Multilingualism: Acquisition and maintenance of heritage and community languages in multilingual Christchurch

(caption for the above picture: Children singing the Indian national anthem at a function marking Hindi Diwas in Christchurch)

As a follow up to their July workshop, Anna Filippochkina of CLANZ (Community Languages Association of New Zealand) and Angela Bland of CANTESOL and TESOLNZ (Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages), organised a second workshop for professional development of community language teachers on September 28. The highlight of the session was a guest lecture by Una Cunningham, Associate Professor at College of Education, University of Canterbury, on "Keeping it real: authenticity, task and meaning-focused language teaching".

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has announced the list of schools, which have been granted ALLiS funding for programmes to start at the beginning of the school year in 2017.   

Asian Language Learning in Schools programme (ALLiS)

The Government has set up ALLiS, a contestable fund, to support the teaching of Asian languages in state and state-integrated schools.
ALLiS will support schools by setting up new, or strengthening existing, Asian language learning programmes. Funding has been allocated to schools or groups of schools, with particular emphasis on those that establish language learning pathways from primary through to secondary. The fund encourages greater collaboration amongst schools in partnership with external Asian language and cultural organisations. Programmes must be self-sustaining once funding ends.

Why was the fund set up?

New Zealand needs to increase the number of students learning Asian languages to support our growing trade and international relationships. International evidence shows learning a second language can also contribute to the development of a student’s literacy skills in their first language. In August 2014, the Government committed a total of $10 million over 5 years to increase second language learning for all students.

Hindi Diwas (Day) celebrated in Chch

The Day commemorates the listing of Hindi as the official language of India along with English, which happened on September 14, 1949. It also marks the efforts put in by successive Indian governments over the years to promote the language as the symbol of Indian unity.

“In New Zealand though, the celebrations have more to do with preserving the Indian culture, history, traditions and language, by passing on the knowledge of Hindi to the younger generation who otherwise are just used to speaking English. That's why we make sure that we celebrate Hindi Diwas every year,” noted Jitender Sahi, one of the trustees of Canterbury Hindi Language Trust, which was founded in 2007 and runs free weekend Hindi classes managed by Kala Nand, a primary school teacher.