Today at the 115th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, my advisee Sirad Shirdon is presenting our paper ‘The co- and re-construction of classroom competence in a Somali-centric Kindergarten’. We are part of the panel Language Socialization in Classrooms: Culture, Interaction, and Development, organized by Matthew Burdelski and Kathryn Howard and invited by the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG). The panel previews an volume edited by Matt and Kathy, to be published by Cambridge.
The edited volume Navigating Languages, Literacies and Identities: Religion in Young Lives has come out! Edited by Vally Lytra, Dinah Volk, and Eve Gregory, the volume showcases innovative research at the interface of religion and multilingualism, with an analytical focus on religion in children and adolescents’ everyday lives and experiences. I have a chapter on my research in northern Cameroon and Central Ohio.
I will be participating in a workshop this coming week at the Lorentz Center in Leiden. Child development research has been dominated by studies in western urban societies. The aim of the workshop ‘Children Seen and Heard across the Globe‘ is to bring together a small group of scholars working with hard-to-reach non-Western communities in order to build interdisciplinary collaborations around the collection and analysis of video data sets from these communities. This week-long workshop follows up on the NIAS workshop held in April-May 2015.
Today I give a talk for the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. The talk, ‘Moving across languages and learning traditions’, will be in 16:00 – 17:00 in Eyckhof 3/005. I will present my research on the social and cultural patterning of language learning in three multilingual African communities. In the late 1990s I was a visiting scholar in African Languages and Linguistics at Leiden University, and I am excited to see old friends and hear about the exciting work they are doing now.
My advisee Sirad Shirdon has been awarded a scholarship from the Dr. Charles R. Hancock Graduate Scholarship Fund in Urban Education. She will use the scholarship for her research on Kindergarten readiness among Somali children in Central Ohio. Sirad plans to take an ethnographically informed approach to the study of parent, school, and community understandings of Kindergarten readiness and how these understandings are enacted in practice. This study will build on Sirad’s work on my longitudinal study of language and literacy socialization and development among Somali immigrant-refugee children in the early elementary grades.
I just participated in a double panel, ‘Language and the Immigrant Experience of Children and Youth’ at the 2013 Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Organized by Inmaculada M. García-Sánchez (Temple University) and sponsored by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, the panel brought together language ethnographers to examine the experiences of immigrant children and youth (Somali, North African, Vietnamese, indigenous Mayans, Romanians, Turkish, Iranian, Mexican) in an integrated fashion and in a number of cross-cultural settings. My paper “Making African storybooks culturally relevant and culturally marked in a Kindergarten classroom in a Somali-centric school” examines the use in read alouds of storybooks that depict Africa and Africans in Kindergarten in a charter school that serves primarily the children of Somali refugees who have resettled in a large US midwestern city.
On Saturday, April 13, 2013, The Ohio State University at Mansfield and the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosts its one-day conference “Empowering and Engaging Diverse Perspectives: A P-16 Approach” to encourage discussion and critical thinking on issues of diversity and inclusion in the P-16 educational pipeline. The morning keynote speaker is Dr. Bob Moses, founder of the Algebra Project. I am the afternoon keynote speaker, and my talk is ‘Expanding repertoires of practice: Educational experiences of children in the Somali Diaspora’.
OSU hosts NCTEAR this year. My Second Language and Literacy Lab (SL3) group have a work-in-progress session on Saturday, February 16, 1:45-3:15 in Arps 100. In our session, ‘Multiple Perspectives on Talk around Storybook Read-alouds in a Kindergarten Classroom’, we discuss our collaborative work on 23 read alouds recorded in a Kindergarten classroom in a charter school that serves primarily the children of Somali refugees who have resettled in Central Ohio. Sirad Shirdon, Se Jeong Yang, Tanti Sari, and Ani Pujiastuti will present their analyses, each having taken a different analytic approach to the read aloud data. We will then discuss our efforts to integrate these different insights into read alouds as key sites for constructing meaning and developing cultural/linguistic minority children’s familiarity and facility with English language and literacy practices.
OSU offers an undergraduate minor in Somali language and culture. For more information about the Somali language program at OSU, please contact Jibril Mohamed or Mohammed Omer at (614)292-0758 or by e-mail at Mohamed.firstname.lastname@example.org.
A high school in the Minneapolis public school system has begun offering Somali heritage language classes, likely the first public school in the U.S. to do so. At South High School, where the Somali classes are offered, nearly 60 students are registered in two class periods, one that focuses on Somali language and another on culture. Check out the story on CBS and Hiraan.