ROMA LANGUAGES AND TRANSLANGUAGING ENQUIRY LEARNING SPACES (ROM-tels)

Principal Investigator – Dr Leena Robertson

This Erasmus+ funded project (2014-2017) involves People to People Foundation in Romania and four collaborating universities: Newcastle University, (UK), Univerity of Montpellier (France), Helsinki University (Finland) and Middlesex University (UK). The project arises from two long-standing, global and well documented educational challenges: firstly Eastern European Traveller, including Roma pupils’ poor participation and persistently low achievement in education, and secondly the decline of home language use in primary classrooms (age 5-11) as a pedagogic tool to raise the academic achievement of pupils whose home language(s) differs from the official language of schools.

The project’s response to these challenges will begin in UK with the development of an innovative integration of two technologies working in tandem (digital table and large scale 360 degree projected displays) to act as a medium through which pupils can experience high quality dual language learning. Accompanying software will incorporate sound files in pupils’ home languages alongside English, and pupils will be encouraged to communicate in whichever language supports their activity, i.e. their home language or the language of the school or a mixture of both. The objective is to improve the Eastern European pupils’ motivation and engagement towards institutionalised school activity, at the same time as improving their proficiency in using cognitive academic language for learning in both their home language and English. Collaboration with parents, and the transformation of teachers’ attitudes towards Traveller communities is an integral part of the project so that children’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds are made available to schools by parents who trust this information is respected, valorised and used by teachers to improve the educational and social inclusion of their children. At the same time families become more knowledgeable about institutionalised education.

ROMtels project – please visit http://research.ncl.ac.uk/romtels/

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