In a world that seems to be becoming smaller by the day with the speed of global communication, it becomes even more important to educate our children in being world citizens and having a positive attitude towards difference and diversity.
As an educator or parent you can encourage this by reading stories and singing songs from other countries and being aware of the image you are presenting of other countries.
For example, when the children in my school were studying Handa’s Surprise in French and drumming in music, I made a special effort to show positive, modern images of Kenya rather than the stereotypical pictures that we often default to. This involved finding pictures of people from different walks of life and showing video clips from the Kenyan tourism website, as well as reading a variety of books.
I make an effort to have bilingual editions of books available – I particularly like One Third Stories who start the books in one language and finish in another. Also popular in my classroom has been Ana Lomba’s bilingual version of Little Red Riding Hood.
I enjoy introducing other countries and cultures in a positive light by reading books in multiple languages and from different countries.
For example, how about this book by Rachel Isadora?
In it a young girl visits various people in her community, communicating with each in their own language. It is a very simple book but has been popular in any class where I have read it. A book like this also serves as a nice introduction to greetings in various languages which you can incorporate by answering the register in various languages or singing a song.
As a resource for this I love the Book of Languages by Mick Webb
In my classroom I also have a ‘Country of the Week displayed near our class calendar which changes daily. We have a word of the day in French (current focus language), a ‘hello’ in another language and our list of spellings in English.
The Country of the Week display shows the flag, map and some basic information about the country alongside some basic expressions in the main language spoken in that country. As I add to my resources for this I will upload it to this blog.
Why not try adding one of these songs to your playlist too?
There are lots of books available in bilingual editions and you can add examples of other languages and scripts in environmental text around your classroom.
You could start with some of the free, multilingual posters offered by Schools Link or paid-for resources from Twinkl to include children with various linguistic backgrounds and interest monolingual children in learning another language.
Have you included other languages in your classroom?
Have you any resources you would like to recommend?