Wednesday, 13 July 2016

(Not) communicating

Matt, communicating at a recent learning community event!
No, the blog is not dead, it's just been forever (well, a year at least) since we posted. There are many excuses we could give for why that is, including laziness or malaise, but ultimately it's a work thing.

I've been reflecting on how increasingly my work involves communications within and from my team, thinking about what information we need to share, with whom, and how we can share it most effectively. Particularly as I'm responsible for facilitating and encouraging a diverse learning community across Asia and beyond, I try and ensure that my team are regularly sharing helpful links, resources and updates on issues that are relevant to the teams we support. Since this is how I spend a lot of my working day, I guess it is easy for our personal communication through this blog to get relegated to a 'rainy day'.

Thinking about this some more, however, I wondered whether some of the things I share through my work might actually be interesting to post here - if nothing else but to give you a feel for the kind of resources and topics I work with on a daily basis. So, below are a few of the recent links, resources and news that I've been involved in sharing through our learning network. I hope this both encourages you about the work that is ongoing with minority people throughout Asia, and helps you get a better feel for the kinds of things we are involved in supporting through our work. Do try clicking on some of the links and exploring some of the exciting opportunities that are going on right now. Any questions about anything you read, leave a comment or drop us an email and we'd be very happy to try and answer them!

A lovely example of community action:
“I didn’t make this film to become famous,” he says. “Our language is nearing extinction. It is my mother tongue. I can’t give you a reason why I love it.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/31/indian-film-makers-try-to-save-saurashtrian-language-from-extinction

Great to see the conclusion of another successful LEAD Asia supported event. http://www.sil.org/about/news/reimagining-education

Do you known anyone who might be interested in applying for this grant for developing a Guidebook on Game Development for Early Literacy Learning in Developing Countries? ‪#‎funding‬

Within bilingual or multilingual education work, the involvement of stakeholders is so crucial. LEAD Asia will teach a workshop to train people to facilitate discussions 12-18 October. If you know education officials in your country who would benefit from this training, share this link with them: http://www.leadimpact.org/event-details/lead-training-event-encouraging-stakeholder-participation-in-mle

A helpful blog on the 'status' of the ‪#‎SDGs‬. Good to see one of the key topics at our last CoP event - developing national networks and coalitions - highlighted as an important part of realising the Sustainable Development Goals. https://theright2happiness.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/so-the-sdgs-are-agreed-what-now/

This looks like an interesting free event. Could you join in online and share your experiences? https://www.odi.org/events/4387-leave-no-one-behind-starting-now

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

A busy summer

While for many July and August mean holidays or a quieter period at work, here in Gloucester it’s been a busy time both at home and work. With the baby due any day now we’ve been trying to fit in seeing as many friends as possible (notably with trips to Sheffield and Thame), catching up with some people we haven’t seen for far too long. It’s been great to hear people's news, see (rapidly) growing children, and enjoy time in some places that still mean a lot to us. At the same time, it’s been nice to come back from these trips to our current home. Liz and Levi have been making the most of the holidays, doing lots of activities with friends and getting as much fresh air as they can.

At work, Matt has been trying to get as much as possible done ahead of taking a couple of weeks paternity leave after the birth. His team’s next community of practice learning event is taking place at the beginning of September and Matt has again been responsible for coordinating event preparations. Over 50 participants from across Asia will be meeting in Bangkok to share and learn about ‘Advocating for multilingual education’ (find out what this is about here) and so it should be a really exciting time. Working on the preparations this time round has been particularly bittersweet for Matt since he won’t be able to be at the event despite it being a topic so close to his heart. Thankfully Matt has got a great team working together on the event and so is confident they’ll do a great job facilitating it without him! Please do pray for the team as they prepare for and then run this event and for all the participants as they travel from their places of work, learn together, and then return to communities to share and implement their learning.

Aside from looking forward to our new arrival any day now, we are also looking forward to September and a new academic year. Levi will start going to playgroup 1 full day and 3 mornings a week and Matt will be teaching a new group of Wycliffe recruits, helping prepare them for their work with minority communities around the world. It’s always exciting to be part of the beginning of people’s journey as they get ready to serve God and communities in some of the most forgotten parts of the world. Please pray for us as we do our part to prepare them well, both technically and spiritually, and for the students as they take this significant step of faith.

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Monday, 4 May 2015

Investing for the future


As a colleague said this week during the introductory class of the ‘Multilingual Education’ module:
“As staff here in Gloucester we really like this course, partly because it’s a subject that we’re passionate about… but also because it comes at a time of year when the seasons are changing and summer feels just around the corner.”
She couldn’t have been more right. As we start the final taught class of this year's Masters programme here in Gloucester, it feels somehow fitting that the trees and flowers should be bursting into new life. In our small class of five students we have a wide range of backgrounds, work contexts, and expectations represented. What they all do have in common, however, is a hope that the seeds of time and effort that they are investing now will one day burst into flower, both in their lives and the lives of the communities they work with.

Although it is often a privilege to see students mature in their understanding around a topic, teaching can also sometimes feel like a major responsibility. The students we have with us are keen to learn and to find answers to their many questions. It can feel disappointing and inadequate to so frequently have to answer with: “well, it depends". Because, of course, the kinds of issues we are wrestling with are complex and vary so much depending on the context. They involve difficult issues such as how people actually learn to read/write multiple languages and what a multilingual curriculum should look like, and even more difficult issues like how people feel about the languages they use and what the government thinks education should actually be for!

Of course many of these issues, although we might be able to identify some of them, are well beyond our control. We can influence some things, but beyond that we must trust that bigger change is possible and will come about through hard work and prayer - at the right time. Indeed change is a funny thing, something that is often impossible to see in the moment but clearly identifiable when reflecting back on a period.

As we enter another big period of change as a family, looking ahead to becoming four, we give thanks for all the things we have learnt as a family of three. We give thanks for you and your support of us and the work we are involved in, and we look forward to seeing the new seeds in our and your lives burst into flower at the perfect time.

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Monday, 2 February 2015

Seasons of life

It feels like we are entering a new season here in Gloucester - thankfully one that is very exciting! In October, when I (Liz) began volunteering at a local school and Levi started playgroup life suddenly felt very different. For the first time in a while I was able to look up and out from my daily life of details and had space to think, dream and to help others (aside from fulfilling the needs of a toddler that is!).

Now, at the start of a new year (well, kind of!) we have learnt that 2015 will bring another big change - we are expecting a baby in the summer! We receive this news with both excitement and trepidation! For a while we have wanted to make our family a four, for Levi to have a sibling to care for and (hopefully!) play with one day. But at the same time we have both had to wrestle with the fear that we will feel like we are going back to the challenges we faced in 2012 when Levi was a newborn. Anxiety, illness, depression, loneliness, and exhaustion are not things which we are in a hurry to repeat!

Of course the challenge is for us to remember that things are different now to how they were three years ago. Now we are settled in Gloucester rather than moving to a new place, we have friends and support around us, we are getting established in a church, my health is better than it was then and we have learnt a lot in the last few years. It is still scary but we know God will carry us through as He did then and He gives us hope for the future. I choose to believe we are not going backwards; this is a new season and God is doing a new thing!

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