Building bridges: multilingual resources for children by Multilingual Resources for Children

By Multilingual Resources for Children

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The importance of bilingual adults - whether responding to children's writing or producing materials of their own - cannot be overestimated, especially in classes where the teacher is monolingual. Bilingual children need the opportunity to consolidate writing skills in both their languages; monolingual children benefit from exposure to a variety of languages and scripts. Most children's work will be handwritten. Different kinds of handwriting, including the calligraphic traditions of Perso-Arabic and Chinese scripts, provide a valuable broadening of experience.

Our thanks to the teachers and children in the fieldwork schools: Thomas Buxton Junior, Barham Primary, Cranford Infant, and Havelock Primary; and classes at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association, the Darpan Bengali School, the Ramgarhia Sabha Sunday School and the Hounslow Chinese School. Our fieldworkers appreciated the welcome they received and the help they were given. We would also like to thank staff and children at Redlands Primary, Reading, and Penny Kenway for allowing us to draw on work she conducted at Wellington Primary, west London.

Bilingual books - Great Britain. 97 0941 - DC20 94- 46504-CIP British Library cataloguing in publication data A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 1-85359-290-0 (pbk) Page 5 Contents Preface vii Acknowledgements viii 1 Life with Many Languages 11 Life with many languages 12 Responses to diversity 13 Minority perspectives 13 Building bridges in the classroom 14 Design issues 16 The Multilingual Resources for Children Project 16 2 Creating the Right Ethos 21 An understanding of cultural diversity 21 The visual environment in schools 26 School organization 28 Access 28 Workshops 28 Written communication 28 Developing a whole school policy 29 3 Resources for Speaking and Listening 31 Speaking more than one language 32 Acknowledging diversity 33 Promoting speaking and listening in other languages 34 Group work and discussion 34 Bilingual storytelling 35 Drama and role play 35 Audio-visual resources 37 4 Resources for Reading 39 Literacies in English-speaking classrooms 40 'Maktab' literacy 40 Literacy in the Chinese community 41 Dispelling the myths 41 Reading in many languages 42 Books in other languages 44 Does quality count?

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