LAL was proud to be invited to take part in the ProLanguage conference held at the American University of Beirut. “The ProLanguage project is a multiple partner project that will address how language and language policies in refugee camps, and in facilities outside refugee camps that are accessible to refugees, can enhance their physical and mental health, act as social protection, enhance their chances for mobility, and facilitate their integration into the destination society.” For three days, AUB hosted researchers and other professionals related to the project to share their research findings and project results, discuss the role of language in refugee settings and connect with each other.
Dr Yasmine El Masri, who used Tabshoura for her research at the University of Oxford took the podium in the Issam Fares Institute Auditorium together with Nayla and Nagi. Creating content in three languages, so that all children in Lebanon can complete the activities regardless of their mother tongue is at the core of what LAL wants to achieve. The Lebanese curriculum however is not always easy to follow in English or French, using complex terminology and idiom for subjects such as Biology or Maths. Yasmine presented some of the conclusions from her research titled “Using Technology in Science Tasks: Reducing Language Barriers for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon”. Nayla and Nagi gave the attendees a quick introduction to LAL, Tabshoura and the role language and language barriers play in Tabshoura. The presentation was concluded with the question which one out of three methods LAL should use to reduce the language barrier: Translate the whole curriculum in Arabic, creating bilingual content were English or French are used a the main language and only key words and difficult instructions are translated into Arabic or
introducing language support activities. Despite that it was the last presentation of the day, several interesting questions from the audience created a dialogue and even an answer to the posed question that suggested that there are methods to use all three of the tools LAL suggested to solve the language barrier issue.
LAL is grateful to Theo Marinis, Lina Choueiri and especially Tamer Amin for the invitation and this wonderful opportunity to present our project and meet with research professionals at least just as dedicated as we are to contribute to better solutions for refugee education. In an effort to start implementing translation solutions straight away, we say thank you very much, shukran ktir et merci beaucoup!