Please note, the what is written here does not reflect the views of any institution the author belongs to.
There were great and impactful content in the talks, and workshops of Asian Festival Children’s Content (AFCC) 2013, 25th May, day 1.
Here are some highlights which was really inspired me as a person who involve in children’s life and as mother too.
There are 4 topics which I wanted to share. But, in this post only 2 topics will appear.
1. Bilingualism: Early childhood experience and how to nurture them. (2 sessions)
by Dr Ng Seok Moi (New Zealand) and Dr Mohd Mukhlis (Singapore)
During Dr Ng Seok Moi’s presentation, it was interesting to understand further on the importance of recognising children’s culture through bilingualism.
The intention of giving children opportunity to feel comfortable and confidence in expressing themselves through their mother tongue language is rarely discussed thoroughly among teachers and parents.
As in Malaysia’s scenario, the Malays are comfortable to speak in Malay, the Chinese are comfortable to speak either in Mandarin or Cantonese and the Indians are comfortable to speak in Tamil.
In a class setting, a child who just entered the world of kindergartens and preschools should be accepted through bilingualism to further enhance their confidence and self-esteem.
The fact of linguistic complexity in Asia do include Malaysia as part of the complexity. There are not definite answers on bilingual education and many academicians are still exploring it.
The fact that teachers need to address the children’s bilingual development leads to further sharing on teaching strategies, communicative approaches guidelines to deal with the multicultural and differences, how to promote language in the diversification of the children’s background and some project elements which found interesting and benefit to the children.
It was agreed that home and family participation contribute greatly to the children’s bilingual development.
During Dr Mohd Mukhlis’ session, he described further by sharing Singapore real case study on the importance to maintain ‘additive bilingual’. Which means to acquire another language while maintaining the acquisition of the other language.
Though it was clearly mentioned that the weightage of fluency will not be able to be balance as in 50-50, the fact the it should not ‘deteriorate’ the fluency of the other language was very well accepted.
The reality of bilingualism or even multilingual among our children and in our community should be addressed properly. It is our responsibility to be proud and make our children proud to be able to speak more than one language. We should be extensively promoting and supporting the benefit to be able to speak, read and write comfortably bilingually.
2. The use of Drama to inspire reading, writing and books
by Dr Susan Kosoff.
Dr Susan Kosoff had brought the audience to experience ‘choral speaking’ and ‘fun activities’ with language during her session.
She shared on how activities of drama which includes dramatic play, creative drama and children/family theatre helps to develop further interest and love for reading, writing and books among the children.
It was discussed further on how importance the teacher’s in order to help children to acquiry language through drama activities. Setting and the teachers experience should not restrict the children’s opportunity to play and learn through drama.
Choral speaking is another activity which can be followed easily by the children comfortable and at ease. For children who are new with certain language, choral speaking activities will enhance their confidence through group activities which give freedom for children to make mistakes in a ‘safe’ environment and learn to correct it themselves.
Some important note for teachers when conducting drama as the learning activities are:
a. Choose a story
– check the quality of the story, children’s interest, children’s involvement and understanding of the story, story showing and dividing the story into parts. Go through the stories, ask questions for children to understand the story.
b. Create the audience
– it could be performance in front of peers or younger children in the school.
c. Create the space
– it could be in the classrooms without stage, or any familiar space will be fine.
May the above sharing sparks new ideas to promote language development among children and help them to continuously be more confident!