Preserving heritage through language

Whether to be more competitive in a global market or better able to communicate while on vacation, learning a second language can improve a person’s life.

Whether to be more competitive in a global market or better able to communicate while on vacation, learning a second language can improve a person’s life.

Tatiana Poliakevitch said for many immigrants, having their children learn their mother tongue as a second language helps preserve their cultural heritage and enables them to communicate with grandparents.

Poliakevitch has organized a session for people to talk about the need for more second language education in schools, as part of the province’s Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans. The event is set for the Red Deer Public Library’s Snell Auditorium on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“There are not very many opportunities for Chinese or Korean people, or any other ethnic communities, to actually be able to teach their children those languages in schools,” said Poliakevitch, who is the community development librarian at the Red Deer Public Library. “That is what we would like to talk about and write down and send to Alberta Education.”

Poliakevitch said it is people’s right to be able to speak more than one language, especially in the globalized world of today. She said in Red Deer there is a large Filipino community and a Spanish speaking community.

Poliakevitch works with different community organizations to offer programming in the library, including Spanish conversation sessions and multilingual story times. Different groups have spoken to her about the importance of teaching their children their own languages.

In working with the International Heritage Language Association, she found out about the Inspiring Education Dialogue taking place, with Alberta Education looking at how to reshape education in the province.

She thought it would be ideal to share the community’s views on second language education with the dialogue going on.

The event is co-sponsored by the Red Deer Public Library and Conversa Spanish Centre.

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