Grants to Canada Nonprofits to Promote Education in
Canada’s Minority Languages

Attention! Canadian grants offered to nonprofits to promote education in minority languages!  If you work with a nonprofit, or know of one, applications are due by October 30, 2015.

Grants to Canada nonprofits for programs and projects that support minority language education for Canada’s two minority language communities. Eligible projects and programs serve more than one province or territory and have an impact on all or a si…

GrantWatch ID#: 160837

Teaching linguistic and cultural diversity as a resource

In order to best meet children’s educational needs, it is important to see the linguistic and cultural values that learners bring to the classroom as resources rather than deficits. All children learn through their own lens which is constructed from their home language and culture. Teaching in light of children’s understanding of the world around and their linguistic knowledge will help these children succeed better both in school and in wider society. Children will develop better English when their home languages are valued in the classroom. Here is a short, informative article on valuing linguistic and cultural diversity in the classroom: 

Call for Manuscripts for an Edited Book

Diversifying the Teaching Force in Transnational Contexts: Critical Perspectives
Clea Schmidt and Jens Schneider, Editors

Sense Publishers
Anticipated publication date: late 2015/early 2016

A book in the Transnational Migration and Education series (Shibao Guo and Yan Guo, Series Editors): migration-and-education-/

Diversifying the teaching force has become a priority, or, at least, a point of serious debate, in many migrant-receiving jurisdictions worldwide with the growing mismatch between the increased diversities of cultures, languages, and religions of students and families and the still mostly strong dominance of white, middle-class, non-immigrant, and non-ethnic minority background of teachers. Arguments for diversification tend to be couched in terms of disproportionate representation and students from minority backgrounds needing positive role models, yet a growing body of scholarship identifies other compelling reasons for diversification, including the fact that teachers of migrant and ethnic minority backgrounds often possess outstanding qualifications when multilingualism and internationally obtained education and experience are taken into account, and the fact that all students, including majority-background students, benefit from a diversity of role models in schools. Nevertheless, the process of diversification is fraught with complexity. Depending on the context, systemic discrimination, an oversupply of teachers in the profession generally, and outdated hiring policies and practices can all impede efforts to diversify the teaching force.

Click here for more information.


Canada Seeks Immigrants Who Fit Better

Ottawa Screens Applicants for English, French Fluency and “Adaptability”


September 4, 2013

TORONTO—As American lawmakers debate how to revamp U.S. immigration policy, Canada has embarked on a major immigration overhaul of its own aimed at choosing newcomers who are a better fit for its economy and society.

The impact of Canada’s reforms will be watched in Washington, where elements similar to the Canadian approach toward screening applications have found their way into the immigration plan that passed the U.S. Senate in June.

This August, Canada began to accept its first immigrants under part of an overhaul that puts greater emphasis on factors such as an applicant’s job skills and fluency in English or French.

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A major objective: Fix what the Canadian government sees as a growing economic chasm between locals and many of the immigrants that Canada’s old applicant-screening system selected—a chasm it worries could spark the sort of immigration-related social tension that has flared in other developed countries.

Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than any of the Group of Seven most-advanced economies. The country, which has officially embraced multiculturalism for decades, won mostly praise for how it selects newcomers, particularly through a points system that tries to evaluate an applicant’s ability to thrive economically.

But since the 1970s, pay among new arrivals has increasingly fallen further behind pay of locals. And some Canadians question whether immigrants are integrating well enough into Canadian society.

“I don’t think we can take for granted our relative success in integration,” Jason Kenney, Canada’s immigration minister until July, who oversaw the reforms, said in a March interview. Now minister of employment and social development and minister of multiculturalism, Mr. Kenney through a spokeswoman confirmed his earlier comments but referred further questions to his former department.

The August newcomers were the first under measures that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government deployed in May aimed at attracting immigrants with certain trade skills. The measures also included the revamped points system at the center of the wide-ranging series of changes the government has enacted or pushed through Parliament since mid-2010.

Canada’s new points system places greater emphasis on an immigrant’s fluency in the nation’s two official languages. It weighs how closely applicants’ qualifications match Canadian credentials, whether they have employment arranged in Canada and, in the case of the August arrivals, if they have specific skills in demand, such as plumbing. The system also gauges so-called adaptability: factors such as time spent previously in Canada.

Critics have accused Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party of tilting policy back to benefit European nationalities such as the British and French, whose immigrants once predominated. “There is a strong feeling that this is about keeping people from Pakistan, the Philippines, from India, away,” said Jinny Sims, an Indian-born lawmaker with Canada’s opposition New Democratic Party.

A spokesman for Mr. Harper referred questions to the immigration ministry, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. A spokeswoman for the current immigration minister, Chris Alexander, said he wasn’t immediately available for comment. “Regardless of their country of origin,” she said, “we want to ensure that new Canadians contribute to Canada’s economic success.”

U.S. policy makers have drawn lessons from Canada’s experience. The architects behind the immigration bill drawn up by the White House and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators studied the points systems of countries such as Canada, the U.K. and Australia, said people familiar with the bill’s creation. The bill passed the Senate in June, but the GOP-controlled House has yet to vote on its own slew of immigration bills.

Current and former Canadian government officials were consulted during the bill’s creation, these people said. The Senate plan differs in important ways from Canada’s approach, placing less emphasis on English fluency, for instance. But the U.S. plan follows Canada’s basic model of grading applicants on their ability to fit into the economy and society.

“Much like the Canadian system does in Canada, our points system very carefully weighs the need to make sure Americans get first crack at available jobs but if none take them, allows American companies to find the people they need,” New York Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat who helped write the bill, said in an email.

The authors also learned from aspects of the Canadian points system meant to encourage greater social integration, said Enrique Gonzalez, an immigration lawyer and former adviser to Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on the reforms. “Assimilation was a measure we picked up reviewing reforms going on to the Canadian and the Australian point systems,” he said.

Canadians for decades have largely embraced waves of immigrants. More than 20% of Canadian residents were foreign-born in 2011, compared with 13% in the U.S. In 2012, Canada allowed 275,887 new permanent residents, about 0.79% of the population; the U.S. granted just over one million green cards, about 0.32% of the population.

But the government now says the old applicant-screening system placed less emphasis on language skills and youth, which research shows help immigrants to compete, and gave points for job qualifications even where they were unlikely to be sought by Canadian employers.

In the 1970s, new immigrants earned 85% to 90% of what the Canadian-born did. That had fallen to between 60% and 70% by 2006, according to a study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, a nonpartisan Montreal think tank.

One reason, said Arthur Sweetman, an economics professor at McMaster University of Hamilton, Ontario, and an author of the study, is that a bigger proportion of immigrants are those from the developing world, whose generally poorer English and French, coupled with education and training that is often incompatible with job descriptions in Canada, make competing with locals harder.

Europeans accounted for 78% of immigration into Canada before the 1970s, while Asians and Middle Easterners made up 8.5%, according to government statistics. From 2006 to 2011, Asians and Middle Easterners were 57% of arrivals; Europeans made up 14%.

“There is a fear that as immigrants fall behind, social cohesion will deteriorate,” Mr. Sweetman said.

South and Southeast Asians are falling behind fastest. In 2012, for example, 13% of Pakistanis aged 15 and over were unemployed in Canada, against 9% of the wider Canadian population and 4.5% unemployment for Britons in Canada.

By some measures, public opinion also appears to have tilted away from Canada’s traditional open-armed multiculturalism.

Canadians went through a round of soul-searching last year after the high-profile convictions of three Afghan family members who murdered four other members they deemed too Westernized. In a December survey, 70% of respondents said too many immigrants aren’t adopting Canadian values, up from 58% in 2005, according to Environics Institute, a Toronto research group.

“We are reproducing ghettos of immigrants and migrant workers and diluting Canada’s traditional values to accommodate immigrants who will not integrate,” said Salim Mansur, a University of Western Ontario political-science professor and immigrant from India.

In addition to stressing language fluency, the government has bolstered its social-integration efforts. In April, it doubled the size of its guide to aspiring Canadian citizens, which now emphasizes Canada’s historic ties, such as to the British monarchy.

The new guide says Canada won’t tolerate “barbaric cultural practices” such as “honor killings,” forced marriage and “other gender-based violence.” The government in December 2012 banned face-covering garments such as the burqa when immigrants take a citizenship oath.

Mr. Kenney, the former immigration minister, said the government worries about “deepening ethnic enclaves” and that Canada’s immigration overhaul is taking a “hardheaded approach” to the multiculturalism that has been a hallmark of Canadian policy.

—Annabel Symington in Islamabad and Laura Meckler in Washington, D.C., contributed to this article.

Full online article.

Harper aims to increase diversity among employees

August 28, 2013

Harper College President Ken Ender remembers being struck by the revelatory conversations of discontent and disenfranchisement he had last year with leaders of a mentoring project for minority employees.

He and the board had recently established key indicators known as Institutional Effectiveness Measures to determine the community college’s quality and performance. Targets were established for seven of those indicators, but officials at the Palatine school struggled to reach consensus on measuring the eighth: employee diversity.

Ender sought input wherever he could.

“I heard a lot of raw emotion around perception on the lack of inclusion if you’re from a historically not represented group,” Ender said. “These were people I knew and had a relationship with, and I was sort of amazed that because of our own relationship, they had never said anything to me.

“I thought, ‘There’s got to be something to this.'”

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One year and one thorough report later, several initiatives are being launched that officials hope move Harper to a place where it’s recognized as an institution that truly values diversity among employees.

“Our goal is to be sure our workforce and student body reflect the demographics of our district,” Harper spokesman Phil Burdick said.

Among the most notable is a new leadership position to help oversee the entire effort. Beginning in January, Michele Robinson, the current dean of business and social science, will serve as special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion.

The position will be filled by a tenured faculty member on a rotating basis, so Robinson will be free to return to teaching or go for another administrative role after a certain period of time.

“Keeping some fresh energy in that role will be important,” Ender said.

Harper also is developing a teaching fellowship program to recruit Master’s degree recipients who are Hispanic, African American or from other underrepresented groups. Fellows will work with a senior faculty member, observe classes, teach and take part in professional development.

Fellows likely would be at Harper for two years. If a faculty position opens up, they’ll be encouraged to apply or given a recommendation as they seek a job elsewhere.

Ender is working specifically with a couple of universities to develop the program but declined to say which ones until the partnerships are finalized. He hopes the first fellows will start next fall.

Harper currently lacks an adequate pipeline of underrepresented candidates. Diversity in the classroom is vital, Ender said, because it adds to the strength of the institution and the student experience.

“We believe diversity among students in race, ethnicity, culture and preferences is important to help them think and debate and dream,” Ender said. “We need to have that among our faculty and staff too.”

Harper’s initiatives are largely the result of a 12-person task force made up of faculty and staff that Ender assembled to determine how to make matters of diversity and inclusion among employees an institutional priority.

In addition to surveys, a cultural values assessment and an examination of best practices and human resources data, the task force submitted a report to Ender with a set of recommendations over the next five years.

According to the report, the college did make some progress between 2002 and 2012. Diversity among employees rose from 14.4 percent of full-time workers to 20.1 percent, including a 3.5 percent hike in faculty. Within administrative ranks, however, the number fell from a total of eight to six employees.

The task force also described the situation as a “revolving door,” with resignation rates for diverse employees disproportionately higher than overall rates in all but two years. The report noted that the percentages of diverse employees in most employee groups lagged behind demographics of the district’s residents.

In 2010, for example, Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 15.2 percent of Harper’s district but 9.2 percent of Harper’s workforce. Asian/Pacific Islanders comprised 12.1 percent of the district but only 6.4 percent of Harper workers. Those disparities were even more marked at the executive level.

Ender said Harper will form employee support groups for various underrepresented groups similar to those for students. The board of trustees noted that 34 percent of credit students are diverse, compared to 30 percent of district residents.

Other initiatives include implementing an internal marketing and communications plan, issuing diversity “score cards” at the department level and hiring a firm to conduct exit interviews to determine whether feelings of exclusiveness played a role in an employee resigning.

Full online article.

Macomb’s melting pot … 92 languages, diverse foreign-born populations

By Chad Selweski; @cbsnewsman

Holden Elementary School in Sterling Heights displays in its lobby dozens of flags that represent all the countries of its diverse student body. From left to right are teacher Bill Piscopink; Adnan Kepes holds the flag of Bosnia; Merna Naeem and Rita Arfro are from Iraq; and Laila Muthanna and Kirollos Ibrahim are from Egypt. The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON

For decades, gritty, blue-collar Macomb County featured a substantial ethnic population but it has now become a melting pot where families from dozens of countries, many of them led by white-collar breadwinners, have settled in.

Almost 100 languages are now spoken across the county and in some residential areas the concentration of immigrants approaches 50 percent of the population.

Cities and townships that were once dominated by three ethnic groups — Germans, Italians and Poles — are now home to families who emigrated from Iraq, India, Albania, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Mexico, the Philippines, Serbia, Croatia, Ukraine, Laos and Thailand.

“There’s this tremendous diversity, a rich diversity, in the immigrant groups of Macomb County and much of the entire region. We don’t have just Latinos or one group that dominates,” said Kurt Metzger, director of the Data Driven Detroit research firm.

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According to a new report produced by DDD and another group that studies Detroit area demographics, Global Detroit, much of Macomb’s foreign-born population has established residency along the Mound/Dequindre corridor in Warren and Sterling Heights. These ethnic clusters also spill over into Shelby Township, Troy and Madison Heights.

Macomb’s melting pot, its ethnic stew, features the largest Albanian population of any county in America. Yet the Albanians and other prominent ethnic groups are largely “invisible” because they are dispersed, according to the Global Detroit/DDD study.

Macomb County has no Chinatown or Mexicantown.

Susan Katulla of Sterling Heights, a Chaldean who came to the United States as an infant, said that the Mound/Dequindre corridor became a settlement location for immigrants and refugees almost by chance. The early Chaldeans — about 400 families in 1987 — were attracted by the jobs and low cost of living in Macomb County.

Many more followed, including refugees fleeing the Gulf War and Iraq War. The most recent estimates indicate 70,000 Chaldeans and other Iraqi Christians live in Macomb County, with 25,000 to 30,000 located in Sterling Heights alone.

“There are businesses in that area that cater to ethnic communities, selling favorite foods, vegetables, spices,” said Katulla, vice chair of the Sterling Heights Ethnic Community Committee. “The people like to have family close to them. They want a place to shop that’s close to them. They want a church that’s close to them.”

Churches are ‘magnets’
For most of the immigrant enclaves, the church is the anchor of the community, the main draw for those seeking a place to live.

The Macedonian and Serbian communities built towering, ornate churches in Sterling Heights. The Sikh community last year constructed a temple, a gurdwara, nearby. The Assyrians, another sect of Iraqi Christians, established a church on Ryan Road in Warren. Filipinos were attracted to that same corridor by the number of Catholic churches, including some with priests that are first-generation immigrants from the Philippines, according to Betsy Henry, president of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce, located in Rochester Hills.

Another big draw is a Filipino cultural and activities center in Southfield and the huge annual picnic at Warren’s Halmich Park in June to celebrate Kalyaan, Independence Day for the Philippines. The event attracts 3,000 to 5,000 Filipinos of all generations.

“Filipinos are very fun-loving, gregarious people. They love to dance and sing,” Henry said.

Many of the recent arrivals to the United States entered on work visas. They are college-educated immigrants who were sponsored under a 3- to 5-year agreement with an employer. A large number have gone into the health care field as nurses or physical therapists.

Steve Tobocman, director of Global Detroit, said that robust immigration strengthens the local economy and creates more jobs, as highly skilled professionals and entrepreneurs make the Detroit area home. The immigration reforms pending in Congress would add to that momentum, he believes.

“People may tend to think of Macomb County as not as diverse as Wayne County or Oakland County, but some of the most concentrated populations of foreign-born immigrants are in Macomb,” said Tobocman, a former state House member who represented southwest Detroit.

Immigrant profile
The Global Detroit/DDD report depicts a flattering picture of the Detroit-area immigrant populace:

* 40 percent of the immigrant population has a bachelor’s or graduate-level college degree, significantly above the educational attainment of local residents who were born in the U.S.

* Two-thirds of foreign-born immigrants own their homes, and 52 percent have become naturalized citizens.

* The average income for this first-generation immigrant group is $61,000 for males and $41,000 for females.

* Foreign-born residents have a higher rate of employment — 90 percent vs. 84 percent for American-born workers — and only 7 percent work in the public sector.

* Immigrants have a much higher percentage of workers in four categories — management, business, science and the arts — than naturalized citizens.

* The foreign-born are much more likely to be married than American-born residents, and half as likely to be divorced.

In Macomb County, six sections — U.S. Census tracts — within the Sterling Heights Mound/Dequindre corridor feature foreign-born populations of 35 percent to 42 percent.

In the surrounding neighborhoods of Sterling Heights, Warren and Shelby Township, several census tracts are highlighted by foreign-born populations above 20 percent.

The assimilation of these newcomers from a vast array of nations falls on the school districts, nonprofit groups associated with particular ethnicities, and organizations such as Global Detroit. Assistance with finding housing, a job and dealing with “culture shock” are offered by numerous groups.

The Mount Clemens-based Interfaith Center for Racial Justice in 2007 launched a rotating, 5-week program of workshops called “Listen, Learn and Live” that teach residents about other cultures and religions. That effort, according to ICRJ Director the Rev. Michail Curro, expanded into week-long summer day camps run by two churches in south Warren for a diverse group of immigrant kids.

At the public schools, the biggest challenge is integrating kids into the American system of education and getting them into an English as a Second Language class.

92 languages
Immigrants in Macomb County schools speak at least 92 languages at home, according to Judy Pritchett, chief academic officer for the Macomb Intermediate School District. Of the approximately 10,000 K-12 students attending sessions known as English Language Learners classes, the vast majority are enrolled in the Warren Consolidated and Utica school districts.

Katulla, the lone Chaldean member of the Warren Consolidated school board, said her district provides interpreters via a two-way phone system to help immigrant parents communicate with teachers.

But the chasm some kids face in becoming functional in American society goes beyond language skills.

“Many of these kids have gaps in their education due to the trauma of war or persecution or family separations,” Katulla said. “We can have an eighth-grader who last went to school in the second grade.”

Parents also receive assistance with English language classes but Katulla said that at the Chaldean Community Foundation, where she works, sad stories abound. She offered the example of an immigrant pharmacist who was working a menial, 12-hours-a-day job and has no time to attend English-learning sessions so he can secure a job in his field.

“Many of these people have so much talent, but they speak no English,” she said.

While Macomb County may not have a Chaldeantown or an Indiantown, it once came close to establishing a Ukrainiantown.

In the 1960s, at a time when just a few big ethnic contingents were concentrated within the county populace, immigrants from Ukraine began migrating north from Hamtramck and surrounding Detroit neighborhoods to Warren, specifically the area at 11 Mile and Ryan.

The construction of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Church was the “magnet” that sparked the exodus, according to Ukrainian community leaders. What followed was a Ukrainian housing complex, two Ukrainian credit unions where the tellers spoke the native language, and the Ukrainian Cultural Center, which features a large banquet room and has hosted former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

About a mile away, near 12 Mile and Dequindre, the remnants of the Ukrainians who had worshipped at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hamtramck established a K-12 Immaculate Conception school within a shuttered public school building. The high school eventually closed but the elementary school lives on. Over time, several Ukrainian sports clubs for kids have also been formed.

Andrey Duzyj, former president of the Ukrainian Cultural Center, said many of the older Macomb County Ukrainians have died off or moved on. But the downfall of the Soviet Union in 1991 sparked a second exodus of immigrants from Ukraine, the former “Captive Nation,” to America in search of economic opportunity.

“They call themselves the ‘new wave’ — and that’s fine,” Duzyj said. “We just want to keep our heritage alive.”

Click here for full article online.

TISS Mumbai to celebrate linguistic diversity in India

Centre for Indian Languages in Higher Education is organizing The Indian Languages Mela in Mumbai to celebrate the linguistic diversity of daily experience and show how cognitive capacities are tied to that diversity.

It will do so by undertaking research training, incubating research projects, supporting the production of new curricular materials, and providing opportunities to make the teaching-learning experience more diverse.

The programme for the Mela includes a two-part seminar – Interrogating Pedagogic Practice, and Interrogating Translation Practice; an exhibition showcasing Indian-language scripts, visual and sound artefacts, and new digital interfaces; and cultural events involving theatre and music. The theme languages of this year will be Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi, although other languages will be brought in wherever relevant.

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As part of the Mela, the CILHE is calling all TISS students (Guwahati, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Tuljapur campuses) to send in entries for two competitions:

a. A two- or three-minute audio recording made on any digital device of your choice – the recording could be in a railway station, a bazaar, a street corner, a cafeteria or any other everyday location. Capture an interaction between two or more persons speaking in different languages about any topic. Prepare a poster interpreting what happens in your audio recording. Do remember to add an English translation of the interaction in your recording. Students are encouraged to use free editing software available for both Windows and Linux platforms. Posters can be in English or in any of the three theme languages. Group submissions are encouraged. Submissions over email are accepted.

b. Creation of a new article on any Indian language Wikipedia (preference will be given this time to Marathi, Hindi and Gujarati entries, but other languages will also be considered). Training workshops on editing Wikipedia will be held at each TISS campus during August 2013. Send us details of your Wikipedia entries and mention your Wikipedia UserName in your email.

Click here for online article.

Dallas Schools Reopen Intake Center For State’s Largest Foreign Language Population

Kera News for North Texas

August 21, 2013

Dallas claims more English language learners than any school district in Texas. Despite that, state funding cuts forced the district to close its “intake center” for immigrant families two years ago. But just in time for the new school year, which starts Monday, the center has reopened.

It’s a busy afternoon in the Herrera Intake Center, an air- conditioned, portable building behind the old brick Bonham Elementary School.  Supervisor Amanda Clymer says 20 students with their families are expected in today, 30 tomorrow, from Bhutan, Thailand, and Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar).

“This is for new-to-the-country immigrants,” she says. “First we welcome them to DISD. We do registration of the students. We also do language-proficiency testing,”

Clymer says kids also leave with free school supplies, while parents gather literacy,  health and vaccine information, school lunch applications and more, from the center  a couple miles northeast of downtown Dallas.

“We expect to intake between 1,500 and 1,800 new immigrants into DISD,” she says. “About 80 languages are spoken in the district, and we serve students from over 100 different countries.”

Interpreters are available, and most immigrants come from Mexico. But not Saroz Kafley and his 9-year-old son, Ayush.

“We are from Bhutan, and we stayed for 20 years to Nepal, and from Nepal here, here at the U.S.,” Saroz says. His son chimes in: “My favorite  subject is math. I want to be a scientist.”

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The Kafleys are refugees being helped by the International Rescue Committee. Senior caseworker Daley Ryan says his organization has helped many citizens originally from Bhutan, but with ethnic Nepalese origins. For that reason, Bhutan kicked them out years ago.

“And most of them went to Nepal, and Nepal opened up camps,” Ryan says. “And these people have been living there. They’re without documentation, they’re without citizenship, they’re just living in the camps, some their whole lives. The child you talked to was born in a camp.”

That child, Ayush, is now getting ready for 4th grade. DISD intake specialist April May brings out a gift for the budding scientist, who also likes guitar. It’s a backpack stocked with supplies that the center hands out to its students.

Saroz Kafley came to Dallas because his brother was already here, living in a growing Bhutanese community. He works for Grapevine-based GameStop, and is happy to live life outside of a refugee camp. Today’s intake center visit was a top priority because of Kafley’s emphasis on education.

“It is very important,” he says. “It makes the future.”

DISD will keep the Intake Center open throughout the year to help parents navigate their way around the district and counsel them on other needs that inevitably arise for new students and new immigrants.

Click here for online article.

Cognitive diversity: Teaching kids everything we can

By Kendal Rautzhan

August 23, 2013

If we only surround ourselves with things familiar, we won’t know much. If we only surround ourselves with things that make us happy, eventually that happiness will diminish because we will not know the opposite — hardship and sorrow. If we only surround ourselves with people, places and events we are comfortable with, we won’t know many people, and the diversity of our life experiences will be fairly nonexistent.

In a word, life will be dull.

Encourage kids to continuously try new things of every kind, to step outside the comfort zone to learn more, experience more and ultimately grow. This includes exposure to all kinds of wonderful books, such as these:

Book to borrow

“Yoko” written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells, Hyperion, 32 pages. Read aloud: age 3-7. Read yourself: age 8.

Yoko goes to school with lots of boys and girls. One day at lunch time, all the children make fun of Yoko’s lunch. They are eating their favorite foods — egg salad, peanut butter and honey, franks and beans. But when they see what Yoko is eating — her favorite, sushi — they tease her, making Yoko quite upset.

“Ick! It’s green! It’s seaweed!” “Don’t tell me that’s raw fish!” “Watch out! It’s moving!” “Yuck-o-rama!”

Yoko’s teacher knows she has to do something to help Yoko and change the other children’s attitude, and her solution proves to be both clever and delicious.

Another book by master author/illustrator Rosemary Wells, this charming little gem carries an important message about tolerance and broadening one’s horizons.

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Librarian’s Choice

Clymer Library, 115 Firehouse Road, Pocono Pines

Choices this week: “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss; “The Night Before Kindergarten” by Natasha Wing; “Goodnight Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann

 Books to Buy

“The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas” by David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, Candlewick, 2013, 244 pages, $15.99 hardcover. Read aloud: age 9 and older. Read yourself: age 10-11 and older.

Young Stanley Potts had a bit of a rough start. His parents had passed away, but Stan had come to love his Auntie Annie and his Uncle Ernie, with whom he lived. One day, however, Uncle Ernie went totally bonkers, canning fish in their house. He set up a factory and had Stan helping him almost 24/7. The day Ernie went too far with it all, Stan knew what he had to do — he left.

Stan soon took a job with a traveling carnival, first as a helper to Dostoyevsky and his plastic floating “Hook-a-Duck” stall, then as the “next in line” to legendary Pancho Pirelli — the man who swam with piranhas. Stan trained hard, yet what he needed most was to believe in himself.

“Every Day After” by Laura Golden, Delacorte Press/Random House, 2013, 224 pages, $15.99 hardcover. Read aloud: age 8 and older. Read yourself: age 10-11 and older.

Eleven-year-old Lizzie has a great life — loving and supportive parents who believe in Lizzie’s worth and strength, a terrific best friend, and top grades in school. When the Great Depression strikes, Lizzie’s world quickly starts to unravel — her father loses his job and abandons the family, and her mama is so depressed about her husband leaving she can’t take care of herself, nor Lizzie, the house, and paying the mortgage.

Lizzie is determined to keep everything afloat, but she finds that more difficult to do than she bargained for. With the nasty new girl, Erin, determined to see Lizzie’s mom packed away in a mental institute and Lizzie in an orphanage, and the bank determined to foreclose, Lizzie realizes she must make her bravest move of all — ask for help.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children’s literature. She can be reached at

Click here for full article online.

Increasing Diversity in the Post-Fisher Era

July 10, 2013
By Richard A. Cherwitz

Recent data gathered by the Council of Graduate Schools and other educational organizations document the fact that, while progress has been made, African-Americans and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented among recipients of doctoral degrees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the two groups comprise over 33 percent of all U.S. citizens in the age range of Ph.D. candidates but only 14 percent of those earning doctorates.

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What is perhaps most disturbing about this data is the obvious implication: without more persons of color earning advanced degrees, there will remain an inadequate supply of underrepresented minority faculty, perpetuating a lack of diversity across college campuses. To say we are caught in a vicious cycle is a gross understatement.

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas (2013), which sent the case back to the lower court and mandated a burden of “strict scrutiny” be met in evaluating the use of race in admissions decisions, there may be cause for concern. Increasing diversity at institutions of higher education might prove more difficult; some argue, for example, that the insufficient production of minority doctoral degrees owes in part to the admission process and a lack of financial support. While these variables do indeed contribute to the problem, and thus could render efforts to increase diversity more challenging in a post-Fisher era, now more than ever, we must focus on an oft unspoken culprit, namely, the insubstantial minority applicant pool.

Consider The University of Texas at Austin (UT) — one of the nation’s largest graduate schools and leading producers of doctoral degrees. The applicant pool for programs in the arts and sciences is characterized by a small number of underrepresented minorities. Less than 10 percent of the 20,000-plus applicants to UT’s graduate school are Hispanic, African-American, or American Indian — and this is not significantly different at other major public research institutions.

While factoring race and ethnicity into the criteria considered for student admission and for awarding scholarships and fellowships no doubt makes a difference and, therefore, is a necessary practice, no profound increase in diversity will occur until significant progress is made in convincing talented minorities to pursue graduate study. Nationally, top-notch graduate institutions often play numbers games, competing with each other to redistribute an already undersized minority applicant population.

Why do talented minority students choose not to attend graduate school?

Many admit not giving serious thought to pursuing traditional graduate degrees, preferring instead to enter law, medicine or business, not only because of money and prestige, but also awareness of the societal impact of these pursuits. Underlying this preference is the fact that students from a minority community, or those who are the first in their family to attend college, may perceive withdrawal from the rough and tumble of everyday problems as dereliction. Minority and first-generation students may be very bright and capable of learning at the highest levels, yet feel the tug of social responsibility.

Ironically, graduate education need not be viewed as an insular enterprise devoid of social relevance. At UT “Intellectual Entrepreneurship” (IE) is an innovative vision and model of education that challenges students to be “citizen-scholars.” By engaging students in community projects where they discover and put knowledge to work, as well as requiring them to identify and adapt to audiences for whom their research matters, for 15 years IE has documented the enormous value to society of graduate study.

What does the IE philosophy of education have to do with increasing diversity? IE was devised in 1997 to increase the value of graduate education for all students. Yet we discovered in 2002-2003 that 20 percent of students enrolled in IE were underrepresented minorities, while this same group comprised only 9 percent of UT’s total graduate student population.

Minorities reported that, by rigorously exploring how to succeed, IE helped demystify graduate school. More importantly, students noted that IE provided one of the few opportunities to contemplate in a genuine entrepreneurial fashion how to utilize their intellectual capital to give back to the community — something motivating many minority students.

The spirit of intellectual entrepreneurship seems to resonate with and meet a felt need of minority and first-generation students, facilitating exploration and innovation. IE implores students to create for themselves a world of vast intellectual and practical possibilities, acquiring the resources needed to bring their visions to fruition. Put simply, IE changes the metaphor and model of education from one of “apprenticeship-certification-entitlement” to one of “discovery-ownership-accountability.”

The IE philosophy’s potential to increase diversity in graduate school is best documented by the “IE Pre-Graduate School Internship” begun in 2003-2004. This initiative pairs undergraduates with faculty supervisors and graduate student mentors. Interns work with their mentors and supervisors on research projects, observe graduate classes, shadow graduate student teaching and research assistants, participate in disciplinary activities and explore their futures. Rather than being outsiders looking in or passive targets of recruitment, IE interns function as “anthropologists,” immersing themselves in the day-to-day experiences and activities of graduate school and then interrogating the academic culture in which someday they may reside.

Besides providing useful tools to undergraduates already certain about graduate study and who are committed to a specific academic discipline, the approach taken by most outreach and professional development programs, the Pre-Graduate School Internship is an exercise in entrepreneurial learning: it affords opportunities for students to discover their passions, the value of academic disciplines and the culture of graduate study — something that is not a staple of the undergraduate experience.

Each year, about 70 percent of IE Pre Graduate School interns are underrepresented minorities, first-generation or economically disadvantaged students; approximately 35 percent are Hispanic or African-American. Of the spring 2013 undergraduate IE cohort of 180 students, one third are Hispanic, compared to a university-wide percentage of 18. Similarly, although only 4.5 percent of University of Texas students are African-American, 16 percent of IE students this spring are from an African-American background.

Interns report that, for the first time in their undergraduate career, a “space” existed to reflect upon the role education plays in meeting their goals. IE empowered them to view academic disciplines not as artificial containers in which students are housed, but as lenses through which to clarify their visions and as tools by which their goals might be realized.

Especially exciting is the fact that about 50 percent of IE Pre Graduate School interns pursue graduate study following completion of their baccalaureate degree. No wonder this initiative received an “Examples of Excelencia” Award as top program for graduate institutions in the United States. In the words of Stanford President John Hennessy, “UT’s Intellectual Entrepreneurship project (IE) is a leader nationally. It provides best practices in promoting diversity in the academy, especially in attracting students to the critical areas of science and technology.”

The value of IE as a mechanism for increasing diversity inheres in its capacity to allow students to become entrepreneurs — to discover otherwise unobserved connections between academe and personal and professional commitments. This potential owes to the fact that IE does not segregate intellectual, personal and professional development, as is the case on most college campuses today; intellectual, personal and professional development are linked parts of an entrepreneurial approach to learning.

IE’s potential to increase diversity in the post-Fisher era is not limited to graduate education. Based on a pilot project with local area middle and high school students, we have learned that IE has the capacity to expand the number of underrepresented minority students who attend college.

Going beyond traditional recruitment and affirmative action programs, IE empowers students to discover their passions and produce an entrepreneurial plan enabling them to construct a pathway to college. To increase diversity in a race-neutral era, we must expand the undergraduate applicant pool, and one way to do that is to enable students to see the connections between their professional aspirations and education — something at the core of IE’s approach to education in the past 15 years.

From IE we have learned that to increase diversity, the applicant pool must be expanded; education must be made transparent and relevant. Moreover, entrepreneurial education and experiences must be available for students at all levels, enabling them to discover how education brings their visions to fruition. Entrepreneurial learning begins with students’ curiosities and goals driving their lives, challenging them to own and be accountable for their educational choices and intellectual development.

Richard A. Cherwitz is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies (and in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing) at the University of Texas at Austin and the founder and director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium (IE) in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity & Community Engagement (DDCE).

Click here to read the article online. 

 Greek immigrant teaches Canadian judge about multiculturalism

July 8, 2013
Posted by Douglas Todd

Simon Fraser University professor emeritus Tasos Kazepides wonders why many new immigrants today are holding on so tightly to the traditions, values and language of their old country.

The philosophy of education professor has a revealing story to tell about the subject; from the day he obtained his Canadian citizenship and shared a few sharp words with the presiding judge in the process.

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Kazepides’ story adds up to his response to the explosion of ethnic enclaves in Metro Vancouver and across Canada’s major cities. It’s also his reflection on such things as the expansion of Chinese-language signs in Richmond and Vancouver.

The prof is author of the recent book, Education as Dialogue: Its Prerequisites and Its Enemies

RELATED: Metro Vancouver: See which immigrant groups growing, shrinking (interactive)

Greeks, Dutch declining. Saudis, Chinese growing

Here is Prof. Kazepides’ story:

When I became a Canadian citizen in 1974 the judge who interviewed me told me that I should make sure to keep my traditions, language and values because in this country we have a policy of multiculturalism.

‘This is what I tell all our new immigrants,’ he said.

When I asked if there was anything else I should do, he replied negatively! I was surprised and said that I would like to say something after he had signed my citizenship papers. He hurried and signed them and then he asked me what was that I wanted to say.

‘Your honour,’ I said, ‘you really surprised me because you failed to tell me one very important thing that I and all other immigrants ought to do.’

Tasos Kazepides told the judge: ‘What you should be telling all new citizens of this province is that they should learn the English language, the laws and history of Canada well so that they can become intelligent and responsible members of this society.’ The judge got back to him a few months later.

‘What is it,’ he asked.

I didn’t want to say what I really felt, so I said:

‘Your honour it is none of your business what I or the other immigrants are going to do with our native language and our traditions. What you should be telling all new citizens of this province is that they should learn the English language, the laws and history of Canada well so that they can become intelligent and responsible members of this society.’

‘Well,’ he said, ‘don’t you know that in this country we have a department of multiculturalism?’

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘and it is all unclear, confused and misleading.’

Well, we agreed to disagree and that was the end, I thought…

A few months later, I was invited by the Hellenic Community of Vancouver to give a lecture on the occasion  of a Greek national holiday. There were many officials from the provincial and federal governments present.

I chose to speak on “The Values of Hellenism”, wanting to emphasize those aspects of Greek values that have universal value as opposed to the provincial traditions regarding language, customs and traditions that vary from society to society. The response was overwhelming and when I sat down next to Mike Harcourt he grabbed my notes and, to my surprise, said that my speech was the best he had heard about multiculturalism and he wanted to keep my notes.

What happened afterwards was a little miracle! I saw this little man, who looked vaguely familiar, approaching me with a smile on his face.

‘Do you remember me,’ he said, ‘I am judge ‘X’ and wanted to tell you how grateful I am that you spoke to me so frankly and openly during your interview with me, when you became a Canadian citizen; it made me think about multiculturalism seriously and now I follow your advice during all the interviews.’

Tasos Kazepides
Professor of Philosophy of Education, Emeritus
Simon Fraser University

Click here to read the story online.

New Teaching Standards May Threaten HBCU Education Programs

July 3, 2013
by B. Denise Hawkins

Nearly 40 years ago, Savannah State University (then Savannah State College) had a large, thriving, nationally accredited school of education until a state of Georgia desegregation order required a swap. Considered “duplicated programs,” the plan called for historically Black Savannah State to exchange teacher education for business administration at the traditionally White Armstrong Atlantic University (then Armstrong State College). That was in 1979.

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By next fall, Savannah State expects to have a new school of education up and running. For the past three years, Dr. Elazer J. Barnette, the person responsible for its launch, has been securing full-time faculty and readying students eager to enroll in the STEM-based teacher preparation program that will offer biology and math with a concentration in secondary education. Looking down the road, Barnette, associate vice president for academic affairs, sees his graduates being snatched up by public schools in Georgia and in demand by corporations in need of those who know science and who can teach.

But for now, says Barnette, ensuring that the school of education is ready in 2014 to meet the rigors of a new set of national standards for teacher preparation and accreditation is at the heart of his efforts.

Over time, as national teaching standards have crept higher, HBCU education programs “have consistently stepped up and met the mark, and this time shouldn’t be any different,” says Barnette, who has spent more than a decade on the Board of Examiners of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, one of the two national accrediting bodies for the field. But as a new accrediting agency churns out standards aimed at improving teacher training and student learning, Barnette and a group of HBCU education deans say they fear the potential consequences such efforts may ultimately have on the continued existence of their teacher preparation programs and even on their institutions.

The Washington, D.C.-based accrediting body, which has operated as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation since January, was formed in 2010, the result of a merger between the larger National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the much smaller Teacher Education Accreditation Council. For them, the time was right for change. Eyeing the “winds of reform” sweeping through the field of P-12 education, the accrediting bodies set out to do more than unite. In their literature, CAEP officials say they also plan “to show the value we add to the quality assurance, accountability, and the overall performance of the profession.”

Such an undertaking is “huge and complex and will mainly impact the practitioners,” says Dr. Tina Marshall-Bradley, a CAEP commissioner and a professor and associate vice president at Paine College, of the accreditation merger and standards overhaul.

By the time the accrediting body releases its final set of new standards in January 2014 for what graduating teachers should know and be able to do when they enter the classroom, CAEP officials suggest those programs seeking accreditation will have, for the first time, standards that are “leaner, more specific and more outcomes-based.”

This summer, CAEP’s board plans to approve its five proposed standards and sub-standards that include: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge (Standard 1); Clinical Partnerships and Practice (Standard 2); Candidate Quality, Recruitment and Selectivity (Standard 3); Program Impact (Standard 4); and Provider Quality, Continuous Improvement and Capacity (Standard 5). According to CAEP’s schedule, by 2016, new standards will be mandatory for schools and programs seeking their accreditation.

In the past few months, the impending changes to the standards have spurred a group of HBCU education deans and administrators into meetings with each other and with CAEP officials about how to respond while also buffering the mainstay program on their campuses. Together they represent educator preparation programs that graduate more than 50 percent of all Black public school teachers. As proposed, several of the CAEP standards, they say, could negatively “impact the delivery of their educator programs.”

While not in opposition to all of the standards, “our concerns are many,” says Stillman College President Ernest McNealey on behalf of the group of deans organized by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), an umbrella organization for HBCUs and predominantly Black institutions.

With a CAEP commission “heavily weighted with policy folks” and fewer practitioners, Marshall-Bradley suggests it may be the reason why HBCU deans feel some of the proposed standards don’t reflect the needs of their programs and what’s actually happening in the field.

“Based on historical data and if CAEP standards are fully implemented, this could be a likely scenario for HBCU teacher preparation programs,” explains McNealey, who also chairs the NAFEO board. “There will be fewer teachers with credentials from American colleges and universities; there will be an adverse impact on diversity in the teaching force, including gender, social class and race; and there will be a discriminatory stratification of institutions offering accredited teacher preparation programs based on historical advantages having little to do with preparing high-performing teachers.”

Diversity in teaching will still be at the center of standards, contends CAEP President James G. Cibulka. The teaching profession will focus on diverse, high-quality teachers. “We believe that the emphasis on quality and selectivity, coupled with an emphasis on intentional recruitment of a diverse teacher-candidate pool, will play a part in encouraging the best and brightest of all races and ethnicities to pursue careers in education.”

However, says McNealey, “The true test of a program’s quality is the strategies and measures in place that prepare an average candidate to be an outstanding teacher.”

Barnette says he was once one of those students. Soon, admissions standards for teacher training programs may be higher. CAEP will require cohorts of teacher candidates to have a collective 3.0 GPA and scores on national standardized assessments like the GRE, SAT and ACT in the top third. Barnette and others are asking CAEP: Where is the evidence?

“Do you have data to show that my 3.0 person will be a more effective teacher than my 2.5 [teacher]? Is this a research-based predictor based on a student’s ability to teach?” asks Barnette.

Standard 5.3: Quality and Strategic Evaluation is one of the proposed standards being questioned. It would hold preparation programs accountable when students default on loans or if its graduates aren’t hired or choose not to work in schools or elsewhere in the profession in which they trained. These are factors “beyond their control,” McNealey argues. Dr. Boyce C. Williams, senior vice president at NAFEO, agrees. Rolling issues of student loan defaults and graduation rates into the new standards will ultimately hurt HBCUs. The intended targets of the move, Williams suspects, are “the for-profit teacher training programs that won’t likely be the ones that suffer as a result of these changes.”

As a CAEP commissioner, Marshall-Bradley is in a position to influence the outcome of debates over national teacher education standards. But she makes it clear that her role there does not include being a voice for HBCU education programs.

Still, she believes HBCUs “have a lot to be concerned about” as the new standards are finalized. “I’m not sure that these are the standards that are going to ensure that we have teachers that cause all students to learn,” says Marshall-Bradley. “Our community is adversely impacted. It is our children who are not being educated properly, and they also represent the constituent group that we recruit into our colleges and universities.”

But the transition to CAEP, Marshall-Bradley adds, also signals opportunity for the HBCUs. Among them, “forging new and creative partnerships” with other traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs and stepping up their research on what makes a good teacher, something that is just as important as producing a good teacher.”

Click here for the online source.  

Minority Language at Home Parenting Technique

While there would be an infinite number of ways to raise bilingual children, the two that stand out to me are One Parent One Language and Minority Language at Home. The one covered here will be Minority Language at Home.

The minority language is the language that is not spoken in the community. For example, if a family lives in the United States and one of them is from Mexico, the minority language would be Spanish because English is spoken in the community. Therefore, one of the parenting techniques for bilingual children is to only speak the minority language in the house. This leaves plenty of time outside of the house for the children to be exposed to the majority language.

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Is this the best parenting technique to use?

The best technique to use depends heavily on each particular situation. In certain situations, One Parent One Language is the best technique to use. In others, it may be Minority Language at Home. A few important factors help make this decision:

  • Do both parents speak the minority language?
  • How much time does each parent have with the child?
  • What is the language mix? Are there two languages, three languages?
  • What is the community language?
  • The above questions are vital to answer before you decide on a strategy. If both parents don’t speak the minority language, it may be tough for a family to do Minority Language at Home. The family member who doesn’t speak the language well will always feel slightly left out in those situations. It also may be hard to struggle through a language while just wanting to talk to your children.
  • If one parent has a limited amount of time with the child that may be another indicator that may also indicate that perhaps Minority Language at Home is the correct path. If One Parent One Language is chosen, both parents need to give the child sufficient exposure to the language or it will be very difficult for the child to learn the language to a truly native like level.
minority language at homeMLAH Book

Minority Language at Home doesn’t work real well outside of the bilingual realm. If there are three languages involved it is pretty difficult to do Minority Language at Home. Theoretically one could divide up time between the two non-majority languages and speak those only at home, however from what I have studied on that those obligations seem to be fairly difficult to keep.

  • The fourth point, and one to think about, is in regards to the majority language. English is a fairly dominated language in the world and that seeps into raising bilingual children. A minority language of English is easier to maintain than that of basically any other language. Essentially two reasons exist for this:

1. English is a very important language in the world. If English is the minority language, that by default implies that a person isn’t living in an English-speaking country. Non-English speaking countries, or the vast majority, have English language at a younger age than our foreign languages in the United States.

2. The language of Hollywood, music, business, and trade is English. It’s everywhere. Kids in other countries learn English just by watching movies that are subtitled in their language. It’s easy to find materials, it’s perceived as important for the children, and it’s used as a sort of status symbol in some other countries.

Many additional things still need to be considered when deciding to do Minority Language at Home. What do you do when guests come over? Do you switch to the majority language or translate everything for your kids? What about relatives? What if you go on vacation somewhere and are there for a week, is it then “Minority Language at Hotel?”

These questions will need to be worked out; which brings me to my first point. An infinite number of possibilities exists when looking at raising children bilingually. The most important thing is to find one that works with the family structure and that the family can follow consistently.

Whether Minority Language at Home or One Parent One Language, some combination of the two or something completely different is employed, the most effective way to raise bilingual children is to be consistent! There are several great books on the subject… a few of which I personally recommend on the homepage. Get out there and get LivingBilingual!

Jeffrey Nelson via  


Kosovan broadcaster launches minority language channel

Kosovo’s public service broadcaster, RTK, which was set up by the EBU, launched a predominantly Serbian second channel this week to serve Kosovo’s largest minorities.

The Serbian community in Kosovo can now watch programmes in their own language on what’s called RTK 2, although the channel will also air Bosnian, Turkish and Roma programmes.

Congratulating RTK at the new channel’s official launch, EBU Media Director Annika Nyberg-Frankenhaeuser said public service media was based on “values that are essential for a democratic and well functioning society”.

“At the core of PSM values is independence, a well functioning PSM organization is a tool for democracy in a country and plays a vital role for the cohesion of society,” she said.

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“You are now, by establishing this TV channel, reinforcing PSM values, values like diversity and universality. You are also greatly improving the possibility for all people in Kosovo to be informed about social, political and cultural developments. And you are sending a powerful signal of tolerance and respect to all groups in society.”

RTK 2’s 50-strong staff includes a strong contingent of journalists, editors, camera operators, film editors and other professionals.

The population of Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008, is 90% ethnic Albanian, while Serbs represent the largest minority. Albanian and Serbian are the official languages.

Although the EBU established RTK in 1999 under an international mandate, the broadcaster cannot be a full EBU Member until the International Telecommunications Union recognizes Kosovo as an independent country.

However, RTK benefits from a comprehensive service agreement with the EBU and is a beneficiary of an EU-financed EBU action plan now being rolled out by the EBU’s Partnership Programme.

The plan, part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the EBU and European Union in July 2012, is designed to strengthen the public service media of EU accession countries, including Kosovo.

The Partnership Programme will finance an appraisal by France’s National Audiovisual Institute later this year of RTK’s imperilled analogue archive. And it negotiated RTK participation in a conference organized by the South East Europe Digi.TV project in Budapest in April this year. 


Learning, Teaching and Diversity

Published on Jun 24, 2013

Learning, Teaching and Diversity, a talk by Peabody professor Rich Milner.


There are enough jobs so both Canadians and immigrants can be employed

Immigration to Canada is very common and is the main reason why Canada is so distinct in terms of multiculturalism. Every year, at least 200,000 people immigrate to Canada. After all, why wouldn’t they?

Canada provides several new opportunities such as excellent working conditions, a high standard of living, and a health care system that is ranked one of the best in the world.

Nevertheless, not all immigrants are allowed into Canada and their foreign qualifications are not all recognized. To prevent immigrants from immigrating to Canada, the government in the past has made a few immigration policies which have changed the way the government conceives against immigrants.

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An example of such an immigration policy is the Immigration Act of 1919, which gave the federal government the authority to exclude specific ethnic groups from immigrating to Canada.

The government will not recognize foreign qualifications if the immigrant has no language skills in either English or French.

An easy solution to this problem is teaching the immigrant either of the languages.

This will not only benefit the immigrant but also benefit Canada’s economy.

Many Canadians are not employed and are not aiding in improving Canada’s economy, so what will be lost if immigrants want to immigrate to earn a living? It only aids Canada’s economy.

There are enough jobs in Canada so that both Canadian citizens and immigrants can be employed without any interference with one another.

Not allowing in more immigrants and recognizing their foreign qualifications has been a problem not just recently but ever since the early 20th century.

Click here to read article online 

Club helps older Korean immigrants find their political voice

Members of the Korean Resource Center group have become a familiar sight at rallies and candidate forums, where they make their opinions known. It’s a far cry from how most of them start out in the U.S.

Kang Nam Lee sometimes hobnobs with California politicians, even though she isn’t fluent in English.

Through an interpreter, the 80-year-old Korean immigrant has also spoken to large audiences about her pet issues: school funding and better healthcare for senior citizens.

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Lee is a member of a club at Los Angeles’ Korean Resource Center that encourages political activism among elderly immigrants. When she first came to the United States in 2005 to join her daughter, she felt isolated. Through the club, she has overcome the language and cultural barriers that kept her from interacting with non-Koreans.

“In the beginning, when I just came to America, I was afraid to communicate with people,” Lee, a retired teacher, said in Korean. “Since I’ve become involved, I’ve learned about the issues. I want to participate more and make a better society for children and for other seniors.”

The Korean Resource Center contingent has become a familiar sight at rallies and candidate forums, with staff members acting as interpreters. The senior citizens have shaken hands with state representatives, addressed television cameras outside Gov. Jerry Brown‘s office and demonstrated for immigration reform in Sacramento. They have staffed phone banks and knocked on doors, urging fellow Korean Americans to vote for measures such as Proposition 30, which gave more money to public schools.

Most club members were born during the Japanese occupation of Korea and lived through years of post-World War II authoritarian rule. They saw South Korea grow into a democracy. When they came to the U.S., often to join grown children after retirement, they found the simplest things difficult.

When an official-looking letter arrives, Hee Pok Kim asks her son to translate or brings it to the Korean Resource Center.

“When I meet politicians, I tell them to translate English letters to other languages,” said Kim, 91.

The club, called Community Health Promoters, or Kabori in Korean, was founded in 2006 and has about 25 regular members. Language access and affordable housing for seniors are two of the club’s main concerns. With the help of bilingual staffers, the senior citizens have become increasingly assertive.

“Many seniors, because of their background, they were all shy and timid. If the reporter held out the mike, they’d back away,” said Jongran Kim, a Korean Resource Center organizer.

Now, Kim said, “they are feeling bad if they don’t speak up.”

Kabori may be the only local program that focuses on political engagement for elderly Asian immigrants, whose voices are not often part of the public debate. According to census data, Los Angeles County is home to more than 200,000 people of Korean ancestry.

“Just the power of them speaking about their own experiences is really important and effective, so that policymakers understand from the senior citizens’ firsthand experience what they go through and what changes are needed,” said Betty Hung, policy director at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Recently, half a dozen club members arrived at Kevin de León’s Echo Park office to meet with the state senator, who represents part of Koreatown.

Grace Yi, 73, hugged De León like an old friend. They had seen each other at an event the week before.

“I’m so happy to see you,” Yi said in English.

De León responded with a Korean greeting — “Anyong haseyo” — and handed out business cards printed in Korean.

Seated around a conference table, each senior citizen took a turn speaking to De León.

Thomas Lin described his quest to find senior housing. Since moving to Los Angeles from Sacramento two years ago, he and his wife have been living with their children. They camped overnight at one apartment complex just to get an application.

“If you have a chance to see these kinds of struggles, it’s good for you to see what community members go through,” Lin, 69, said through an interpreter.

Ki Tae Lee, 76, also spoke about housing. He lives in Torrance and wants to move to Koreatown, where he does most of his shopping and volunteers at the Korean Resource Center. But the wait for a subsidized senior apartment is longer than five years, Lee said.

De León said he was pleased to host the group because he does not often hear from Korean senior citizens.

“If your sons and daughters were here to witness you speaking, they would be very proud of you that you feel empowered enough to advocate for what you believe is right,” De León told the group. “Even though you’re Korean, you’re like all of our mothers.”

By Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times
June 3, 2013

Click here to read online article. 

Rising diversity in Sioux Falls puts strain on ELL education

Except for Huron, there is no more diverse public school district in all of South Dakota than Sioux Falls.

At last count in October, officials here reported that 29.5 percent of the district’s roughly 22,000 students were minorities.

In Huron, where 41 percent of all its students are children of color, the majority are Karen refugees from Myanmar, or Hispanics. But refugee, immigrant and racial groups in Sioux Falls represent 51 different languages from across the globe that are spoken in homes here.

“Our (minority) numbers have been increasing slightly every year for the last 10 or 11 years,” said Ann Smith, federal programs and library coordinator for the district. “I know that we have roughly 50 (full-time equivalent) positions that are identified for English Language Learner instruction, and their caseloads are going up faster than our other teachers.”

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In the past year, Hispanics, blacks, Asians and multiracial students all saw their numbers grow in Sioux Falls, while there were fewer whites and Native Americans. As a percentage of total enrollment, there are twice as many students of color in the district now than there were a decade ago.

Teaching those students English so they learn in the classroom is a big enough challenge, Smith said. But turning understanding of the language into the ability to successfully advance from grade level to grade level can be equally daunting.

A 9-year-old who moves from Thailand or South Sudan and never has had any formal education still ends up in a classroom with other children his or her same age. You can’t put 16-year-olds in with 6-year-olds, Smith said.

“In the elementary grades, if a kid comes in as a 10-year-old, they would be expected to be performing as other 10-year-olds do,” she said. “That’s one of our assumptions in the American education system. There would be questions asked if we were automatically putting them in much lower grades. That’s one of the challenges. … how do you know where to place them when they don’t speak the language?”

In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 1,995 students in English Language Learner programs in Sioux Falls, up 183 from a year earlier.

Those in the younger grades tend to do better, Smith said. Much of the learning early on is foundational, “and the younger kids are like sponges,” she said. “They do catch on and catch up.”

A refugee who comes in as a 14-year-old, with little previous schooling, faces greater hurdles. The system assumes they’ve already had eight years of formal education, even though that might not be true.

“Nationally, there are statistics that show drop-out rates for ELL students are higher,” Smith said. “We have not done anything specifically within the district to check our numbers. But you also have to step back and look at what dropping out means. We have students who come in at 16 and learn at amazing rates. They are perfectly willing to stay in school, but free public education ends at 21.”

Like all school districts across the state who work with ELL students, Sioux Falls caught a break during the past legislative session when lawmakers decided to contribute more money to the education of those children.

Districts will assess their ELL students on language proficiency each February on a scale of 0 to 6. For every student who scores below 4.0 on the assessment, the district will receive an additional 25 percent in state support on top of the regular funding formula.

For Sioux Falls, that means an additional $1.8 million to $1.9 million, Smith said. So this coming school year, Sioux Falls will have $2.2 million in state and district money to use for ELL instruction, and another $1.7 million in federal assistance.

“We won’t be adding additional ELL services with that money,” Smith said. “This roughly pays back what we’ve been putting into the program out of our general fund dollars.

“The thing that is important to understand is, we’ve built a strong ELL program that we’ve struggled to pay for for many years. This is first-time money coming from the state. It’s money we’ve needed for a long, long time.”

Written by Steve Young
Full online article.

EU minority languages: in danger

Taking the official definition of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages into account, there are approximately 60 regional or minority languages (RML), also referred to as lesser used languages (LUL) in Europe. Some have official status locally. They are spoken by over 46 million people. Apart from Iceland, minority languages are spoken in all European countries. Examples include Sami in the North, Sorbian in the east, Sardinian in the South and Basque in the West. But there are many more, like the German-speaking minorities widely spread around Europe. UNESCO monitors endangered languages around the world and lists over 90 European languages that are “definitely, severely or critically endangered” in its Atlas of Endangered Languages.

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Speakers of many smaller, less dominant languages may stop using their heritage language and begin using another. For LULs communities, languages are linked to tradition; important for cultural identity and an essential part of a community’s heritage. The intangible heritage of all of human society is diminished when a language disappears. François Alfonsi presented a draft report on Endangered languages and linguistic diversity in the EU to the Culture and Education Committee in April 2013 (Procedure file: 2013/2007(INI)).

EU language policies aim to protect linguistic diversity, which is enshrined in Article 22 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights( “The Union respects cultural, religious and linguistic diversity”), and in Article 3 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) (“It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.”).

Measures adopted by the EU for the preservation and promotion of regional and minority languages include:

  • financial support to the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages , an independent NGO which promotes and disseminates information about regional and minority languages, and Mercator, a documentation and information network of universities active in research on lesser-used languages in Europe;
  • project funding for practical initiatives for the promotion and preservation of regional and minority languages.

Click here to read the full article online 

Kindergarten with Culture

These Inuit kids are getting a kindergarten cultural experience like no other in Southern Canada. View this fascinating video to see what’s happening to incorporate culture in the classroom.

Canada’s ethnic newspapers: retelling a changing immigrant story

As some older, more established community press fold, others try to reinvent themselves to survive in the niche but competitive ethnic market.

Immigration from Italy to Canada was at its peak in 1954 when the late Dan Iannuzzi founded Corriere Canadese, an Italian-language newspaper, in Toronto.

Almost all of the Italian migrants — more than 60,000 a year — then arrived in Canada as labourers, with little English or education. The community paper was their link to their new and old homes in the pre-Internet world.

“They had no voice. They were viewed as people who acted funny and talked funny with their hands,” said Lori Abittan, president and CEO of Multimedia Nova Corporation, the public company that now owns the paper.

“Corriere Canadese helped them integrate into the Canadian society and created the links for them with the rest of Canada.”

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While Canada has been experiencing an explosion of multicultural and multilingual media outlets — with about 3,000 alone by one estimate — their booms and glooms go in cycles with the fluctuating immigration inflows from their respective communities.

These days, things are not good for the long-time publications among the older, established immigrant communities from Europe, as immigration flow from the old world on the continent has slowed to a trickle.

The latest government statistics from 2011 showed immigration from Poland hit a new low at 657; Italy, 572; Portugal, 506; Netherlands, 629; and Greece, 163. They were outnumbered by the 35,000 coming from the Philippines, 28,700 from China and 25,000 from India — communities currently with the most robust ethnic media industry.

On May 4, Corriere Canadese published its last print edition and suspended its operations after 59 years in business, which followed an earlier announcement by the Canadian Jewish News to stop printing in June after 53 years.

Thomas Saras, president of the National Ethnic Press and Media council of Canada, said ethnic publications face the same challenges mainstream newspapers do: declining print readership, dwindling advertising revenues and competition from online social media.

Since its inception in 1987, the council has seen its membership grow from 6 publications to 650, but the sector’s exponential growth belies a highly fragmented and competitive market with a high turnover rate.

“For some of the older established immigrant papers, the older generations are dying and the younger ones can’t read the language or they just don’t give a damn,” said Saras, publisher of the Patrides North American Review, a monthly Greek community publication. “The readership doesn’t really exist anymore.”

Ryerson University journalism professor April Lindgren, who specializes in local news coverage and ethnic media, said most community press covers both Canadian community news and contents from their country of origin, while others don’t do their own reporting but rather aggregate content from other websites, incurring little overhead costs.

With the convenience of the Internet, many immigrants do not have to just rely on Canada’s ethnic press for information to find out what’s happening back home, said Lindgren. In the meantime, ethnic newspapers can’t compete with mainstream media for coverage of Canadian local news.

“Homeland news cannot be a staple anymore and local content is expensive and difficult to generate,” Lindgren explained. “I think the real strength for these community media to survive is their role in explaining GTA and Canada to the people newly arrived here through localized stories.”

Stories, for example, that feature their own community members about, say, the importance of cleaning the snow on the sidewalks are not just relaying practical information — they help readers more easily learn about their new culture.

Canada’s immigration system has changed dramatically since the earlier waves of Europeans arriving here in the middle of the last century. Today, Canadian immigration policy is geared toward attracting highly educated, skilled immigrants with a good command of Canada’s official languages.

Yet, Corriere Canadese’s Abittan said recent newcomers are still drawn to the multicultural press because they do not see their stories truly reflected in Canada’s mainstream.

“We all tend to gravitate to things familiar to us. It is an emotional thing. It is a gap that the mainstream media cannot fill,” said Abittan, who has been with her paper for 25 years.

Corriere Canadese was expanding fast in the mid-1990s after the Italian government began funding Italian-language publications in countries where there’s a strong presence of people of Italian descent. Italians abroad are eligible to vote in Italy and the government wants them to stay connected.

However, hurt by both the international and domestic economic turmoil in the last few years, the Italian government has reduced and delayed the $3 million Corriere Canadese has been getting annually, thrusting the paper into its current financial crisis.

(Multimedia Nova Corp., which owned Corriere Canadese, has reduced its staff from more than a 100 down to 25. Before it stopped printing on May 4, the 48-page paper had lost a quarter of its readers in the last year alone after it reduced its publication to five days a week.)

Many multicultural publications, including Corriere Canadese, have moved online but, like their mainstream counterparts, still haven’t been able to figure out a way to generate revenues through their Internet editions.

Others such as the Gazeta, an established Polish Canadian weekly, have begun to include an English section to cultivate a following among second-generation immigrant readers, who cannot read their ancestors’ mother language.

Over the last decade, Shahrvand, one of about 10 Iranian newspapers in Canada, has benefitted from the steady intake of about 6,500 Iranian immigrants to Canada a year.

With 20,000 print copies distributed a week, Shahrvand carries contents in both Farsi and English to capture both Iranian and non-Iranian readers.

Its website now attracts more than 10,000 views each day from around the world and has been extending its reach through its own Facebook page and Twitter and by carrying more local and multimedia content.

“We are growing, but every few months, we also see a new Iranian publication in the market. It drives down advertising prices,” said Sima Zerehi, whose parents, Hassan and Nasrin, started the paper in Toronto 22 years ago.

The challenge for all newspapers, mainstream or not, she said, is figuring out how to reinvent themselves to draw in the changing readership, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations.

But like others, Zerehi believes ethnic press is here to stay as long as Canada continues to be an immigrant country.

“We love to see our community covered in the Star or on CBC. It’s nice to be seen, heard and acknowledged,” said Zerehi. “But we also need the space for dialogues within our own community.”

By Nicholas Keung  Click here for online story.

 Experts Say Getting More Teachers of Color in Classrooms a Necessity

When a group of education researchers, practitioners and activists gathered at Howard University in April to address the lack of diversity in the nation’s teacher workforce, Dr. Leslie T. Fenwick reminded her audience that such a time had already been foreshadowed.

Nearly 60 years ago, Thurgood Marshall first “warned that Black teachers would lose their jobs to racist displacement as the nation’s schools were integrated,” said Fenwick, dean of the Howard University School of Education. Marshall, in 1955, was serving at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund when he reported on the impending plight of these teachers. The year before, Marshall had argued and won the landmark desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education that opened up classrooms and education to Black children.

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The elimination of Black teachers from the classroom would not only be an economic loss for those educators, but a disservice to their students and a detriment for the teaching profession, says Fenwick, further sharing Marshall’s troubling words during a town hall event hosted by Howard’s School of Education, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and the American Federation of Teachers.

Today, Marshall’s sobering observations have proved true, say experts pointing to the academic and social benefits that come when African-American and Hispanic students attend schools where racial and gender diversity of teachers and staff is high. But that doesn’t reflect the makeup of most urban public schools when “73 percent of teachers are White and 68 percent of principals are White,” Fenwick adds.

Black and other minority children are being taught in deeply racially isolated schools and are more likely to spend their entire K-12 education in public schools without ever seeing or having a teacher of color. In fact, Fenwick says, “This is the most populous generation of African-American children who have never been taught by an African-American teacher or who have never attended a school led by an African-American principal.”

But Amy Wilkins, the College Board’s new civil rights fellow, pointed out at a town hall forum on teacher diversity that “we have our own mess to clean up” as Black educators.

“Some of the most hurtful things that have been said about Black children have come out of the mouths of Black teachers,” says Wilkins to applause. Just because a Black teacher is in the classroom for Black children, Wilkins adds, there is no guarantee that a positive learning experience is taking place or a role model is there.

What’s needed, says Wilkins, the former Education Trust executive, “are teachers who respect our children and who can be ruthlessly demanding” when it comes to expecting the best academically from Black and minority children, as they do from White students.

And as practitioners and schools of education, urged AFT President Randi Weingarten, “We need to do more to ensure teachers better represent the students they teach. This includes thinking differently about recruitment and retention and about how we as a country view teaching.”

HBCUs, which produce 50 percent of the nation’s Black educators, have been doing just that, says Dr. Chance Lewis, who “is tired of the familiar refrain, ‘We can’t find any good Black teacher recruits.’”

They are out there, and the process begins on college campuses, maintains Lewis, the Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Full Professor of Urban Education in the College of Education at the University of North Carolina at

When Dr. Ivory Toldson surveys the education workforce, he finds that “teaching is the No. 1 profession among Black men with master’s degrees,” but there are less than 2 percent of them in the classroom. Improving their college-going and completion rates makes boosting the professional teaching pipeline that much more complicated, but it can be done, says Toldson, a Howard University professor and senior research fellow with the Congressional Black Caucus. The expected retirement of more than 1 million teachers in the coming years offers a great opportunity for racial and gender diversity in the profession, experts say.

For Black male teachers, though, their journey shouldn’t end in the classroom, Toldson suggests. They have too much to offer.

“It would be a disservice to the profession if they aren’t also used to improve diversity,” or tapped to help educate those concerned about best practices for teaching young Black males, or if they aren’t allowed to provide other quality services that can benefit all students regardless of race or gender.

By B. Denise Hawkins     Click here to read article online.

Video pushes businesses to hire Francophone immigrants

A new video sponsored by the federal government encourages P.E.I. businesses to hire immigrant workers.

The video is part of a larger project aimed at helping newcomers, particularly those whose first language is French, become integrated with Island society.

Christian Gallant, with P.E.I.’s French-language economic development agency, says immigrant workers have plenty to offer local businesses.

“Definitely knowledge is one of the things because I mean in different countries you know they have ways of doing things. It’s to help build that knowledge base of ‘there’s other ways of doing things,’” said Gallant.

Gallant said a new French-language Immigrant Connector Program will also be launched through the Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce to help newcomers become entrepreneurs on P.E.I.

Online article.

 Welsh should not become official EU language, says MEP

Welsh Tory MEP Kay Swinburne argues steps taken to protect Welsh over the last 20 years should be used to help other minority European languages

Making Welsh an official EU language would waste millions of pounds a year, according to Welsh Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne.

Instead, she argues, the steps taken over the last 20 years to ensure Welsh survives should be used as a model to protect other minority languages across Europe.

Last week Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans declared that Welsh should become an official language of the EU.

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She said: “We won semi-official status for the Welsh language in Europe in 2008. That was a welcome step and has done a great deal to raise the profile of Wales and our language and culture. But I see it as a step towards achieving real equality, which means full official status.

“Welsh is an official language in Wales and it should have the same status in Europe. This is about equality for all people in the EU. This is the Year of the Citizens and the debate on the future shape of the EU has started in earnest. For me, making all of our languages equal in status is essential to ensuring that people feel that Europe is relevant to them. It is about democracy and justice and I will make this one of the central issues in the European Parliament election campaign next year.”

But Dr Swinburne, a fluent Welsh speaker who was brought up at Llandysul, Ceredigion, said: “Making Welsh a fully official language in the EU would not advance its cause in the slightest. It would, however, entail huge translation costs within European institutions.

“At the Parliament, Welsh translators would have to be employed on shifts at a cost of millions of pounds – largely for the benefit of Jill and me.”

Dr Swinburne said the semi-official status of Welsh already enabled citizens to write to the EU and get a response in the language.

“I’ve spoken Welsh at the European Parliament – all you have to do is give a bit of notice and they’ll arrange for a translation.”

The Tory MEP has recently been the “shadow rapporteur” [lead spokesperson for her parliamentary group] scrutinising an EU report on how to safeguard endangered European languages. The report, written by Corsican MEP François Alfonsi, says urgent action should be taken to ensure such languages do not die out.

It says: “All languages, including those which are endangered, reflect historical, social, cultural and ecological knowledge and skills that form part of the richness of the European Union. Just like biodiversity in nature, the diversity of European languages and cultures is part of the living heritage that is vital for the sustainable development of our societies, and they should therefore be safeguarded and protected against any risks of extinction,”

Dr Swinburne said: “I support wholeheartedly the move to safeguard endangered languages. Languages are not simply a means of communication, but a vital part of culture.

“I believe the way Welsh has been protected over the last 20 years provides very good lessons to other countries about how to safeguard their minority languages.

“Giving Welsh official status within Wales has been very important. It’s a process that began under a Conservative Government with the Welsh Language Act, which obliged public bodies to have Welsh language policies. Having governments formally committed to protecting a language is vital, and I believe Welsh has greater respect now as a result than it had when I was growing up.”

Dr Swinburne said some other European countries had been far less sympathetic to their minority languages: “France has been strongly criticised for its attitude to Breton and the other minority languages spoken within its borders.

“The growth of Welsh medium education has been very good for the Welsh language. I know the recent Census results showing a slight drop in the number of Welsh speakers in Wales was worrying, but I suspect it was more to do with Welsh speakers moving out of the country for work.

“I would like to see the safeguarding of the Welsh language recognised as an exemplar across Europe.”

By Martin Shipton   Click here to read article on-line and responses to the article


Opinion: CRTC should pressure Videotron to establish an English-language community channel

MONTREAL – Upon accepting their Grammy award in 2011, the members of Montreal’s Arcade Fire got on the podium and told the world, “Merci Montréal.” It was a unifying moment for this city. Since then, however, we have seen the return of linguistic divisions, and Montreal continues to be a challenging market for anglophone artists.

Rebuilding harmony and improving opportunities for anglophone artists could be achieved by establishing an English-language community television channel — something like the French-language MATV (known as Vox until November 2012) that is carried by Vidéotron.

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The English Language Arts Network is right to say that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission should pressure Vidéotron to establish such a channel as a condition of its upcoming licence renewal. If the CRTC fails to do so, it will be committing an injustice against the anglophone minority in Quebec, essentially depriving it of a public space for expression — a space that it deserves.

According to ELAN, the English-language artistic community in Quebec is composed of more than 8,000 people. And the CRTC itself estimates that more than a million Montrealers (including people whose mother tongue is English and those for whom it is not) have a knowledge of English. This “anglophone” community is not too small to merit a community channel. While anglophones are a minority in Montreal, and English is a minority language, both are nonetheless a vital part of our vibrant arts scene.

Canada’s Official Languages Act requires the provinces to respect certain constitutional guarantees with respect to minority-language rights. But the CRTC’s Official Languages Discussion Group has determined that “the Broadcasting Act (takes) precedence over” the Official Languages Act.

Quebecor, the corporation that owns Vidéotron, argues that an English-language television channel is an unnecessary service and expense for such a small community.

Meanwhile, federal Heritage Minister James Moore has just renewed his 2013-18 roadmap in support of linguistic duality, maintaining his government’s engagement in support for the arts and culture in Canada’s francophone community. There are efforts to encourage a minimum of 15-per-cent French-language content as a licensing condition for public and private broadcasters outside Quebec. But there is little pressure being put on Quebec broadcasters to do the same for the anglophone minority here. This is a double standard.

As we have seen with the debate over Bill 14, the issue of language in this province as it relates to rights, access, culture and identity is contentious. But we should be doing more to preserve and promote minority languages.

The CRTC could help by insisting on the creation of an English-language community channel as a condition of Vidéotron’s licence renewal. It is a move that would do a lot to promote the vitality and raise the profile of English-language arts in Quebec.

As Arcade Fire showed in 2011, art can play a unifying role across different languages and cultures.

McGill University communications-studies students Jennifer D’Alimonte, Nicole Coon and Julie Aubin contributed to this commentary.

By Rebecca Borkowsky  © Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette The full on-line article.


Tighter language requirements will help immigrants and Canada

It’s hard to learn a new language. An internal 2012 Immigration Canada report has revealed a rising proportion of immigrants, more than 600,000, work in Canada in a language other than English and French. And most of them, 60 per cent, say they cannot carry on a conversation in either of Canada’s official languages.

Stories regarding language barriers have become common in Canada.

The newcomer struggling to speak English who, as a result, has grave trouble trying to get a job.

The person who can’t communicate with medical staff during an emergency, making her dire situation more dangerous.

The classes filled with English-as-a-second language students; leading to concerns that teachers aren’t giving much attention to students who need to focus on other things.

The breakdowns in communication during condominium council meetings that have been called to discuss urgent costly repairs, sometimes leading to chaos and suspicion.

Such reports, whether they come from neighbours, health officials, school boards or others, illustrate how the difficulties of communicating across different languages can make it harder to build a sense of security and trust.

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The Canadian government is taking heed of such stories. And it’s slowly following the lead of some European and other nations in addressing the language minefield.

Jason Kenney, minister of immigration, has been gradually increasing language-proficiency requirements for some immigrants. The changes will have a far-reaching impact.

But, first, what are Canada’s language facts?

The 2011 census discovered more than one in five Canadians, almost seven million people, speak a language other than English or French at home. The most common languages, in order, are Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish and Tagalog.

In Metro Vancouver, the proportion of residents who don’t speak English or French at home rises to one out of three.

It has been difficult for researchers to access data on the portion of residents who cannot speak French or English, a problem acute among immigrant seniors, stay-at-homes and those functioning outside the wage system.

But an internal 2012 Immigration Canada report, obtained under Access to Information legislation, has revealed what is going on in workplaces.

The report shows a rising proportion of immigrants, more than 600,000, work in Canada in a language other than English and French.

And most of them, 60 per cent, say they cannot carry on a conversation in either of Canada’s official languages.

RELATED: Five trends in Canadian immigration

Trans-Atlantic poll shows Canadians have much to learn about immigration

Hong Kong Chinese leaving Vancouver ‘by the thousands’

Vancouver planner Andy Yan fights to prevent a ‘zombie’ city

Farid Rohani creates forum for frank multicultural debate

The Immigration Canada report said newcomers who cannot work in English or French struggle with lower-than-average incomes and reside in ethnic enclaves, which keeps them in a language silo and economic rut.

One study suggested wages for those who can’t speak English or French are one-third lower than for other Canadians.

In light of such language-driven economic difficulties, as well as those related to health, education and communication among neighbours, it is no surprise that most government-financed immigration-support groups, such as S.U.C.C.E.S.S., strongly urge newcomers to show discipline in the difficult task of learning a new language.

Kenney, for his part, has responded by gradually ratcheting up language requirements for some economic classes of immigrants. But Kenney is not alone among the world’s immigration ministers.

Many of the relatively few countries in the world that accept new immigrants – such as Britain, the Netherlands and Australia – have stricter language requirements than Canada for newcomers.

Three years ago, Britain – announcing an intention to reduce its annual intake of immigrants by more than half, to roughly 100,000 per year – went further than Canada in regard to so-called “family reunification” immigrants.

Britain began demanding that even immigrants who arrive to marry or join spouses will have to meet language-proficiency tests.

“Britain decided that love does not override the language requirement,” said Vancouver lawyer Richard Kurland, a veteran observer of immigration trends who advises the federal government and major corporations.

“And Canada definitely has what Britain is doing on its own radar.”

Any suggestions that tougher language restrictions are “anti-immigrant” or “racist” are easily debunked these days, Kurland said.

Governments everywhere, he said, set minimum-language thresholds for immigrants “to benefit their own country, which is the object of the system.”

In the Netherlands, for instance, politicians approved new laws that demand immigrants from non-European countries be tested before arriving – and after – for their ability with the Dutch language. Failure to meet minimum Dutch-language requirements can lead to deportation.

Meanwhile, Australia began as far back as the 1990s to tighten up its English-language demands. Its policy changes, according to studies, have led to improved economic and social outcomes for more new arrivals to Australia.

vasn 20130427 final d5 126581 i001 Tighter language requirements will help immigrants and Canada

With Canada slowly tightening its language requirements, will its next wave of immigrants follow the Australian pattern? Will Canada bring in fewer immigrants from China, South Korea and other parts of Asia? The answer is more complicated than you would think.

With Canada slowly tightening its language requirements, will its next wave of immigrants follow the Australian pattern?

Will Canada, for instance, bring in fewer immigrants from China, South Korea and other parts of Asia?

University of Waterloo professor Mikal Skuterud and his Australian co-author, Andrew Clarke, tried to figure out exactly why the average Australian immigrant now does financially better than the average Canadian immigrant.

As they began their research, the two scholars expected to discover that immigrants to Australia from China and India would do better financially because they were required to first speak English.

But the researchers discovered Australia’s carefully pre-screened Chinese and Indian immigrants do no better than immigrants admitted under Canada’s less-demanding system.

Instead, Clarke and Skuterud found, Australia’s reformed immigration policy led to a shift in the ethnic composition of Australian immigrants.

Growth in immigration from Asia tailed off somewhat. And Australia began getting more immigrants from countries where English is predominant.

For instance, Australia began to receive almost 20 per cent of its immigrants from Britain. (In Canada, less than five per cent of recent arrivals are from Britain.)

Clarke and Skuterud said immigrants from Britain were more rapidly assimilated into the Australian culture and local labour markets, quickly achieving earnings similar to native-born Australians.

With Canada slowly tightening its language requirements, will its next wave of immigrants follow the Australian pattern?

Will Canada, for instance, bring in fewer immigrants from China, South Korea and other parts of Asia?

Will we gather more from countries where English (or French) is either predominant or commonplace – such as Britain, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S., Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Kenya?

Kurland, who publishes an immigration newsletter called Lexus, says Canada will definitely start approving more newcomers who are already adept in English or French.

Foreigners who struggle with new languages will give up applying to come here. And citizenship, he said, will more likely be given to people who first arrive as foreign students, who can then prove they know one of Canada’s official languages.

But, unlike what happened in Australia, Kurland’s not convinced Canada’s language-proficiency changes will actually lead to a wholesale decline in immigrants from our top three source nations: China, India and the Philippines.

Canada’s more demanding language-proficiency requirements mainly apply to about 70,000 of the roughly 260,000 accepted each year, he said. They are mostly the newcomers in the economic and skills categories.

For now, those arriving in the family-reunification class are largely exempt.

And given that China and India each have more than one billion people, and the Philippines has almost 100 million, Kurland said those countries will have no trouble turning out 70,000 prospective immigrants a year who know English or French.

Not only will newcomers who speak English or French do better financially in Canada, Kurland said, they will be far less likely to isolate themselves in ethnic enclaves, a trend more exaggerated in Metro Vancouver than anywhere else in Canada.

“The evidence can no longer be ignored,” Kurland concluded. “Language is critical.”

Posted by Douglas Todd.   Click here to access online article.  


Diverse teachers will boost schools

At a meeting last month, the Metropolitan Nashville Public School board considered new data on the makeup of our city’s teaching force. In doing so, they considered effectiveness, impact and a much less-talked-about finding — the contrast between the diversity of the students in classrooms and that of the teachers who lead them.

With so much richness in our student body, including nearly 150 languages spoken, increasing the diversity of our teaching force marks a critical need on which Nashville’s educational future depends.

This article is no longer available.


New papers available on-line here:

Equality duties and equality challenges  – formal response to the government’s review of the public sector equality duty

‘But aunt, she’s so very ignorant’ –teaching and learning history, current conversations and disputes

‘Pass it on, boys and girls, pass it on’ – politics, education and race since 1981, a spoof history of what didn’t happen

Investigating Islamophobia – a quiz and other papers for a university seminar

Social Justice Club Survey

You are invited to share your thoughts and experiences related to participating in or facilitating religious, cultural or social justice clubs. The DiT community invite you to participate in taking our survey:
Club member survey link.
Teacher survey link.


Google Apps for Education

Ontario Summit
Eastwood Collegiate Institute
April 20 & 21, 2013

Interested in finding out about inquiry based learning framework, internet learning, utilizing those devices your learners bring to school? You might be surprised! Come and find out at this informative workshop.


Vizualizing Filipino-Canadian Families in Transition

A Photo Exhibit and Community Discussion
March 13, 2013
University of Ottawa
4:30-8:00 pm Photography Exhibit
6:00-7:30 pm Presentations, Discussion & Reception

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This public event will showcase the life experiences of a former live-in caregiver and a group
of Filipino youth living in Canada, separated from family due to the Live-in Caregiver Program
(LCP). Through photographs and descriptions, the participants illuminate their lives as
temporary foreign workers and as members of their transnational families.

Everyone is invited to view the photos, to hear from researchers and community members, and
to engage in a discussion of the issues facing transnational Filipino families and LCP workers.

Online invitation

Languages spoken in the world

The Ethnologue is a rich resource of the world’s languages, development, endangerment/vitality and statistics. Currently linguists catalogue 7,105 different languages in the world. Language, culture and identity are all components of our diverse world. How much do you know about the languages of your country? Find out which ones are spoken in Canada, or any other country. Have a look…

Protection of minority languages is a human rights obligation, UN expert says

12 March 2013 – Half of the world’s estimated 6,000-plus languages will likely die out by the end of the century without urgent efforts to protect minority communities and their languages, a United Nations independent expert said today, noting also that minority languages have often been a source of tension for governments whose obligation it is to protect them.

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“Language is a central element and expression of identity and of key importance in the preservation of group identity,” the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, said as she presented her latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

“Language is particularly important to linguistic minority communities seeking to maintain their distinct group and cultural identity, sometimes under conditions of marginalization, exclusion and discrimination.”

She added that language can be a source of tension since proponents of linguistic rights have sometimes been associated with secessionist movements or have been seen as a threat to the integrity or unity of a State, which has “aggressively promoted a single national language as a means of reinforcing sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.”

Ms. Izsák, noted, however, that protection of linguistic minority rights is a human rights obligation and an essential component of good governance, efforts to prevent tensions and conflict, and the construction of equal and politically and socially stable societies.

In February, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) urged the use of books and textbooks in local languages to support education in mother tongues. UNESCO said translation into and promotion of local languages supports linguistic and cultural diversity and serves as the foundation for all social, economic and cultural life.

In her report, Ms. Izsák cites the need for education in minority languages, as well as their use in public life, media, public administration and judicial fields, among others.

According to the expert, historical factors such as colonialism have had a huge global impact on languages, resulting in the marginalization of and a rapid decline in the use of indigenous and minority languages, which were often seen as backwards, a barrier to colonial hegemony, or as slowing national development.

“It can also be argued that today globalization, the growth of the Internet and web-based information is having a direct and detrimental impact on minority languages and linguistic diversity, as global communications and marketplaces require global understanding,” said Ms. Izsák.

Independent experts are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

Click here to access online article. 


EU called to support minority languages

09 March 2013The Language Rich Europe (LRE) consortium has called the European Union (EU) and its member states to improve language policies, ensure economic competitiveness and build more inclusive societies.

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In particular, the group said that European institutions and member state governments should initiate new policies to support immigrant language teaching.

The consortium considers that the rise of English and a growing mix of immigrant languages have redrawn Europe’s linguistic map in recent decades. For this reason and in order to develop more inclusive societies, the EU was urged to explicitly recognise immigrant languages at European level.

In addition, revision of trilingual learning and use of the particular position of English to promote and support multilingualism were also appealed by the group.

The LRE call is an outcome of the organisation’s closing conference in Brussels on 5 March. It comes days before the European capital hosts its first International Language Days on 8 and 9 March.

Click here for EU minority language policy.
Online source  


Fort Valley State University hosts diversity conference

Published: March 7, 2013

FORT VALLEY — In an African village, a small community center is named for Cynthia Dillard, a University of Georgia professor, who has volunteered so tirelessly that the community has dubbed her “Queen Mother.”

Dillard shared the lessons she learned while working in Ghana — and throughout her career in education — with future teachers Thursday during the fourth annual Student Diversity Conference at Fort Valley State University.

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Each year, Fort Valley State and Georgia College & State University partner to host the conference, which gives future teachers tips for dealing with a growing, diverse population of students.

“We know that our classrooms are changing demographically,” said Sherry Crocker, a professor in the College of Education at Fort Valley State. The conference will “provide them with the tools necessary to help those students in the classroom.”

About 300 students participated in roundtable discussions, workshops, poster presentations and scavenger hunts to get a taste of the different cultures, ideas and languages they will encounter in the classroom.

When trying to connect with students, teachers first need to evaluate themselves and connect to their own cultures, Dillard said.

After volunteering in Africa, Dillard realized that forming a bond with diverse populations meant understanding who she was as an individual.

“What is my purpose as a person?” she said. “The hardest part of this journey is to answer these questions because they’re clearly not answered yet.”

It’s important for teachers to learn about their own nature, be vulnerable and be open to listening to others. She suggested that future teachers use their own life experiences to enhance their teaching skills.

She also suggested teachers take time to meditate on their jobs and responsibilities. Dillard was not suggesting that future teachers necessarily pray, she said, but simply reflect on their duties.

“I hope you all do that before you go to work with other people’s children,” she said.

Sherrie Whibbey, a Fort Valley State student from Atlanta, loves children, and she doesn’t know what she would do if she could not be a teacher, she said.

Whibbey wanted to attend Thursday’s conference to get a better idea of the backgrounds, language barriers and other circumstances she will encounter in the classroom, she said.

“That’s the most important aspect of being an educator,” she said, “is dealing with everything you’re going to deal with in the classroom.”


Conference Discusses Finnic Minority Languages and Cultures

05 March 2013

The conference “Finnic Languages, Cultures, and Genius Loci” to be held on March 7th–8th, 2013, in the University of Tartu is dedicated to the 75th birthday of Tiit-Rein Viitso, professor emeritus of Finnic languages at the University of Tartu.

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The aim of this conference is to enliven discussion between the researchers of various disciplines and to introduce recent research results on the history as well as on the present situation of the Finnic languages and cultures. The conference will focus, alongside with language, on the cultural history of Finnic peoples reflected in different folklore genres, social processes, and artefacts of material culture that have been documented in the course of more than a century.

The conference is dedicated to Tiit-Rein Viitso, professor emeritus of Finnic languages at the University of Tartu, who will celebrate his 75th birthday on March 4, 2013. Professor Tiit-Rein Viitso has studied many languages of the world, but the history of Finnic languages has been and still is the central topic among his scholarly interests.
Click here to access article online


Discussion on media in minority languages

When: 1 March 2013
Where: Vojvodina Assembly Hall, Novi Sad, Serbia
Organized by: OSCE Mission to Serbia, Vojvodina Provincial Secretariat for Culture and Public Information

Representatives of relevant state and provincial authorities, national-minority councils, media associations, public-service broadcasters, and local and regional media will discuss challenges facing minority-language media in Serbia, as well as content dedicated to minorities in programmes produced by public-service broadcasters and local and regional media. The results of two studies that monitored minority-language media during the 2012 election campaign, conducted by the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina and the Novi Sad School of Journalism, will also be presented at the event.

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The Head of the Media Department at the OSCE Mission to Serbia, Dragana Nikolic-Solomon; the Vice President of the Government of Vojvodina and Vojvodina Secretary for Culture and Informationm, Slavisa Grujic; and the Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Suzana Paunovic, will speak at the opening. 


Languages and Microsoft

There are thousands of languages. Of course it is hard to support them all. As per 2012-02-21 Windows 8 supports 109 (!) languages. In december 2012 the support for Cheerokee language was added.

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Display language, locale and keyboard layout

In Windows 8, when you go to Language preferences – Add a language, you’ll get “a language”. Behind this general word there are three parts which have to be distinguished in this post:

  • Display language (labels, messages and other user interface in the particular language)
  • Locale (a set of preferences for a particular language and region/country like currency, point or comma as a decimal delimiter, ltr vs rtl, encoding and much more)
  • Keyboard layout (just an arrangement of keys, their placement, can be specific for a language or country, can have different systems like Dvorak)

This blog post is about the keyboard layouts, the easiest part of the “language” support in an operating system.


International Mother Language Day

“Marked on 21 February each year, International Mother Language Day celebrates all different languages with special attention to minority languages in the world. Out of over 6,000 languages, as much as 50 per cent of these languages are dying, 40 per cent are endangered and 90 per cent of the world population speaks about 300 majority languages. Only 100 languages are used in the education.” ~ The Day for all languages: 21 February via UNESCO

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Watching old files – this one’s a short video file showing a non-Filipino friend talking with an old woman working under the hot sun. At that time, we were on our way to attend a consultation meeting at a rural barangay in the northern part of the Philippines. I remember that just minutes before we came through that clearing, I’ve been telling them (my non-Filipino colleagues) re: some cultural tidbits, including the manner in which youngsters show respect/reverent toward the elders in the community.

Watching the video clip now, it feels great somehow – realizing that over the years, I’ve unconsciously developed that ‘systemic’ act of always informing non-Filipino friends and colleagues re: how people in Luzon address the elders as sign of respect (I didn’t encourage them to use the corresponding English terms like ‘mom or dad’ or pop or gran) –

Inang/Nanang (mother);
Amang/Tatang (father)
Apong Lakay/Lelong Grandfather/old men)
Apong Baket/Lelang (grandmother/old women)

I had lots of giggle watching the scene – as my colleague took great effort to address the elderly woman using the Ilokano language. It was an endearing, sweet moment. I’ll never forget that “joy in the moment” as our Ilokano elder giggled like kids as she listened to our foreigner friends calling her “Apong Baket”. Similar scenarios played out while we were  in the secluded village.

Thinking about it, I am thankful I never referred to my parents and grandparents as either “Mom” or “Dad/Pop” or “granny” or “grandpa” when I talked/write about them (I’d explain to my foreigner friends why I address my mother ‘Mamang’ instead of ‘Nanang’, but I won’t do it here – it’s a personal thing). They will always be “Mamang/Inang” Papang/Tatang” and Apong” to me.

It’s not much, really – these are but very small ways re: promoting my culture and mother tongue; it’s always been my focus to “utilize language as a tool to promote cultural connections” – in this case, to make non-Ilokanos understand who we are as people, and to let them see the significance of our simple ways in connection to our cultural identity.

Language, I think, has a paradoxical nature: it can unite or divide people and cultures. The real challenge posited by language is not about its preservation or usage; it is about proper utilization of its empowering nature. Language should be utilized as a tool that enables/empowers people.” ~ /ljgg  


Improving diversity of teaching staff tough under new provincial rule, boards say

Published on Wed Feb 20 2013
Regulation 274 will hamstring boards wanting to hire a more diverse teaching workforce because they have to hire from among the most senior candidates — not the best one.
By: Kristin Rushowy Education Reporter
A new provincial regulation that forces school boards to hire from among the five most senior applicants hampers any effort to improve the diversity of teaching staff — and it means principals won’t necessarily be able to bring in the best person for the job, says the president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.

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“The desire for school boards to be able to ensure teaching staff reflect their respective communities can be trumped by Regulation 274,” said Michael Barrett, who is also an Oshawa trustee for the Durham District School Board.

“ Seniority trumps the best teacher for the job, and also if that teacher reflects the community,” he added.

Barrett said while he would support an improved and more open hiring process, “you don’t put something into (the) process where the cure is worse than the symptoms.”

The new hiring rules come as many school boards are looking to increase diversity among their teaching ranks, including the Peel, York and Toronto public boards.

The Toronto District School Board is in part looking to boost the number of males and visible minorities, and encourages them to apply for supply teaching gigs, given the regulation limits the board’s ability to request the same for full-time jobs, said spokesperson Ryan Bird.

School administrators look for applicants who have “knowledge of the kids, who are a good fit, who have knowledge of the school and of the parents in the community,” said Ken Arnott, president of the Ontario Principals’ Council, adding that won’t always happen with the new rules.

“I don’t know how it’s going to unfold,” he said, adding the issue will come to the forefront in the coming weeks given teacher hiring and transfers will be in the works.

“(This is) very different than what we’ve done in the past.”

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Celebrating diversity and teaching kids empathy

Interested in a mom’s blog with lots of information and resource links related to bilingualism and diversity issues? Have a look…

Ana L. Flores is co-founder of SpanglishBaby and co-author of the book, “Bilingual is Better.” A bicultural and bilingual mom who is committed to holding on to her heritage, for over 15 years she’s been dedicated to creating content by and for Latinos in the U.S. and in Latin America. Now, through and, her boutique agency connecting brands to Latina bloggers, she is living her dream of being a self-motivated entrepreneur and sharing the stories and resources which matter the most to her. Su casa is now in L.A. where family traditions from Mexico, El Salvador, the Netherlands and the U.S. are dearly embraced…en español.


OISE’s first MOOC—Massive Open Online Course—

Aboriginal Worldviews and Education

Jean-Paul Restoule debuts on Monday, February 25. This MOOC is one of 7 being offered by the University of Toronto this year through Coursera.

Over 20,000 people have enrolled in Jean Paul’s course to date, including me. Aboriginal Education is a priority for Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal, provincial/territorial and federal governments. It is, in my view, the most important priority for education in Canada today. As the largest and most influential faculty of education in the country OISE has a responsibility to lead in this area. Jean-Paul’s course is one excellent example of OISE’s leadership, and it has been promoted in Aboriginal communities and organisations, Ministry of Education, universities and schools across Canada.


Exploring social justice through digital literacies

Janette Hughes of Ontario Institute of Technology gives a presentation on exploring social justice through digital literacies. This program works with Jr High students to develop both digital literacies and critical literacy through engaging in social justice issues particularly related to indigenous communities. This presentation represents an excellent program for informing learners about real social justice issues and equipping them to engage with those issues through digital and critical literacies.


Study reveals men’s role is plagued by insecurities and contradictory perceptions

Male primary teachers are always in demand – but could that be for the wrong reasons? A research project has cast doubt on common assumptions about this rare breed: that their mere presence can improve behaviour; that boys desperately need them; and that they are somehow lacking if they do not race up the career ladder.

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The University of Strathclyde study also reveals some of the anxieties that bubble beneath the surface for men in primaries; some well recognised, others more surprising. They range from nervousness about public perceptions that male child abusers gravitate to schools, to discomfiture at being “mothered” by female colleagues.

Masculinities in Primary Teaching in Scotland: Investigating Experiences of Male Primary Teachers is led by Geri Smyth, who has been intrigued by this topic since the mid-1990s when she became concerned about the number of male student primary teachers who did not complete their training.

She finds a paradox: on one hand, a “moral panic” engendered by a media fixation with stories of paedophiles working in schools, no matter how rare they might be; on the other, the view of the male teacher as a pedagogical superman – “as long as we had more men, all the problems of education would be solved”.

As Professor Smyth puts it: “Teaching in the primary classroom for males is fraught with contradictions.”

The research, by Professor Smyth and Dr Anna Piela, is drawn from a survey of 456 teachers – primary, secondary, male and female – and focus groups and interviews with 20 people ranging from students to heads.

The findings suggest that men, who make up 8 per cent of the primary teacher workforce, are often viewed in terms of their inherent “male” qualities rather than personal attributes, their ability to be a “role model” rather than their caring qualities and ability to build relationships.

Younger men were frustrated at the common assumption they were naturally better-equipped to take charge of a particularly badly behaved class, or that they could organise a school event unaided.

And they are expected to be on a trajectory towards senior management from the start – if they are still class teachers well into their career, the view is, as Professor Smyth puts it, that “there must be something wrong with you”.

To read the full report click here.



Find a degree program


Are you or someone you know considering graduate school for your own professional development? This website — — is a comprehensive and informative resource that systematically sorts out the available undergraduate and graduate programs offered today in the U.S. This information is very valuable to today’s students and professionals who are not only dealing with the competitive nature of higher education, but also the rising costs of it. Check it out for yourself and then pass the word…


 Educators’ Equity Night

 Another Story Bookshop
315 Roncesvalles Avenue
, Toronto, ON

Join us in store on Wednesday February 13th at 7pm for our next Educators’ Equity Night,

 Educational Activism

 Join Another Story staff members and guest speakers Gini Dickie (Teacher-Librarian, Clinton St. Jr. PS, TDSB),  Michelle Flecker  (Teacher-Librarian, Regal Rd PS, TDSB) and Tanya Senk (Coordinator, Education, Aboriginal Education Centre, TDSB) for our latest Equity Nightevent

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 Do you have questions about educational activism and how to develop critical thinking and social action in your students?

 Join us for this opportunity to discuss the challenges and resources involved in teaching with a social justice focus.

In addition,  Another Story Staff will:

  • present a book talk on picture books, novels and non-fiction resources that can be used in elementary and secondary classrooms
  • provide a comprehensive booklist of relevant resources for your library

To register for this FREE event call 416-462-1104 or email Claire at


Immigration and language

Stolz, Amerikaner zu sein

 THE debate around immigration in America often touches on language. The fear of nativist Americans is that immigrants do not learn (and maybe do not want to learn) English. If many of them speak the same language (say, Spanish) and cluster geographically (in, say, Los Angeles or San Antonio) they threaten to make America de facto bilingual. If this happens, so goes the concern, they will inevitably make demands for more legal recognition of other languages, threatening English’s status as a unifying force behind America’s motto, e pluribus unum, “out of many, one”.

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Americans know that this is an immigrant country. So why, in this narrative, did previous waves of immigration not threaten English, while today’s does? In the traditional story, immigrants back in the good old days wanted to, and did in fact, learn English. But this is not really so.

Immigrant languages probably persisted longer in America a century ago than they do today. And one language in particular persisted in large, coherent pockets in America for more than half a century: German. German immigration to America peaked from around 1840 to 1880. Like most immigrants, Germans came to towns where their co-nationals had settled, so they built up big communities in cities like Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis.

So what did this immigrant community look like? Hard-working English learners who quickly dissolved in the great melting pot? Hardly. This fascinating short paper by Miranda Wilkerson and Joseph Salmons looks at just one town in southeastern Wisconsin, called Hustisford. They focus on the year 1910; German-speaking plunged fairly quickly in America after the first world war (1914-1918), for the obvious reasons. But before the war, German monolingual communities persisted for many decades after immigrants’ arrivals.

Almost a quarter of Hustisford’s population (over ten years old) was monolingual in German in 1910. Of that share, a third were born in America. Of the German monolinguals born abroad, a majority had been in America for more than 30 years, having immigrated during the height of the German wave. In other words, in small-town America a century ago, it was perfectly possible to grow up, or to live there for decades after immigrating, without learning English.

Was this because Germans were isolated, in pockets in town or perhaps on the outskirts? No; Ms Wilkerson and Mr Salmons’ map shows them interspersed among Anglo-Americans. Were they simply undissolved lumps in an Anglo-American pot, though? No again: the scholars find many mixed households, and English and Irish names among the parishioners at German churches. Perhaps the Germans still felt somehow really German, not American? Here, the story is nuanced; German-Americans were certainly proud of their German heritage, but a 1917 cover of Die Deutsche Hausfrau, a ladies’ magazine, featured prominent flags and the lyrics to the “Star-Spangled Banner”—in German translation. This was just before America’s entry into the war.

German was the single biggest and most concentrated foreign language on American soil after independence—until today. Almost five decades of immigration from Spanish-speaking countries has recreated something like the German situation. Some people, like the late Samuel Huntington, a political scientist, feel that America’s “Anglo-American core” is threatened like never before. But for many reasons (hard to rank in importance), it is nearly impossible today to grow up in America without learning English. One study of more than 5,000 children in the Miami and San Diego areas (thick with Spanish-speakers) found that 94.7% of Latino middle-schoolers who had been born in America spoke English well. The authors concluded that “knowledge of English is near universal, and preference for that language is dominant among most immigrant nationalities. On the other hand, only a minority remain fluent in the parental languages.”

As with most stories of “the good old days”, the stories of the “good old immigrants” who learned English in contrast to today’s layabouts are just that: stories. Their point is emotional, not educational. The purpose is to elicit fear of change, through reminiscence for an age that never existed.

(Wilkerson-Salmons paper via Mr. Verb. The headline is “Proud to be an American” in German. I’d quite like to see Lee Greenwood sing it in German.)

Equity, diversity, and education

Cultural competence allows us to navigate the road to academic achievement

By: Asabi A. Dean | 2013.02.04 | 11:35 AM

In the counseling profession, we know that the relationship between the counselor and the client is the key to success. Counselors are very intentional about creating an environment where this relationship can begin and grow. We call this “building rapport.”

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A key component in building rapport is understanding and respecting the client’s life experience prior to beginning counseling. To prepare our students to work with diverse clients, including differences in culture, socio-economic status, education, sexual orientation, and more, counselor training programs include a heavy emphasis on becoming culturally competent, which equips counselors with the awareness, knowledge, and skills to work with clients on their own terms.

As counseling research continues to evolve and expand on the issue of multiculturalism, we have learned that there is not one profession whose clients and customers wouldn’t benefit from their service providers having received multicultural training.

When it comes to having a diverse population to serve, I believe educators are at the top of the list of those most likely to fall into this category.

Most of us would agree that diversity in school populations benefits all, especially our children as it prepares them for entering and competing in a future global workforce. Despite this obvious advantage, many educators charged with teaching diverse populations are well-intentioned people without the tools needed to educate a diverse pool, having received little or no multicultural training.

This is an issue facing school districts nationwide as they grapple with the best ways to meet all students’ educational needs. Here in Iowa City, we have an advantage over many other districts as we address the issue of diversity in education.

Right here at home, our local educators have access to the University of Iowa’s Multicultural Education & Culturally Competent Practice (ME-CCP) certificate, which offers training and support for graduate students, educators, and community members who seek a deeper understanding of issues and concerns in a diverse community. This program, which has garnered interest from individuals from a vast array of disciplines, represents a partnership between the College of Education and the Graduate College. (Information available from the Office of Graduate Inclusion.)

This setting offers our teachers and school leaders the opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the many outside factors that influence classroom achievement, not the least of which may be that students are performing to the level they believe their teachers expect. This is not a question that we can ignore given the widespread concern and the rapidly growing diversity in our Iowa City schools.

Myrlie Evers-Williams, the civil rights activist who delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration last month, prayed that our President will, among other duties, act courageously and cautiously in the favor of all the diverse people in the land of America. I call on my fellow scholars, parents, and community members to join me in having the courage to speak on this issue that is causing division in our community, but to do so with caution so as not to stifle the discussion with pointed fingers or accusations.

Let us work together to build rapport within our community—to listen to each other with respect and commit to gaining a deeper understanding of our neighbors whose backgrounds are different from our own. In this way we can begin to create an educational environment that will truly support and benefit the beautifully diverse group of students we are proud to call our own.

Asabi A. Dean, originally from Chicago, is a graduate student in the UI College of Education seeking a doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision. She is also an advanced doctoral graduate assistant and assistant coordinator for the Multicultural Education and Culturally Competent Practice (ME-CCP) certificate program.

Link to article


Minority languages worth saving as ‘bilingual brains are healthier

in terms of cognitive processing paths’

Feb 1, 2013 21:00 Moscow Time

There are a few languages that are spoken most often today but they are just the tip of the linguistic iceberg, merely the more popular tongues from across the Globe. Ninety six percent of the world’s languages are spoken by just 4 percent of its population. Seldom heard though and hidden in jungles, on mountain sides, and in remote villages, is a treasure trove of languages that are slowly dying out and may, one day, vanish completely. Should we make the effort to save those endangered languages or are they so obscure that we would be better off without them? Experts in linguistics from all corners of the world explained to the Voice of Russia the consequences of allowing them to be lost forever.

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According to, 500 languages are actively spoken by fewer than 100 people. At the heart of the problem of disappearing languages is a lack of practice and the motivation to use them, but there is also another player involved in the process of language erosion. Years ago, and even today, people on every continent began switching to their local majority language, but why did they abandon their native tongue for another with words and phrases alien to their ears?

At least one linguist has the answer; “People believed that in order to get ahead in life, you had to speak the majority language,” explained Simon Ager, Founder of, to the Voice of Russia. He continued with an example from the United Kingdom and the ancient Celtic language of Wales, “…in this case, it was English, and people in Wales believed it was wrong, they came to believe that children who could only speak Welsh would have difficulty finding jobs. If they wanted to go work in England or other places, they’d have to learn English. So parents at home started speaking English as well”.

External pressure to switch from a minority language to the majority lingua franca is not the only problem; there’s also the money factor. Governments and other organisations often have a hard time handing out funds to support dying languages. Donors may not see any immediate results or rapid progress from giving cash over to help resurrect a language. Nevertheless those that do choose to contribute, could perhaps change many lives for the better.

“There’s a human rights issue here, there’s a biological issue, where it affects your health. Studies show quite clearly now that bilingual brains are healthier on various objective criteria in terms of cognitive processing paths as well as the average age for the onset of dementia,” said Dr. Gregory Anderson, director of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages. The Duke Talent Identification Program, a gifted education program from Duke University, even states that children who learn a second language can demonstrate raised levels of critical thinking skills, a flexible mind when young and enhanced creativity. They have also been seen to perform better in standardised tests than children who have not learned a second language.

A bigger issue is at stake here, there’s more than just losing words and phrases at stake, but the very identity of entire cultures could be in jeopardy. “I feel that languages are like pieces of art and that just as people like looking at beautiful things, people also like hearing different languages,” said Dr. Joshua Nash, Research Associate from the University of Adelaide, he continued, “If you lose your land you can get it back, but if you lose your language you can’t”.

Nearly extinct languages do offer a unique lens through which to view the world. Take for instance the Yukaghir language of Eastern Siberia, spoken by 150 people at most. The way they refer to a unit of time from a traditional standpoint would be to call an hour “the kettle boiled”. A little bit of a longer, around 90 minutes, becomes “the frozen kettle boiled”, according to the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages.

Time is not the only factor which plays in a different way on the minds of native speakers of many dying languages. Their words are pronounced differently and take on an exotic tone with intonations and sounds that we might not normally recognise. To illustrate, in Tuvan, a Turkic language spoken in south-central Siberia as well as the Republic of Tuva, there are two words for rain: “chass” and “chashkinn” (English spelling approximated) the latter representing the diminutive form. Whatever the weather it’s always good to know the everyday basics, “ekii” means hello bajyrlyg is how you should say goodbye, if you find yourself in those parts.

Yukaghir and Tuvan are just 2 examples of the hundreds of languages that are trying to keep their heads above water and their gramma in motion. There are many languages that may disappear in a decades’ time, but they can be preserved and perhaps even revived, though that may not be quite such a straightforward task. Constant attention needs to be paid to any language which is at risk of being lost, and an ever growing measure of support will be needed for it to maintain any momentum in a world where more than 90 percent of all internet pages are written in just a dozen or so of the world’s many diverse languages.

“There are several ways you can do that but it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s very highly recommendable to parents, who speak minor languages to try to continue using their ethnic tongues with their children. It’s easy for us, who speak major languages, to recommend this, but it’s difficult for people belonging to minorities to implement this kind of practice because it’s difficult, it’s a challenge. You have to apply a lot of conscious effort with your own children but it does happen in some parts of the world,” explained Andrej Kibrik, Professor of Linguistics at Moscow State University.

Another effective way to save a language is to have both government bodies and private institutions chip in with hard cash to keep a language alive. Besides that, with the wide variety of technologies on hand today, establishing an electronic record is much easier now than it would have been before the internet age. Electronic books, virtual recordings and websites are all facilities available to groups with an interest in preserving a language. They can gather online to use and record a tongue that might have been lost, keeping it alive and well.

The key to postponing the death of a language is solid support from the community, along with motivation and practice. Letting a language die out is tantamount to allowing a whole culture to disappear. Each dying language though is an important piece of a much bigger puzzle, understanding the world we live in and perhaps even the essential human soul which our native language helps to shape in each and every one of us.

Link to article


Resources on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

There has been a growing recognition of the rich diversity of families over the past two decades, bringing forward the need for a different approach to research, policy and practice in early learning.

The needs of children being raised in immigrant families are often the same and sometimes different than the needs of other children. Certainly the settlement issues vary by place of birth, socio-economic status, support in the new home country and language capacity. At the same time the needs of racialized children are different from children who are immigrants to Canada.

For more information:


Intercultural communication and education: Moving on

ORGANISER: The University of Helsinki , Department of Teacher Education, Faculty of Behavioural Sciences

DATES: August 6 to 22, 2013



COORDINATOR: Prof. Fred Dervin, fred.dervin(at), Prof. Karen Risager (University of Roskilde, Denmark)

Are you confused about the many words that are used in research and practice to talk about encounters between people from different countries: intercultural, multicultural but also cross-cultural and even global? Are these concepts and notions different or similar? How can we research the phenomena they attempt to describe? Do you find it difficult to relate current criticisms of these terms, research methods and how research results are presented?

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In this course we will talk about intercultural communication and education from a new perspective. The course is a follow-up to a very successful summer school in Denmark in 2011, co-organised with the international research group CULTNET. We propose to take Intercultural and Identity: Research Methodseven further, moving on to the entire research process from concepts to methods and analysis.

Learn not to be confused about the ‘intercultural’!
The Helsinki Summer School course offers up-to-date lectures, discussion of research papers as well as research talks on the latest developments and advances in the fields of intercultural communication and education. Practical sessions will help the participants to improve their own work. The course is aimed at Master’s and PhD students who specialise in any aspect related to intercultural communication and education.

The following topics will be covered during the course: the ‘old’ and contested concept of culture; from identity to identification; renewing concepts; the ‘inter’ of intercultural; language and the ‘intercultural’; complexifying the analysis of intercultural phenomena; and ethical responsibilities of researchers and practitioners.

Why attend this course?
• To get up-to-date and critical knowledge about how to do research on intercultural communication and education
• To test new ways of working on intercultural communication and education
• To learn how to challenge ‘old’ and unsatisfactory ways of conceptualising and working on the ‘intercultural’
• To meet and discuss your own work with renowned researchers
• To reflect on one’s responsibility as researcher and practitioner.

The course organisers are noted scholars in the field. Fred Dervin is Professor of Multicultural Education, University of Helsinki, and holds several positions in universities across the world. His research interests include intercultural competences in academic mobility and education, and multicultural education. He has published more than 20 books on these issues. Karen Risager is Emerita Professor of Cultural Encounters at Roskilde University. She has published widely on language, culture and identity as theorised in a transnational and global perspective. Dervin and Risager co-organised the first summer school on research methods for the ‘intercultural’ at Roskilde University in 2011.

Please direct any questions about the content of this course to the course coordinator. Any questions on the general arrangements (accommodation, scholarship, etc.) should be addressed to the Summer School office at summer-school(at)

please note that we are also organizing an international conference on Intercultural vs. Multicultural Education: the End of Rivalries? (29-30.8.2013)


Equality and Diversity in Education – follow the blog

We invite you to follow Insted’s blog, if you don’t already do so. It’s at  Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom right hand corner of the first page and add your email address. A message will then come to your inbox from time to time about a new publication or upcoming event, or about a topical article or discussion elsewhere on the internet.

You can see by scrolling down the blog the kind of brief item that has been posted over the last two months or so.

There are also some new materials on the main Insted site (, including an article about the pupil premium grant, some initial information about the government’s review of the public sector equality duty (PSED) and some papers about Islamophobia.


Book Launch Invitation

Social Justice Re-Examined: dilemmas and solutions for the classroom teacher

edited by Rowena Arshad, Terry Wrigley and Lynne Pratt

 …this brave attempt to bring together social theory and what happens in the classroom marks a step forward in Scottish educational thinking. – Alex Wood, educational consultant, Herald Scotland, November 2012

 Friday February 1st   1- 3.30pm

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(light lunch refreshments will be provided)

 There will be an opportunity to attend sessions with the authors (a combination of practising teachers and academics) who will provide a workshop/conversation on their topic. You can join up to two of these workshops/conversations:

Social Justice in practice in early career teaching Helen Knowles
Using ‘critical literacy’ to do gender Lynne Pratt & Yvonne Foley
Developing inclusive practices for pupils with English as an Additional Language Andy Hancock
Class and Poverty: a teacher’s response Terry Wrigley
Gypsy, Roma and Travellers: teachers making a difference Tess Watson & Gillean McCluskey
Addressing homophobia as part of learning and teaching Shereen Benjamin

To assist with catering, we would be pleased if you could register your wish to attend and to indicate which two workshop/conversations you would like to join.

 Attendees can purchase copies of the book  at a ‘once only’ reduced price

Normal price £22.99

Launch price £10   (if bought on the day)

Please email the CERES administrator Jo Law if you wish to attend:


Invitation  to a public lecture by Gina Valle at York University.

Theme: “Teachers at their best”
The lecture will be based on Gina Valle’s recently published book “Teachers at their best”. This book gives us an in depth look at what is happening in diverse classrooms in Canada, and how teachers are making a difference in their students’ lives. More than thirty powerful vignettes take us into the hearts and minds of exemplary educators, as they share their values, convictions, wisdom and knowledge in the classroom and beyond. You will not soon forget the stories found in Teachers at Their Best. Truly refreshing in scope, and inspirational to anyone who is an educator, student or parent committed to diversity in Canada.

Gina Valle has a PhD in Teacher Education and Multicultural Studies. Teachers at Their Best is her second book.
Date: February 1st, 2013
Time: 2-4pm
Place: 234 York Lanes, Faculty of Education, York University 

Please register at:

Refreshment will be served

Organizers: Intercultural Dialogue  Institute (IDI) Toronto and Faculty of Education, York University


Inclusive Schools Week 

December 3 – 7, 2012


 Posted on November 6, 2012 by 

The Theme for the 2012 Inclusive Schools Week provides a more specific focus this year. Last year’s theme “From Awareness to Action” applied to all aspects of inclusive education from changing attitudes to changing staffing and scheduling practices. For our new theme, ISN has chosen to address a significant and continuing challenge in creating and sustaining inclusive schools: building authentic friendships for students with disabilities and their non-disabled peers.

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Ask almost any parent of a child with disabilities and you will discover a concern for the number and characteristic of their son’s or daughter’s friends, school mates, and team mates.  Observe in almost any classroom and discover that students with disabilities typically have fewer friends and interact with them in fewer settings – primarily the boundries of the school.  Ask almost any teacher and discover that while social inclusion is of concern, we possess few practical skills and strategies to bridge this relationship gap.

It is well known that unless adults, teachers and parents do something purposeful, meaningful friendships for students with disabilities are more limited in number and depth.  Children with disabilities are targets of bullying more often than their typical peers and this problem appears to grow worse as physical and verbal aggression in schools is being quantified and studied.  Parents, students, and educators need support and skills to reverse this long-recognized exclusion from friendships and the social life of the school.

Throughout 2013, the Inclusive Schools Network will work to increase attention to this important civil and ethical right to be included fully and meaningfully in the classroom, in the school, and in shared events and sports.  With our current attention on academic inclusion through access to the general education curriculum, quality instruction, core curriculum standards we must make certain that we view ‘inclusion’ in it’s broader sense as well.  The wish and the right to belong is one that moves all of us on a personal level.  The responsibility to expand our notion of inclusion beyond just ‘a seat in the classroom’ is our timely theme for Inclusive Schools Week, December 3-7, 2012.  Until we establish social inclusion as a characteristic of every school’s culture and practice our work is not done!


First Nations school in B.C. passes traditional ways on to next generation

Friday November 23, 2012

Ryder Kyle looks hesitantly up at his teacher and then back down at the dead salmon in front of him. He tentatively slices a sharp knife through the salmon, but his teacher huffs with annoyance.

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 “No, no, you have to put your back into it and pull the meat back all the way,” says Kenny Billy, the Grade 6 teacher at Chief Atahm School.

Nestled on Little Shuswap Lake amid the rolling hills of the Okanagan, Chief Atahm isn’t your typical elementary school.

Class was dismissed that day. It was the last day of the spring salmon run and the men from the community had brought the catch in.

So instead of teaching science in the classroom, Billy was teaching it in situ, native style.

Hands covered in blood and surrounded by the pungent smell of fish, the students have typically teenage reactions. Some of the boisterous boys try to gross out the girls by dangling salmon eggs, while other students listen seriously to Billy and the other community leaders explain the life cycle of the salmon, its importance to First Nations and the importance of respecting the traditional ways….

The article shares more of First Nation s’ preserving and passing on their knowledge and experiences in the rest of the story here:–first-nations-school-in-b-c-passes-traditional-ways-on-to-next-generation 




After School Newcomer Hub

If you are a student in grades 7-10, free tutored after school homework help is available in math, science, English, French, and other subjects as needed. The Hubs also feature skills building workshops, laptops for assignments and research, electronic gaming, and more.

 Sanderson  Ongoing event running from: Mon Sep 17, 2012 – Wed Mar 27, 2013

Centennial  Ongoing event running from: Mon Jan 07, 2013 – Wed Mar 27, 2013


Tougher Language Exam Proposed for Citizenship

October 14, 2011

In a Toronto Star article, we learn about the Department of Citizenship and Immigration’s plan to “[crack] down on the language competency of newcomers” with regards to the proficiency test used when applying for citizenship.

The federal government is cracking down on the language competency of newcomers who apply for Canadian citizenship.

In a government notice released Friday, Ottawa says multiple choice tests are no longer enough to demonstrate immigrants can speak one of the two official languages.

It wants would-be citizens tested on their oral and listening skills.

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“The written test is an inadequate proxy for assessing language as it does not adequately assess listening and speaking skills . . . for effective communication with fellow Canadians and for effective integration,” wrote Nicole Girard, a Citizenship and Immigration Canada acting director general.

Currently, language competency is largely assessed through a multiple choice written test, which also evaluates an applicant’s knowledge of Canada, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

If an applicant fails the test, the individual must satisfy a citizenship judge through an oral interview. The changes would affect applicants between the ages of 18 and 44, representing about 134,000 individuals a year.

Last year, the Conservative government tightened up the citizenship exam — 20 multiple questions answered in 30 minutes — by raising the passing mark to 75 per cent from 60.

The failure rate immediately skyrocketed from between 4 and 8 per cent to 30 per cent.

The proposed changes would require applicants to prove they meet the Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 descriptors such as “the ability to take part in routine conversations about everyday topics, use basic grammatical structures and tenses, have sufficient vocabulary. . . follow simple instructions.”

Immigration policy analyst Richard Kurland said the proposed language test can provide a standard measure of one’s language ability, but could inconvenience those born and raised in English and French.

Since all skilled immigrants must pass mandatory language tests to qualify for permanent residency, Kurland said this group could use their old test result and be exempted from the new requirement for citizenship.

Immigrant advocate Avvy Go said she appreciates that language proficiency can be a huge advantage for newcomers to flourish in Canada.

“But the language requirement is going to be a barrier for some to fully participate in the society,” said Go. “Those who come here under family reunification or as refugees and are illiterate in their own language are going to be denied the opportunity to become full-fledged members of the society.”

Immigrant lawyer Joel Sandaluk agrees.

“What the government is trying to do here is to increase the value of citizenship by increasing the difficulty in obtaining it,” he said. “It is excluding people from the right to vote and (carry) passports based on the ability to communicate in English and French.”

Citizenship applications cost $200 for adults and $100 for minors. One must have lived here for at least three years in the past four years to qualify. Current processing time is 19 months from the moment an application is received.–tougher-language-exam-proposed-for-citizenship


Association of Teacher Educators

ATE Joins five other groups in releasing report on Teacher Diversity, A Call To Action.

The Association of Teacher Educators joined five other leading education groups, including the National Education AssociationAmerican Council on EducationAmerican Association of Colleges for Teacher EducationCommunity Teachers Institute, and Recruiting New Teachers to publish Assessment of Diversity in America’s Teaching Force: A Call to Action. The brochure was printed in quantity by NEA and has received widespread distribution in media outlets across the country.

To download a copy of the brochure in pdf format, click here. (Note: The brochure is about 512k in size, so it will take some time to download.) To download a press release with additional information, click here.


Immigrants’ Language Gains Tied to Better Health

October 19, 2011

A CBC article reports on studies that suggest a correlation between English language proficiency and immigrant health.

Immigrants to Canada who continued to struggle to speak English or French after four years tended to report poorer health, but gaining language proficiency seemed to help, a new report suggests.

Statistics Canada released its report on official language proficiency and self-reported health among immigrants on Wednesday. The report was based on a survey of about 21,000 immigrants who settled in the country in 2000 and 2001 who were tracked until 48 months after arrival.