Reflecting on the past year...
Photo caption: A picture of the lake at my cottage
It has been a few months since my last post. I’ve been extremely busy at work with a departmental move and with my graduate students who are finishing up their theses! Hang in there guys! I’ve also been working on an article that I hope to see published soon. On a personal level, I’ve been busy with my kids’ extracurricular activities, school projects and just hanging out with them! I’m setting more and more time aside as they get older to spend quality time with them. I learn so much from them when we do and I’ve come to cherish those moments.
Photo caption: My kids and I making sugar cookies for the holidays.
A year has gone by since the launch of this blog and my website and I have so much to be thankful for. The positive feedback I have received from many parents, family members and colleagues is the reason why I look forward to another great year. Over the past twelve months, I have learned so much more about bilingualism, specific language impairment and ADHD. In part due to my personal life and also due to my research and this blog. It has been an exciting year!
My husband can now be seen on social medias, newspapers and on billboards across several cities and towns in North-Eastern Ontario as the poster boy for bilingualism! It’s kind of a long story. In a nutshell, I was approached by my kids’ school board back in December as they searched for a family that had a parent whose kids taught them French as a second language. I didn’t have much time to think about it as they needed to do the photo shoot the following week in order to launch their new campaign right after the holidays. So I said “yes”! Good thing my husband is a good sport. It was fun! A photographer and two staff members came to our house and took pictures of my husband interacting with my daughters. My son chose to opt out of this one but my daughters felt like stars.
Photo caption: My husband, my daughter and the photographer during the photo shoot.
Slogans such as “My daughter is helping me learn French. C’est magnifique” can be seen in airports and on billboards. As part of this campaign, the schools are even offering French as a second language classes to its anglophophone parents and guardians whose children are enrolled in French school, which I think is a fantastic initiative!
Photo caption: Clipping from our local Newspaper.
Speaking of social media, after participating in a French cultural event at my kids’ school, my husband recently posted this comment on Facebook:
“I must admit I'm super impressed with my kids school board CSPGNO (French Public). Besides the fact that I'm the "bilingual mascot" [insert humour] they hold the most amazing French culture events like the Folie Furieuse, an all day French song based lip sing/dance and games. Matt's [my son] school won the dance. I realized afterwards that the English school boards don't need to worry about the loss of their culture and language. Their [French schools] enthusiasm and commitment is contagious.”
When I read his post, it really made me think about how much I take for granted. That even after all these years of us being together, the fact that minority language speakers constantly have to make great efforts to preserve their language and culture was not a concept that he fully appreciated. Well I assure you that after reading my posts (most of them anyway), participating in a bilingualism campaign and taking part in our kids’ cultural activities, he now understands why we francophones fight for our heritage language! I think it gives him a better understanding of the importance of raising our kids bilingually too.
Because that wasn’t enough excitement, I was also invited to post on Speech-Language and Audiology Canada (SAC)’s blog called Communiqué as well as talk about my research on a morning radio show for Radio Canada.
Photo caption: My interview with Radio Canada
All these events made me realize that I truly love what I do. I love spreading the word about the advantages of raising bilingual children and I love knowing that I might be helping children who struggle with language, be it their first or their second language.
To top it off, in less than a month, my students and I (mostly my students) will be presenting our research at Speech-Language and Audiology Canada’s 2016 Conference in Halifax (April 27-30).
You may have noticed that I have also launched the French side of my website and blog. It still needs work, but I’m working on it!
Oh, and did I mention that I pushed my personal limits to the edge? Literally! I did the Edge Walk around the CN Tower back in November! What does this have to do with bilingualism? Nothing. I just had to share since it was pretty darn wild!
Photo caption: The Edge Walk around the CN tower. Just hanging out!
In an effort to keep the ball rolling, I am already thinking ahead to the summer of 2017! I will soon be sending in a proposal to present at the 14th International Congress for the Study of Child Language (IASCL) which will be held in Lyon, France in July 2017. I look forward to being immersed in a French majority country, and eating baguettes and good cheese of course!
This past year was made possible due to your continued support! Thank you for reading! Please continue to share my posts and invite your friends to like my Facebook page. I hope that you will find my posts and handouts useful! Let me know if you would like me to write about anything in particular. I will also be launching a Q & A page shortly so if you have any questions, feel free to ask them by leaving comments below or my emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by messaging me on Facebook.
Chantal Mayer-Crittenden, 2016