For us, early teen researchers, participating in an international language conference was both exciting and daunting! The four-day event which was hosted by our school brought together 500 language teachers from international schools and academic researchers from all over the world. Having an opportunity to present our research through an interactive workshop and a poster presentation was a valuable opportunity to receive feedback about our research, practice presentation skills, share experience and learn about multilingualism.
In this article we are reflecting on:
- Our broadened understanding of multilingualism
- Our workshop: From language stories to research questions
- Our poster presentation
- Great feedback we received
We discovered the value of multilingualism
“The conference really gave me a chance to appreciate languages, learning languages. I learnt so many new ways of looking at multilingualism, and I realised just how important it is in our everyday lives. Before I really did not appreciate that and I took it just as a skill you really don’t need, but now being here it made me realise that I actually do need it, it’s something really great to have. What I’m taking from this conference is that I should start to learn new languages.” - Shirin
“This idea of using your mother tongue, your background to your advantage... that’s one of the main things that I took away” - Lina
“I have never been to anything like this and it’s very exciting. Before the conference I never really thought about multilingualism. You get to meet all these people from different countries and they are all professors or teachers and most of them have done research before, and it’s really cool to meet them because it makes you feel as if your work is on the same level as what they do. It just makes you feel really proud of what you’ve done.” - Cecilia
“It was also cool to speak to people in English and then discover that they were Italian!” – Ludovica
We ran a workshop: From language stories to research questions
In this workshop we presented an overview of our project and gave the participants activities so they could experience our Research Institute work themselves.
We demonstrated how personal language stories can be used as a starting point in the development of a research question. This approach was an integral part of our current research project which focuses on the effect of the summer holidays on fluency in L2 English.
Workshop task: Think about the language you speak, the countries you’ve lived in, and the key language related moments in your life. Map your language experiences as a timeline. Share you language experience, try to identify common themes and come up with some research questions based on the stories.
We presented our research at a poster session
“It was fascinating speaking to people who were passionate about these topics” - Kate
We received great feedback
About the Research Institute
The International School of London Research Institute is an innovative initiative that gives interested Grades 7, 8 and 9 students the opportunity to conduct cutting edge research. The pilot project for 2018-19 has focused on Bilingualism / Multilingualism, a key area of strength and expertise within our school community.