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Complementary Schools for Multilingual, Minority Ethnic Children in the UK: Policies and practices Li Wei Applied Linguistics & Communication Birkbeck.

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Presentation on theme: "Complementary Schools for Multilingual, Minority Ethnic Children in the UK: Policies and practices Li Wei Applied Linguistics & Communication Birkbeck."— Presentation transcript:

1 Complementary Schools for Multilingual, Minority Ethnic Children in the UK: Policies and practices Li Wei Applied Linguistics & Communication Birkbeck College

2 Acknowledgement Investigating multilingualism in complementary schools in four communities (ESRC, RES-000-23-1180): Angela Creese, Taskin Baraç, Arvind Bhatt, Adrian Blackledge, Shahela Hamid, Li Wei, Vally Lytra, Peter Martin, Chao-jung Wu, and Dilek Yağcıoğlu-Ali

3 History of CSs, including types and purposes of CSs Policies regarding CSs Policies of CSs themselves Pedagogical, socio-cultural practices in CSs Issues for research and policy considerations

4 Terminology Community Supplementary Heritage (Language) Complementary – voluntary organisations set up by minority ethnic communities to provide education of their children outside the regular day school context. They complement, rather than replace, mainstream schooling. The content of the teaching is cultural (language), not covering the full range of curriculum subjects.

5 History Informal reports of home schooling for Black and other immigrant children in 50s First schools were private collectives of families, providing literacy teaching.

6 1950s Black schools To tackle perceived underachievement of Black children Taught by Black teachers – the role model issue Generally seen as a response to the failing of the mainstream education system of minority ethnic children Continued till today but on a much smaller scale, focussing on recent immigrants Often associated with churches and community organisations

7 1970s Muslim schools Gender issue and sex education Beginning of Faith schools (for non-Christian faiths) – equality issue

8 Huge public debate: i) truly democratic society should allow all types of schools to exist; ii) there has to be a common standard/norm for all schools; iii) if mainstream schools fully meet the needs of minority ethnic children, there would be no need for CSs 1997, official recognition of two Muslim schools (voluntary aided)

9 The vast majority of CSs are language and culture schools/classes Over 2,000, varying in size and purpose Key social network for the community Under-explored in terms of research

10 Policies regarding CSs Whos responsible for them? ContinYou: National Resource Centre for Supplementary Education (England) Community learning organisation, a charity, partially funded by the DCSF and by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

11 No formal registration or inspection No funding going to CSs directly No formal teacher training programme for CSs

12 CILT: National Centre for Languages The Language focus/bias Limited funding for activities

13 Individual communities have orgnisations for their own schools, but no national organisation for the schools across different communities Problems: no sharing of good practice; fighting for the same, limited resource

14 CSs own policies Purpose of CSs: language (esp. literacy) and cultural teaching An alternative version of Monolingual ideology – OLON or OLAT No recognition of Multilingual identities of the children Do provide an important site for social interaction within the community

15 Typical set-up Physical location varies Restrictions of use in rented premises A mixture of social service and education Parents run, parents teach, parents pay

16 Practices Language as Culture and Language as Heritage Textbooks usually imported from home countries; contents not always appropriate for children in Britain Teachers share little social experience with the children While insisting on the children speaking the ethnic languages, they switch to English for explanation and classroom management – translation as explanation method (implications – power relations)

17 Pedagogical, socio-cultural issues Whole class teaching; teacher centred; often gender segregated Set textbooks Translation Nationalism through symbolic teaching – folk tales, anthems, traditional drafts, dance and music, celebration of festivals Tendency to teach standard, national languages only (linguistic hierarchies) Contrasting versions of same historical events

18 How do the children respond? The children normally have a good receptive ability in the ethnic languages and many can also speak the languages fluently when they want to Most of them dont read or write in the ethnic languages They value CSs as an important social network, with peers of similar social background

19 In the meantime, they are a new generation of British citizens They are multilingual and multicultural and want to be regarded as such! They contest the various monolingual and unicultural identities imposed on them, by the wider society and by their own communities

20 They reject the monolingual ideologies in the classroom, some of the traditional pedagogical approaches, and some of the cultural contents of the teaching

21 Issues for research and policy The role of CSs in identity development and community cohesion for the ethnic minority children How are CSs connected with the mainstream education? Public awareness of CSs; mainstream school teachers awareness How mainstream school teachers react to their pupils attending alternative schooling.

22 How do the CSs themselves respond to changes in British society and globalisation (technology, economy, social changes in home countries)? In terms of teaching and learning, what can CSs and mainstream schools learn from each other – many underachieving minority ethnic pupils are high achievers in CSs.

23 At the heart of debate over identity, community cohesion, citizenship, Britishness, globalisation

24 Thank you!

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