISL students frequently graduate with IBO bilingual diplomas.  Susan Stewart is Head of Languages at ISL Surrey.  Central to her role is to appreciate the unique language profile of every student, and the mission to develop an understanding of multilingualism within the whole school community, amongst all parents, students and staff.  Without a shared understanding of language acquisition, multilingualism could become a confusing, or even negative experience, rather than a positive force.  Susan holds regular workshops for the parents and staff. In today's globally mobile world, multilingualism is increasingly becoming the norm. The cultural and social benefits of multilingualism are now clearly in evidence, in addition to the economic advantages. By sharing expertise in this area, we give equal weighting and respect to all languages, and peoples, within our communities.

The Inseparability of Language and Culture

Presenter: Malcolm Pritchard
School: The ISF Academy, Hong Kong

Language is a social artefact that provides the means through which culture is established, developed, and shared between individuals and across generations. It shapes the unique ways in which its speakers make sense of the world; it is the carrier of experience, history and accumulated wisdom. According to Halliday, "Language is the essential condition of knowing, the process by which experience becomes knowledge (Halliday, 1993)." Language shapes what we know and how we communicate that knowledge. This session seeks to explore the inseparability of language and culture. It will interrogate the notion that intercultural learning is not possible in any meaningful sense without multiple linguistic perspectives, that one cannot truly move between cultures and world views without the benefit of multilingual competency. Part of this journey will consider the complex and often competing priorities that drive school-based language learning programs and the ways in which these factors impede the development of a truly interculturally competent world. Participants will be expected to share their own language learning experiences, frustrations, and motivations in a highly interactive session. The session is intended to provoke personal reflection and, to the extent possible, an institutional reformulation of the essential role of multilingualism in the 21st century

Translanguaging in International Schools: Bringing Language Diversity into the Classroom

Presenter: Eowyn Crisfield
Organisation: Crisfield Educational Consulting

One of the most challenging features of international schools and classrooms is the degree of language diversity. We know clearly from research that use of mother tongue (first language/home language) in education is a key factor in academic success, and that language growth in mother tongue is a driver for improving language proficiency in a school-based L2. So the question is not a theoretical “why” educators should bring the languages of all their students into the classroom, but a practical “how” do we manage to bring in many languages?

As the field of language in education expands and changes, more attention is being paid to alternative paradigms of bilingualism/multilingualism, how these should be represented in education, and how they can present pedagogical opportunities for inclusion. At the forefront is the work on translanguaging, combining new reflections on the nature of bilingualism/multilingualism with the practice of teaching (see, for example: Cenoz, 2013, Cenoz & Hunston, 2015, Garcia, 2009). One of the main benefits of a translanguaging pedagogy is the manner in which it allows for collaboration and transfer from home knowledge to school knowledge. A main impediment to learning and participation for students being educated in a second language is lack of access to prior knowledge, and to cultural knowledge represented in the mother tongue. Carefully crafted translanguaging pedagogy can be a bridge between the two worlds of bilingual students, and allow them to bring their own knowledge and representations into the classroom. In addition to the immediate learning benefits for emergent bilingual students, it also opens doors to broadening the worldview and understandings of all students, through exposure to different iterations of knowledge. After exploring the theoretical underpinnings and benefits of translanguaging, we will finish with a look at the practical implications, in terms of staffing, planning and resourcing, for the implementation of a translanguaging pedagogy in international schools. Taking on board a new pedagogical model is a challenge for any school, and the process must be systemic and systematic. The structures already present in international schools in terms of cross-disciplinary units are an ideal vehicle for translanguaging pedagogy. We will look at examples from schools already in the process of implementation and consider the implications for our own schools and classrooms. Participants will leave with a clear view of what translanguaging looks like in the classroom, and how they could successfully implement it within their own environment.
KEYNOTE & PLENARY SESSIONS
Languages and Hyperspheres in our Brains: Towards a New Paradigm for Intercultural Learning?
Speaker: Bruno della Chiesa
Institution: Visiting Lecturer on Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  

Educating for 2030
Speaker: Michael Stevenson
Institution: Senior Advisor, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation (OECD)

  

Educational Universality Through a Humane Lens: We ≠ You + Me
Speaker: Haifa Hajjar Najjar
Institution: Senator in the Upper House of the Jordanian Parliament (Jordanian Senate), Superintendent of Ahliyyah School for Girls and Bishop's School for Boys Amman


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