Publications & Presentations
An inquiry into the typical and atypical language development of young transnational multilingual children in an international school
This thesis investigates some of the unique characteristics of young transnational multilingual children aged five to eleven from high-socioeconomic status families educated in an international school in Switzerland. Its purpose is to improve understanding of typical and atypical language development for this group. It draws on sociolinguistic research on language variation and exposure, and clinical linguistic research on developmental language disorder identification and cross-linguistic considerations. The specific aim of the pilot research study presented in this thesis is to measure and discuss seven multilingual children’s verbal language abilities in each of their languages, and to measure their combined bilingual verbal abilities and multilingual verbal abilities. It is, therefore, influenced by discussion on language acquisition theories that relate to complex and dynamic systems, such as the Dynamic Model of Multilingualism. In addition, it also identifies any common characteristics, familial language practices or experiences of the pilot group of children. A methodological design is created that could be replicated in the future on a much larger scale as a means of confirming, extending or disputing the findings from the pilot group. This thesis’s pilot research findings suggest that multilingual children from high-income families who attend international schools have significantly above average verbal language abilities when their verbal language abilities are evaluated as one total language system (multilingual ability), a finding that is in stark contrast to the ‘average’ results they receive when each language is evaluated on its own. The thesis concludes that research on multilingual children that does not take into account the variables unique to this group may fail to recognise important factors that can impact their language development.
Full thesis can be read here
Learning About Communities: School Language Surveys
Language surveys are a great way to learn more about the language profiles of students and their families so that schools can further strengthen their commitment to intercultural awareness and developing multilingualism. Using the results, a comprehensive language profile of a school community can be made, which provides detailed information on the languages used by students and their families, as well as an overview of the beliefs and attitudes of parents towards multilingualism and language learning.
Family Language Planning
Understanding BICS and CALP
Supporting Bilingual Identities: The Bilingual Diploma
In a recent article, I explored the links between language, identity and self-esteem. In this post, I will discuss how the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO) enables young, multilingual people to develop their bilingualism so they can confidently navigate diverse environments and develop global competencies. Language is one of the main elements we use as we develop a sense of how we fit into our family, school, local area the world at large. By coming to grips with how our languages contribute to the complexities of our own identity and can even influence our way of thinking, we can better understand other cultures and alternative conceptual frameworks.
Language and Identity
Working Together: Promoting the Benefits of Multilingualism (October 2017, IB Global Conference, The Hague)
ECIS ESL & Mother Tongue Conference Round Table Discussion on Multilingual Children and Language Disorders (March 2017, ECIS ESL and Mother Tongue Conference, Copenhagen)
Inquiry and Language Teaching: Embracing a Conceptual Shift (October 2014, IB Africa, Europe and Middle East Regional Conference 2014)
Language Development of Children in Multilingual Settings, and Sociolinguistic Factors that Can Contribute to SLI Over- and Under-Identification (July 2015, Language Variation and Assessment, CSLS, University of Bern, Switzerland)
First Language Maintenance and Family Language Plans (September 2015, Nederlandse School De Alpentulp, Zug, Switzerland)
Identification, Assessment and Support of EAL pupils with Special Educational Needs (October 2007, Swiss Group of International Schools Special Educational Needs Conference, Switzerland)