MEITS Blog


Est-ce qu’il y a anybody out there (there…there…)? Tackling the “echo chamber” in public engagement

by Angela Gayton

As we kick off a new year of the MEITS project, it seems worthwhile to reflect on our public engagement activities throughout 2017, to ensure we’re thinking carefully about who, of the public, we’re engaging with exactly.

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‘Don’t speak to me in our language, when you pick me up from school’

by Dina Mehmedbegovic

Today, 18th December is the UN Day of Migrants. On this day in 1990 UN signed the International Migrant Convention protecting the rights of migrants and their families. It took another 13 years for the Convention to reach the threshold needed for its implementation – acceptance by 20 countries. Its main aim is to protect human rights of currently around 250 million people identified as migrants world-wide. Not many are aware of this date and not many are aware that UNESCO rights of children include a right to education in mother tongue/home language.

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Stories of Multilingualism

by Dieuwerke (Dee) Rutgers

Naturally, the question of what it means to be multilingual is one I receive frequently in my work as a researcher on the MEITS project. In the simplest terms, being multilingual can perhaps be defined as ‘being able to speak or use more than one language’.

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Why limited resource models are of limited use, particularly when it comes to languages.

by Thomas H Bak

In the early 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and lifting of travel restrictions, Vienna become a favourite destination for Eastern Europeans keen to buy hitherto unavailable Western goods. My West German friend Wilhelm recalled a conversation with an East German colleague while looking at the frantic markets. “Poor Viennese”, said the East German, “those Eastern Europeans will buy everything and leave them with nothing”. “Lucky Viennese”, answered Wilhelm, “they are doing the business of their lifetime”. Obviously, their comments reflected different economic reality under which they grew up, but they illustrate rather well the general contrast between “limited resource” and “added value” models.

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Where is that native speaker?

by Henriette Hendriks

Have you ever learnt a modern foreign language? Many of us have attempted it at least once in our lives. Perhaps it was in school, or perhaps you fell in love. However, an encounter with a new language arises, starting to learn always seems easy. But how do you know when you have finished, or reached the target? At what point can you say you have acquired the language? Is it, perhaps, when you know all the rules in the grammar book? Or when you stop speaking with a foreign accent? The questions surrounding how much language is sufficient to have acquired it are ones that have been testing learner, teacher and researcher alike.

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Multilingual role models: engaging the disengaged

by Katie Howard

“But, Miss, what’s the point?” was a perennial question propelled in my direction – often with uncompromising vigour– during my time as an MFL teacher. A vast array of arguments, many of which have been cogently rehearsed in previous blog posts, can be drawn upon to answer my students’ question; from the vocational to the cultural, the linguistic to the cognitive. But perhaps we should be seeking not only to answer the question “why bother with languages?”, but to understand what compels students to ask it in the first place.

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‘A change is as good as a rest’: MEITS strand 3 goes to Canada

by Janice Carruthers

Although the strand I lead in MEITS (Strand 3) does not work directly on Canada, a recent visit allowed me to view our strand’s core research questions from a different angle and reminded me why it matters that we value multilingualism.

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Education is much more than just going to school and bilingualism is an important part of it

by Thomas H Bak

There is hardly an idea as deeply ingrained and universally shared across academia as the belief in the value of education. Education is a good thing, and the more we can get of it the better. Conversely, lack of education is one of the worst evils. After all, education is our profession, our mission and, to a large extent, our raison d’être.

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