Education for plurilingualism for an awakening to another



By Caroline Trouillet ,
If the French language has long been a building in France , an emerging consensus around the recognition of multilingualism as an asset . Field , associations campaigning for valuing the diversity of languages ​​in the French society , from the benches of the school. From one language to another ( DULALA ) , located in Montreuil , is one of them. Through workshops, games and language awareness , training and conferences, she educates parents, children, professionals and institutions in the advantages of multilingualism uninhibited .
Saturday morning , in the heart of the city of La Noue , the toy library social Guy Toffoletti center comes alive with sounds Soninke . Since November , every Saturday , dads and moms Bagnolet and Montreuil ( Seine -Saint- Denis ) entrust the host Mama Doucouré their toddlers for two hours of play in Soninke language. Aged two to ten years , children listen quietly Mama recite a rhyme by heart then hum the chorus. The actor of this story is a plush named Khalifa , meaning " trust ." This mascot occupies a key role in the workshop in turn , each child takes home Khalifa . The following Saturday, it recounts the adventures of lint during the past week. This ritual is a way to cross the universe and the family workshop to link the French spoken at the school and the Soninke family nest. A concern at the heart of pedagogy DULALA , association initiated these fun workshops mother tongue .

Mother tongue, a breeze ?

For children operating in a bilingual environment , these groups of games exist in fourteen languages, including English, Spanish, German as well as less valued in school and sign language languages, the Hebrew and most recently Arabic, Berber and Soninke . The West African community is particularly active in Montreuil where identified no fewer than twenty different nationalities. "We realized that children could speak Soninke with adults , never them . It offers them a space where they can take pleasure in speaking the language of mom and dad with their buddies. Spaces must be opened where language can flow between the domestic sphere and other spheres , "says Anna Stevanato . Linguist created DULALA Association in 2009. Mother of two Franco-Italian children, she herself grew up " bilingual upset ." " I was raised by my grandparents who spoke Venetian dialect not recognized in Italy. I grew up with a sense of shame . Then I realized that it was very difficult to transmit their language to their own children, because if Italian is now recognized in France , this was not the case there is a number of years. "

This lack of recognition is at the heart of the concerns of parents attending the workshop on Saturday. Mostly born in Senegal and Mali , they grew up in France . Parents themselves , they are questioning the need to pass on their mother tongue to their children . Director Guy Toffoletti social center , Alhassana Diallo also brings her children to Games Workshop : "I arrived in France at the age of 2 years and I started late in Soninke Bathed in the language through the family . and homes of migrant workers, I understand not really talk and adults laughed a lot about me . I was told " you do not even know how to speak your language , you're a little French " I do not want my children to live this situation. " While own parents after recently Alhassana literacy classes in France , their grandchildren , born here, speak with DULALA Soninke . Three generations and dialogue between two languages. Behind the gym , it is transmitted seamlessly through language, a culture he had assumed as marginal in French society. " Before coming to the shop, my daughter told me " stop talking like granny . " Now she agrees to talk to him in Soninke . It is important to give a positive image of the Soninke culture to children," evokes meaning the host Mama , whose two daughters Mariam and Aminata -Eva attend the workshop.

Tell me your tongue , I'll tell you who you are

Although the issue of recognition is so sensitive is that the French school has long suppressed the expression language "others" within it. In keeping with the requirement of the republican model where the individual citizen ahead and peculiarities , the school has not ever drawn from the pool of languages ​​she incubates . Historically, the language is identified with the nation and language unit is built around the French . " French is a language that has a lot of power in the school . Idea that the language of the parents is better than the language of the school is seen as a betrayal by the institution" says psychiatrist Jean- Claude Metraux ( 1 ) . In 2004 , the ratio of MP Jacques -Alain Benisti advocated strict learning French immigrant children to maintain their balance. He went even further by drawing a parallel between bilingualism and delinquency. ( 2 )

Today , languages ​​are cramped in their compartments. If we can easily talk about bilingualism to describe the skills of French- English and French- Spanish children , it is less common to grant the status of multilingual children speak Wolof or Berber , relegated to as " dialects " . So why talk about migrants as " learners " or " non-francophones " when addressing bilinguals or " allophones " ( who speak another language)? The process is the same on sign language , suppressed for a century in Europe. Deaf- mute children and immigrant children , foreigners and aliens here also have in common the representation of their difference through the deficit. That is why the sociolinguist Christine Helot stresses the need to appoint positive children as bilingual when described as " students whose French is not the mother tongue ." The social dimension of language is very strong indeed . For example, she reminds us , if Spanish is considered in academic learning as a language of elite in France , it is devalued in the United States because qu'étiqueté language migrants.

This work centering is recommended by many researchers who experiment " language awareness " . This emerging approach aims to support the teaching of a language, in this case the French , drawing in other languages ​​that the school does not intend to teach. Workshop , stakeholders have plays , stories etc. . in foreign languages ​​, relying on those already spoken by children, and put in a position of expertise in the classroom. However, the National Education is hesitant to face the strong language that no competitor in learning idea. If DULALA association, which also offers language awareness activities in schools and nurseries, is supported by the Ministry of Culture , his actions are not yet funded national education. In a different perspective , however , recall that in the late 1970s, the French government had introduced so-called education and language of origin ( ELCO ) in French schools for children culture classes immigrant workers. In the framework of partnerships with countries of emigration , this device would ensure continuity with the original teaching of children, their parents were supposed to leave the country afterwards.

Thirty years later , the European Parliament published a number of resolutions on the integration of foreigners in Europe through multilingual schools (3) and Xavier North , General Delegate of the French language and the languages ​​of France , says that " the challenge today ' hui is to reconcile the language of the republic with the Republic of languages ​​because all languages ​​are equal "(4) . Multilingualism and seems to have the wind in their sails . If the time of the monolingual ideology is over, should not drag a speech that compels parents to multilingualism at all costs. The risk would indeed return them awkwardly to "origin" in which language and identity would be partitioned .

1 Speech at the conference on 24 September 2012 in Montreuil . " Growing up with several languages: how to make bi or multilingualism an asset ? " .

2 . ? [ ] ?

3 . European Parliament resolution on integrating immigrants in Europe through schools and multilingual education [ ]

European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on the education of children of migrants ( 2008/2328 (INI))

4 Intervention at the conference of 24 September 2012 in Montreuil . " Growing up with several languages: how to make bi or multilingualism an asset ? " .

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