debate – ¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo
 

Category: debate

Following on from the success of Practical Pedagogies 2015 and 2016 at International School of Toulouse, the third Practical Pedagogies conference is on the move to Cologne, and specifically St George’s International School.

I have been fortunate enough to be invited to speak at both Practical Pedagogies so far – in 2015 about Using technology to enhance Primary Language Learning and then, after my sketch noting caused interest,  in 2016 I delivered a workshop on Sketchnoting for Beginners and also sketch noted the conference. I was dismayed when I discovered that IST was unable to hold the conference in 2018 as it is such an amazing event. Fortunately, my dismay and disappointment was short lived as a new plan was hatched and it’s all systems for November 2018 in Cologne.

At this stage, the programme has yet to be set and Russel Tarr, Practical Pedagogies mastermind and the man behind Classtools and Active History, has issued a Call for Presenters. He told me today that there have already been 120+ ideas submitted – including one of mine! – and that there’s still time for more. The deadline for submission is 31st January and I’d encourage you to apply if you have an idea. It doesn’t have to be primary language related – it’s a conference for anyone involved in teaching and at whatever level. It’s international and one of the things I love most is being inspired by educators from around the world who teach in other educational systems, under different ‘rules’ and circumstances, and discussing with them how they experiences can be applied in other contexts. If you do want to submit an idea, you can do so via this link to the Practical Pedagogies site.

Once all the submissions have been reviewed, a programme will be drawn up and booking will open in March! The advantage of being a speaker is that you get to attend the conference for a highly reduced price (50 euros but you get your restaurant meal on the first night paid for which would cost that, more or less!) and you get your foot in the door before anyone else. Plus speaking at Practical Pedagogies is a great experience! This year, I’m really pleased that it’s taking place during half term so I won’t need to beg to be released from school if I’m chosen to speak – and I’ll get to visit Germany and try out my developing German!

So go for it – nothing ventured, nothing gained and then, fingers crossed and thumbs pressed!

 

A couple of years ago I was asked to help produce some lesson plans for around celebrating and exploring diversity and enabling everyone to be themselves without fear of discrimination.* 

As part of this I did some research into books in Spanish that would be suitable for this purpose.

One of the plans I wrote was around families all being different and getting away from mum, dad and 2 kids = a family. At the time I did not use a book as the basis of the resources I made, but I’ve since found this book that I think is a lovely resource that I’d like to use next time we look at families. I envisage choosing a few chapters to read and discuss as a five-ten minute segment, perhaps in conjunction with RE/PSHE that I often teach as well as Spanish.

ISBN – 978-607-9344-32-0

Buy from Amazon 

Mi familia es de otro mundo literally means My family is from another world, but actually means My family is out of this world in the sense of being amazing. The book tells the stories of seven children, each one with a family to share, each family different.

There’s Juli whose parents have split up and spends part of the week with each, Lu who has two Dads who get married with her as ring bearer, Santi who looks nothing like his parents as they adopted him as a baby, Sol and Matu who are test tube babies, Vale who has an Argentinian Dad and a Chinese Mum so has two cultural identities, Leo whose Dad died when he was small so it’s just him and his Mum – and Negro the dog, and Fran who has what he calls una familia enredadera, literally a tangled family with parents who have split up and have new partners and/or children.

Each story is told very simply in short paragraphs of a very sentences with a longer information box that clarifies or explores some of the ideas and issues raised. The book concludes with more family models including grandparents as prime carers, parents whose jobs mean that they don’t see their children for months on end, surrogate mothers, extended families. foster families and globetrotting families with children born in a variety of countries.

El Mundo de Juli – Dos casas

El Mundo de Vale – Dos años nuevos

El Mundo de Lu – Papá, Papi y yo

El Mundo de Santi – Tomados de la mano

I really like some of the images that are used to explain families, in particular the idea of some families not fitting on a family tree but rather a family climbing plant!

The book concludes as below. In English:

Every family has a way of living, of sharing, of celebrating, of arguing, of loving. There are no two the same.

Sometimes because of that when we compare our family with another we think “My family is from a  different world!” Or when someone sees something in a family that is a bit odd to them they whisper “Every family is a world (or each family to their own)”

But in fact, there is only on world, this one, where there’s room for all families.

This is a message that I think is really important as we look to encourage children to value diversity and to understand that our life is much richer by learning about and from others’ experiences. We might not share their beliefs and we may find some of their ways a little odd but we all live on the same planet, have the same basic needs and, in the words of Jo Cox, “we have far more in common than that divides us.”

I’ll share more of my ideas of how we can do this in other ways too in future posts. Other books that might interest you along the same lines:

El gran libro de las families  (in English The Great Big Book of Families )

Cada familia a su aire; el gran libro de la familia

The Family Book

*I wrote the KS 1 and 2 MFL, and KS1 and KS2 ICT lesson plans that you can find on the Educate and Celebrate website here under PRIMARY. 

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 20.53.57At about 1130am on Friday I was contacted and asked by UKEDChat if I wanted to write a guest blog post about the impact Brexit could/will have on language learning. I didn’t write it straight away for several reasons not least that I didn’t actually have time until very late that night to think. When I did, I wrote my personal reflection on the events and implications.

The post can be found on the UKEdChat website and the text is reproduced below:

My husband woke me this morning and asked if I wanted to know the result. I should’ve been known by his voice but when he said ‘It was Leave by 52% to 48%’ it hit me like a ton of bricks and I burst into tears.

My first thought was my friends and pupils and how some of them would now feel.

I am a language teacher and many of my friends and colleagues across the country are ‘native speakers’ e.g. French/Spanish/German nationals who teach their native language. Others fell in love and moved here to be with their partners. Some have lived in this country for many years and have never felt the need to go to the (not inconsiderable) expense of officially become British.  Many have British partners, children who have grown up here and consider themselves part of this country, working, paying taxes, contributing to their communities. They could not vote. You can read what one felt here.

The Referendum may have been about whether we stay in the EU or not, but the waters were unfortunately muddied by the issue of immigration.  As I turned on social media, my fears were confirmed. I wasn’t in school but I know that several children were aware of what a ‘Leave’ verdict could mean for their families.

My job as a language teacher isn’t just about teaching words, structures and grammar. It’s about a context for that language, be it in Spain or South America, France, Belgium, Senegal. It’s about culture, lifestyle, food that may be different to ‘our’ ways. It involves encouraging discussion of our differences to help us understand more about ourselves, and then the joy of seeing things from someone else’s perspective, celebrating that we’re not all identical.

Through eTwinning, Comenius, Comenius Reggio and Erasmus +, all funded by the EU, my school has changed over the last ten years to be the globally minded place that it is now.  Teachers have visited colleagues in Europe, we’ve received visitors and much work has been done online, via Skype and vieo conferencing.

So what will Leave mean?

My initial reaction was posted at 8:15am

This morning I am distraught. Can’t put it into words but can I just say to my many friends who now feel unwelcome in the country that is their home – I love you. Farage, Gove, Johnson et al do not speak for me and my family. I don’t know what the future holds but I know that as long as I have breath I’ll still be championing cooperation, understanding, compassion and celebrating diversity. “We have more in common with each other than things that divide us.

Taking my eldest son to a university open day gave me time to think and reflect. My conclusion?

My task hasn’t really changed. I will still teach Spanish the same way I always did. I will still see Intercultural understanding as a vital part of my role. I will still find ways to bring other countries into my classroom. It will be harder as there is uncertainty about what will happen to the wonderful programmes like eTwinning. As a school we will still celebrate the languages and cultures of our pupils as we did whilst people were voting in another building on our site. My son and others intending to study languages at university may find their year abroad harder to fund without Erasmus funding. I might get asked more often ‘why do we learn Spanish; everyone speaks English!’ but my answer will remain the same. If anything, I see my role as even more important than before. My son reminded me of the postcard that was on the shelf at the bottom of our stairs at home featuring the words of Nelson Mandela:

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

His point was that, given the number of treaties, agreements and the like that the United Kingdom  now need to renegotiate, language skills will be all the more important, a point born out by experience.

The Leave vote doesn’t mean that we are no longer European.  I am European, speaking several languages, having lived in three European countries and that hasn’t changed. Time will tell the full implications for languages and the global dimension; statements from The British Council and ALL make me more optimistic.  So whilst my tears have ceased, my determination has not and, judging by the comments on social media and in person, nor has that of my fellow linguists!

We may need to work harder for opportunities but …

On Saturday I attended the Purpos/ed Summit for Instigators in Sheffield, meeting with others to debate the purpose of education and discuss how we might ‘kickstart’ a wider debate on the subject.

Part of the time was given over to 3×3 presentations by attendees – 3 slides in 3 minutes on the question of the education. The random fruit machine from Classtools didn’t pick me so I decided to rcord what i might have said.

Without adrenaline and anyone to tell me to be quiet, it went on for a bit longer than 3 minutes, but here it is.

I challenge you – what do you think the purpose of education is?

Find out more and join the debate here.

¡Vámonos! The musings of Lisibo ©2019. All Rights Reserved.
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