In numerous schools, in Europe and elsewhere, activities and education projects involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education have been developed
Parents, what roles can you play alongside education professionals?
Do not worry, you do not need to know a language perfectly to help the children to discover and appreciate it! You do not need to know the school language to participate: gestures, pictures, body and face expressions will enable understanding. Teachers trained in plurilingual and intercultural education are there to help you to prepare your activities with you. And if you know only one language, share your accent, your way of speaking, your culinary, artistic, professional knowledge. Variety is everywhere! Arousing interest in differences and varieties is fundamental to learning and understanding the world.
If you think that school programmes are overloaded, remember that these plurilingual and intercultural activities support the knowledge, skills and attitudes which are already part of the curriculum. They help to develop the general ability to learn: languages (the school language and the other languages taught at school), literature, history, geography, arts… They develop learning competences useful for all subjects: making hypotheses, asking questions, comparing, discovering rules, nuances of meaning, other ways of expressing oneself…
Plurilingual and intercultural education prepares for life in a multicultural world and helps to make it more peaceful, just and generous.
Parents, if you...
... speak another language than the languages taught at school?
Come and share it with the pupils !
... know another foreign language which is taught at school?
Come and share your knowledge, and introduce new ways of speaking the language, with
... do not speak other languages than the school language(s)
Come and share your accent, your ways of speaking, the specialized language of your job!
... speak another language variety ("dialect")?
Come and let the others discover it.
... think you will not be able to teach?
The teachers are there to help you to prepare and present your input.
... think that school programmes are already overloaded and that these activities will be a waste of time?
Don’t be so sure! Teachers will build on activities with parents to work on curriculum content (reading, oral expression, handwriting, discovering the world...).
... think that it is more important for children to learn the school language and English?
Discovering other languages leads to better understanding how languages work and thus to a better understanding of the languages of the curriculum.
... think that the school’s main goal is improving social cohesion?
Come and contribute to establishing connections between the different languages and cultures in our society, starting from our school!
Why is this education necessary?
Because it helps to develop SKILLS for the lifelong learning of languages and QUALITIES which are essential for getting on well together in multicultural societies. Research has shown that:
- bi/plurilingualism develops well when all the languages a child has are valued and when making connections between these languages is encouraged;
- it is easier for children to engage in the school language when their home language(s) is/are recognized;
- valuing children's various languages and cultural backgrounds boosts their self-confidence;
- connecting children's various experiences promotes their development;
- involving parents in their children's schooling contributes to their success.