Why I joined the Rutu Foundation

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Language discrimination is often invisible to most people. I never really thought about it, until I read something about the language barrier in academic literature on international relations by Ole Weaver. He criticised this discipline because almost all theories, books and ideas on international relations that are considered relevant were (and still are) produced by white, American and European men.

After reading this, I felt a little uncomfortable and I had to read it again. I looked through my old textbooks and articles that I had to read for my other IR classes and it was incredible: how could I not have noticed the fact that they were all written by the same kind of person? How could I not have second-guessed the theories but always considered them to be ‘fact’? I thought I was a critical student, but this was apparently not the case.

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How bilingualism affected my school career

Jahk

|Lees Jahkini’s verhaal in het Nederlands|

Let me introduce myself. My name is Jahkini and I am currently enrolled in a bilingual education programme at my high school. Furthermore, I am an active member of the student council and I also work at an Ethiopian restaurant. My mother is from a small town in the Netherlands and speaks Dutch. My father, on the other hand, was born in what is formerly known as British Guyana. In Guyana they speak English. The Guyanese version of English is comparable to Jamaican English, as they both sometimes grammatically differ from standard English. At home I speak English with my father and Dutch with my mother.

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When children are not allowed to use their home language in the classroom, they lose an important strategy to help them learn. When I was invited to give a presentation for about 150 teachers who teach Dutch as a second language in Amsterdam, I decided to introduce the concept of ‘translanguaging’. To…

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