Educators explore multilingual education theory and practice in Bangkok workshop

(April 2012) Using students’ home languages in early education was the focus of a recent workshop for which eighty educators working in twenty countries came together in Bangkok, Thailand. The 2012 Workshop on Bridging Between Languages in Mother Tongue-Based Bilingual/Multilingual Education (MTB MLE) was hosted on the campus of Mahidol University 19-30 March. Co-sponsored and conducted by Mahidol’s Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA) and also SIL, this workshop was the fifth in a series on planning for strong and sustainable MTB MLE programs.

Workshop participants were encouraged to attend in groups of two or more representatives from a given language community in order to facilitate collaboration. At the end of the two-week workshop, participants had drafted foundational plans and begun to develop materials for their communities’ programs.

Multilingual education topics included:

  • Learning theories and second language acquisition theories
  • Building fluency in oral and written L1 (home language) and L2 (school language)
  • Planning the progression for language of instruction: teaching languages as subjects and using them for instruction from the beginning to the end of the MTB MLE program in primary school
  • Using government standards and competencies to develop MTB MLE-specific curriculum
  • Developing MTB MLE-specific teaching and learning materials
  • Teacher training for MTB MLE, including incorporating MTB MLE content into established teacher training programs
  • Assessment and evaluation issues specific to MTB MLE
  • Expansion issues: maintaining quality while ‘scaling up’

Participant feedback

We thank you for organizing this wonderful workshop and deepening our understanding in the field of MTB MLE. We all appreciated the blend of theories and practice throughout the sessions and the chance to discuss the concepts in our own contexts. Thank you once again for giving us the opportunity to attend this learning workshop. 
- Participants from the Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

A similar workshop is planned for May in cooperation with St. Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines.

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