International Multilingualism Day

The Multilingual Families Lab is celebrating International Multilingualism Day!

International Multilingualism Day aims to celebrate linguistic diversity and the multi-layered way we use languages in our everyday lives. For many families, speaking more than one language has many advantages, from maintaining ties with your extended family to opening up job opportunities. Research in our lab is contributing to a broader understanding of multilingual language development: all children can learn more than one language. Keys to this learning are fostering opportunities, valuing the languages being learned, and making it fun.

A key message of International Multilingualism Day: “There is no *right* way to do languages. There is only your way. And that’s what matters.” We could not have said it better!

Inspired by Aviak Johnston’s book “What is your superpower?“, our lab brainstormed about what brought us together as students, researchers, and individuals. What brought us together is our languageS and cultureS – we are excited to learn from our families and each other and connect. We have integrated this in our lab motto – and made it multilingual! It was fun to put our collective 12 languages to work to share our superpowers.

Lab Motto

Join us in celebrate multilingualism – in whatever way that looks like for you!

AM

Flying Canoë Volant #YEG

In the Mill Creek Ravine of Edmonton, a special cultural celebration took place the first week of March 2021. The Flying Canoë Volant is a festival inspired by a tale that highlights cultures of the French Canadians, Métis, and First Nations. This tale is the story of woodcutters that wanted to visit their loved ones. The only way they could see them in their far away location and be back the next day for work was to fly on a canoe. They made a deal with the devil for a magical flying canoe, but in return they could not swear or touch the cross of church steeples along the way. Will they make it back home…? You can find out by reading a version of this tale, La Chasse-galerie, written by Honoré Beaugrand in 1892. Several Multilingual Families Lab members joined this celebration of local history and cultures in an enchanted winter environment where safety measures were a priority. 

Le Guide du Programme StimuLER

C’est avec plaisir qu’on partage notre Guide du Programme StimuLER: Un programme communautaire de soutien au développement langagier des enfants réfugiés ou nouveau arrivants.

Le programme de Stimulation langagière pour les enfants réfugiés (StimuLER) a été initié en 2015 par Dre. Andrea MacLeod et Mme Sabah Meziane, orthophoniste aux études doctorales, dans le but de répondre aux besoins des enfants réfugiés et nouveaux arrivants. Il est important d’intégrer les deux langues de l’enfant pour enrichir à la fois la langue maternelle et la langue seconde et ainsi réduire les risques de perte de la langue maternelle, ainsi que les conséquences négatives qui en découlent. 

C’est avec grand plaisir que nous partageons ce guide libre d’accès!

AM

Multilingual Families Lab celebrates #MotherTongueDay

#MotherTongueDay celebrates cultural and linguistic diversity to build toward sustainable societies. At the @MultilingFamLab, we are committed to supporting the mother tongue(s), or first language(s) of multilingual families. Around the world, about 40% of children do not have access to an education in a language they speak or understand. Early education in the mother tongue is especially important to avoid knowledge gaps – it provides children with a more equitable start to their education.

Illustration of kids learning

Our work with multilingual families in Canada has highlighted that while many parents are strongly invested in their child’s education, they encounter challenges directly supporting their child because of language barriers between home and school (e.g., MacLeod, Meziane & Pesco, 2020). For the past 5 years, we have developed and implemented dual-language groups that focus on the home languages and introduce the language that will be used in school. Creating a space outside the home for the mother tongue signals that this language is valuable. By using the mother tongue in a group setting parents are empowered as language experts and included in the activities. Through these groups, we can also counter the belief that maintaining your mother tongue can interfere with learning the language used at school.

Your mother tongue is a powerful connection to your family, culture, and community. Supporting families in maintaining this connection is essential as we build toward a sustainable Canada.

AM

La communication des enfants durant la COVID-19

C’était un plaisir de présenter au Campus St-Jean dans le contexte du panel sur Les effets négatifs de la COVID-19.  Le Lab des Familles Multilingues a mené une enquête sur la communication des enfants durant la COVID-19. 

Certains parents parents observent une croissance dans le langage de leurs enfants en lien avec l’attention 1 sur 1. Certains parents expriment que passer plus de temps en famille est agréable autant pour eux que pour les enfants.

La période de COVID-19 a fortement impacté les relations des enfants avec leurs ami.e.s d’école. Ils n’ont en majorité plus de relation avec leur pairs. Un besoin critique pour les parents et les tuteurs.trices est d’avoir plus de réunions et de formation avec les clinicien.ne.s et les enseignant.e.s. Pour les parents et les tuteurs.trices, savoir quels jouets utiliser ou adapter pendant la pandémie est un défi. Les enfants peuvent ressentir beaucoup d’émotions et ne pas savoir comment en parler.

Au sujet des masques et la communication précoce, nous partageons quelques astuces: Il est important d’attirer l’attention de l’autre, de parler plus fort, plus lentement, avec des phrases courtes et avec une intonation exagérée. Ainsi qu’utiliser des gestes et exagérer les expressions – surtout autour des yeux! De plus, il est important d’encourager et soutenir la communication à la maison. 

Ressource francophone – OOAQ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP-aK5jUiqM

Nous avons développé une série de 4 infographies pour les parents qui décrivent des  astuces, des suggestions, et des conseils.  Suite aux réponses sur le questionnaire les thèmes portaient sur la communication, le jeu, et la santé mental.  Ils sont disponibles en français, anglais et espagnol gratuitement sur notre site web de notre labo MFL et sur le site ERA de l’University of Alberta.

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