Overview of findings from 2008 and 2009 E-conferences
Our Languages Learner Voice E-conferences 2008 and 2009 - Powerpoint presentation
Detailed findings from 2008 E-conference
The first of our week-long e-conferences aimed to capture the "learner voice" and very much targeted pupils in our partner schools. It collected detailed data on pupils' range of languages, their preferred ways of learning and their ideas about the future of language teaching in schools. Pupils were able to see previous responses to the six questions as they composed their own answers.
The report, available to download below, was compiled by Dr. Tessa Carroll, Prof. Itesh Sachdev, and Farhana Zaman. Also thanks to Sara Wickert, CILT, the National Centre for Languages, and Alice Harrison, Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, for supplying much of the background information on the e-conference and schools involved.
Detailed findings from 2009 E-conference
By the time of the second e-conference in March 2009 we had commissioned a purpose-designed asset from our website designer, Nameless in Bristol, to accommodate the new questions in two different sets, one for primary pupils and the other for secondary students. This event received general publicity on the CILT website as well as here on Our Languages so attracted a wider range of schools.
The report, available to download below, was compiled by Dr. Tessa Carroll. Also thanks to Prof. Itesh Sachdev (SOAS, University of London), Farhana Zaman (Nottingham Trent University), and Sarah Cartwright, Sara Wickert and William Attfield of CILT, the National Centre for Languages, for supplying much of the background information on the e-conference and schools involved.
Who Do We Think We Are? Week E-conference
The Who Do We Think We Are (WDWTWA)? Week E-conference ran from 22 June to 03 July 2009 and was open to anyone at primary, secondary or sixth form level. It was of particular interest to plurilingual pupils (those able to communicate in two or more languages).
The rationale behind the WDWTWA? Week E-conference was to give pupils the chance to express their views and debate the views of other young people who come from a wide range of ethnic and educational backgrounds.
While there is not sufficient data here to analyse, you can still visit the WDWTWA? website at: www.wdwtwa.org.uk. You can also read an article about the event in the news section of the website by clicking here. A number of quotes from our young participants are displayed below.
1. What are the different communities you belong to?
"I belong to a lot of communities. I’m in the Nepalese committee and the Swindon dance community. I also belong to my dance crew and my singing group. I have good neighbours in Parksouth which make us a great community." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"I belong to my school community, and also to the All Saints Basketball community, since I do training there. There is also the Polish community, which includes my home and the Polish Saturday School." (King Edward VII School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire)
2. How is your identity different from that of your parents/guardians/grandparents?
"I consider myself to be English whereas my grandparents consider themselves to be Indian." (Bridlington School Sports college, Yorkshire, Humberside)
"My grand parents only watch Goan television and eat Goan food and speak Konkani. My parents and I speak English as well as Konkani." (St Joseph’s Catholic College, South West)
"My parents/grandparents and also my sister and I were all born in Pakistan. However, my parents/grandparents are stricter with the culture and religion. I also try to stick with my culture because I have been taught to respect it and be proud of it." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
"I was born in the UK, as was my Dad, while my grandparents and Mum weren't. I was brought up in an environment with different music, TV, films etc. The British environment is different to the Pakistani environment." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
3. What language(s) do you use to communicate with different members of your family? How do you communicate (e.g. letter, phone, Skype, email etc.)?
"I mostly speak english in my household but i do speak my home language Nepalese. I communicate from my phone,bebo,facebook,msn,tagged,hi5, meetmymessenger and yahoo." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"I have a really big family and they live in many countries. I live with my parents and sister in England. Some of my family from dad’s side live in India, some in Canada and Australia. Family from my mum’s side live in Canada and Poland. I communicate with them by phone we talk to each other, we talk on Skype and we see each other or we just email. Usually I speak with my family in three languages Punjabi, Polish and English." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"I use English to communicate with my family but I sometimes practice my French by sending French letters to my family." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"I speak in Pashto and in English. I speak Pashto with my parents/grandparents and English with my friends." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
"At home, most of the time, we speak in Polish. Though that's what the usual routine is, sometimes we might have days when we attempt at speaking only english. With the rest of my family, I also communicate in Polish. At times, they ask me to 'show off' my English, which I don't really mind. Since they are back in Poland, we usually talk through Skype." (King Edward VII School & Language College, Sheffield)
4. Has the way that you use your language(s) changed as you have got older? If so, what do you think the reasons for this are?
"Yes, it has. Ever since I moved into this country I have found myself speaking in English more than my own native language; with my friends, sisters and sometimes with my own parents. I think this is due to the habit I have established in my school or talking with people is the shops for I am mostly speaking in English with them." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"yes! I think the way I speak my languge has changed as I got older because I am meeting new people at school and outside school and speaking two languages help meeting different kind of people!" (St Joseph’s Catholic College, South West)
"My English has improved and my accent changed, but I am forgetting the words of my Ilocano and Filipino language. My accent has changed because probably that when I came here their accent was different than mine so I changed my accent as I grew here in England to be kind of the same as my friends." (St Joseph’s Catholic College, South West)
"When I was about 4 years +, I spoke fluent Urdu/Punjabi, but when I started going to nursery I switched to English and stuck to that until about 9, when I went back to Pakistan and started to speak both English and Urdu/Punjabi mixed there and in the UK when I came back. I started to learn French when I started Secondary School, and a year later I started to learn a bit of German too." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
"Yes. I can now use a wider range of vocab and not just stay to the same words - this is because we are encouraged to use more interesting words in our work , so we start to use them for speaking too. Now that i have been doing French for a long time, I now have more confidence speaking it, so I can use it more." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
5. How do your language skills help to make you a better citizen/global citizen?
"It makes me less prejudiced. I can understand how other people think and feel." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"Your language skills help you to become a better citizen/global citizen because if someone from another country moved to your town and you new their language you could help them by teaching them English or translating stuff other people are saying." (Bridlington school sports collage, East Yorkshire)
"My language skills help me to understand people with different nationalities, therefore able to respect their beliefs and be a better citizen." (St Joseph’s Catholic College, South West)
"It shows that you care about other peoples cultures from around the world, because your taking time to learn their language. It also means you can talk to people from around the world and learn about their cultures." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
"I think it's more respectful if you make an effort to learn just a little when you go on holiday instead of completely depending on the other people to know your language. Like if you go to France learning to say hello or to ask how much is this would help a lot." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
"The language skills help you communicate with people from different communities." (Sheffield Star Mandarin school)
"It helps me understand what other people are talking about rather than having completely no clue when people talk in language I do not know and it makes me feel rather neglected or sometimes lonely." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
6. If you were famous (e.g. politician, pop star, film star etc.) how would you use your language(s) to influence others/make the world a better place?
"I would use to influence people to stop racism and make those people understand that we are the same." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"I would try to encourage people to learn languages in more fun ways and encourage schools to teach languages from year 1 so at secondary school they can learn complex languages rather than starting form base 1." (Churchfields Secondary School, South West, Swindon)
"If you were a pop star, you could speak a different language in a part of your song and if you were a role model to people they might think "oh that's cool", or you could speak about it in interviews and say it’s helped a lot." (Bridlington school sports collage, East Yorkshire)
"I would also use it to promote unity and acceptance over prejudice and racism." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)
"I would talk in my different languages and maybe influence others to learn a new language. If I was a politician it would be easier to gain respect and communicate to people in other countries about issues and use it to make the world a more peaceful place." (The Nottingham Bluecoat School)