Championing bilingual education at school and at home | Aga Khan Academies

Championing bilingual education at school and at home

09 March 2020

Over the last couple weeks, the Academy hosted language experts like Eowyn Crisfield-Burr and Juleen Keevy in order to advance the efforts being made in bilingual education. Workshops were held for teachers as well as parents to impress upon the merits of bilingualism.

The Academy’s curriculum emphasises global perspectives as well as local languages and culture and is taught using a bilingual approach (English and Portuguese). Children engaged in bilingual education experience not only academic and cognitive benefits, but also cultural and long-term health benefits.

Bilingualism consultant, Eowyn Crisfield-Burr sat down with teachers from the Academy to shed light on how they can boost students’ language skills by celebrating bilingual instruction and interaction. She emphasised how the use of two languages builds self confidence among students’ and also sharpens their social skills.

The teachers raised questions regarding the links between identity and language use, and bilingual classroom activities. They also pointed out that many students at the Academy have competencies in more than two languages.

Teacher Coach, Juleen Keevy is also visiting from the Academy in Mombasa. Over the last week she has been supporting different classes in planning for literacy and providing support for IT integration.

On the morning of 6 February, 2020, she held a special workshop with parents discussing how they can support literacy at home. She provided insight on how parents can incorporate activities and games in daily life to improve their skills in what she calls the language of their heart or home language.

At the end of the workshop, Juleen explained, “The aim of this workshop is to organise quality exercises with children so they love their home language. We don't want them to only be having fun with language in their second and third languages. They should also be having fun and wonderful memories with their home language.”