“Do you speak the language of your school?”

Project Do you understand the school?

Project “Do you speak the language of your school?”
A project for the development of educational resources for additional language training for primary school students whose mother tongue is not Bulgarian

Why this project?
Around 20,000 students dropped out of school in the period 2016/2017 in Bulgaria. Among the most at risk of dropping out are Roma children. 55% of Roma families speak a language other than Bulgarian, and for many multilingual children, learning Bulgarian starts at the age of 5 in kindergarten. In this respect, the situation of Roma children when entering the educational system is extremely unequal and the acquisition of the Bulgarian language should be supported. Proficiency in Bulgarian is a prerequisite for success at school as well as social integration of children. At present, there are not enough materials developed to teach Bulgarian as a second language and to support multilingual children at an early stage.

What are the goals of the project?
Our goal is to help children with a different primary language to systematically learn Bulgarian from pre-school to the end of primary school. Specialized materials for pre-school and first grade students “Bulgarian for Multilingual Children with Drako and Mimi”, developed in accordance with the Bulgarian as second language methodology are already available in Bulgaria. Part of the team working on this project has joined forces to develop materials for other age groups.

Who is our partner?
Teach For Bulgaria is a non-governmental organization working to ensure equal access to quality education for every child. The mission of the organization is to find, train and develop capable and motivated professionals who want to work long-term to ensure positive change in the education in Bulgaria. Teach For Bulgaria was created on the initiative and generous financial support of America for Bulgaria Foundation and is part of the international network Teach For All, whose approach has been successfully applied in 50 other countries across six continents.

In almost every region where Teach For Bulgaria is functional there are students with a mother tongue other than Bulgarian who are struggling at school. Therefore the participants in the program have clearly identified the need for systematic language support for these students and the need for additional teacher training in this area.

What are the phases of the project?
As a first step, specialized language diagnostics will be developed for primary students with a mother tongue other than Bulgarian. We will then create teaching materials for the elementary classes. The materials will be based on modern scientific researches in the field of psycholinguistics, didactics and studies of children’s language development with focus on second language acquisition.

The study materials will then be tested in partner schools of Teach For Bulgaria. We will work closely with the teachers who will be trained in working with the resources and will later provide feedback on the materials’ practical applicability. Based on this feedback they will be further improved. Involving teachers in the process of developing materials is crucial for their effectiveness.

We believe that through joint efforts we will create effective and motivating teaching resources, evoking the desire to learn and communicate in Bulgarian, which in itself will ensure the successful social integration of children.

How was the project financed?
More than 200 people have participated in the Global Giving fundraising campaign and raised over 52,000 euro in just six months. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) also supported the project, doubling all donations for this campaign from private donors to € 50,000. We want to express again our gratitude to all the donors!

Thank you!