Seminar at Birkbeck College, London entitled "Researching Multilingualism in Complementary Schools"

Event Date: 
Thu, 10/03/2011 - 11:00 to 17:30
Department of Applied Linguistics & Communication
Birkbeck College, University of London
External Website Address: 
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Complementary schools are voluntary organisations by minority ethnic or linguistic communities, often of immigration backgrounds, to teach languages and cultures to the local-born generations of children and young people. They have been a major global educational movement since the 1950s – variably known as heritage (language) schools, community (language) schools, or supplementary schools. Yet, public awareness of the complementary schools is low. Recently, a number of research projects have emerged in Britain, where some 3,000 complementary schools exist teaching a very wide range of languages and cultures. These research projects have demonstrated the significant impact of the complementary schools on the communities they are serving as well as the wider society and the diverse practices and ideologies amongst them. They also highlight the need for further research into these schools with particular regards to educational and social policy, community cohesion and identity development of young people. This workshop aims to introduce researchers new to complementary schools to the theoretical and methodological issues in researching this particular site of multilingualism.


Professors Angela Creese, Professor Adrian Blackledge and Jaspreet Kaur Takhi will be presenting a paper entitled; "Researching Multilingualism in Complementary Schools: an ethnographic framework", where they will be presenting data collected from the ongoing HERA project looking at discourses of inheritance and identity in Panjabi Complementary Schools in Birmingham.