Director appointed for new Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism
Director of the new Centre will be Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller, currently Professor of Second Language Education.
A new Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism will be launched at Reading in early September, bringing together a range of world class experts with the intention of creating an internationally renowned hub for research into linguistic, psychological, clinical and educational aspects of multilingualism and literacy.
Director of the new Centre will be Professor Jeanine Treffers-Daller, who is currently Professor of Second Language Education, based in the Institute of Education.
“Although there is a lot of research on bilingualism, relatively little is known about multilingualism and yet much of the world’s population is multilingual, as is a growing proportion of the UK population. In Reading itself, 30% of children in primary schools are bilingual or multilingual (national average 17.5%) and this brings challenges for the education system as well as many potential benefits to society. The focus of the Centre will be on looking at the positives relating to multilingualism such as the benefits in cognitive control, language acquisition and the benefits to global enterprise.
“The University already has a strong base on which to build a successful Centre and with a number of new international appointments funded through the Academic Investment Programme, we will be in a strong position to become a leading centre.
“What will truly distinguish us from other international centres, however, is our unique approach to the interface between multilingualism and literacy. Literacy is crucially important for a person’s educational and professional career chances but its role in multilinguals is under-researched. Multilingualism provides opportunities to improve literacy in a first language which will act as a stronger foundation on which to make better progress in other languages.
“We aim to build partnerships with the private sector, develop a parallel Centre in multilingual Malaysia as part of the University’s presence there, hold training events for PhD students and public engagement events for teachers, speech and language therapists and parents of multilingual children. Ultimately, I would like the Centre to be a source of impactful research for policy makers, employers, teachers, test developers and community organisations.”
The new Centre will be based in the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, from where training sessions will be run, but activities will take place in Psychology, the Institute of Education and Applied Linguistics. Membership of the Centre will be open to staff in the Faculty of Life Sciences and the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science.
Jeanine Treffers-Daller is herself a good example of multilingualism. She is Dutch and has lived and worked in Turkey and Germany as well as the UK. She is married to a German and her children are fluent in three languages. She joined the University of Reading 18 months ago having worked most recently in the University of the West of England as Professor of Linguistics. More about Jeanine
The Centre will be launched on 3 September prior to a British Psychological Society conference taking place at Reading that week.
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 – Source: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/staffportal/news/articles/spsn-491250.aspx