Report on seminars - University of Brasov
UTBV team organised two seminars for the dissemination of the partial results of the MERIDIUM project:
1. on the 27-th of May, in Fagaras, for school managers, teachers of foreign languages, and primary school teachers;
2. on the 28-th of May, in Brasov, for representatives of the local institutions, NGO’s, and business sector; for this seminar, speakers were invited from the following multinational companies and ethnic organisations: BPO industry, Centre for Information and Counseling for Migrants, IPSOS multinational company, LMS multinational company, CGS multinational company, the County Library, Musashino Cultural Centre, Ormenis Interethnic Community Association (see Seminars report PDF).
In preparation for the seminars, publicity materials have been produced:
- A5 posters advertising the seminars;
- Invitations (with the programs attached: Fagaras; Brasov) to the management departments in the university, to the directors of schools involved in the project, to the School Inspectorate, to the County Council, to the Local Council – social services department, to the National Statistics Institute;
2. Fagaras Seminar
The workshop organised in Fagaras on the 27th of May was meant for the dissemination of the partial results of the Brasov team members to primary school teachers and foreign language teachers. To this aim, we invited first of all the primary school teachers whose pupils provided information in the questionnaires we had administered. Apart from them, other primary school teachers and foreign language teachers from all over the Brasov County had been invited. Altogether there were 36 participants in the workshop, two of them being foreigners (an Englishman and an American, both teaching English in Romanian schools and both having been invited to the workshop by colleagues of theirs).
The morning session of the workshop consisted mainly in the presentation of the project by the Romanian team, each member giving a talk on one important part of it. Thus, Liliana Coposescu, the team coordinator gave the audience a general presentation of the project (PPT), Elena Buja provided a summary of the Country report (PPT), Gabriela Cusen focused on the Context Analysis (PPT), while Luiza Mesesan Schmitz presented the Data analysis (PPT). The project presentation was followed by discussions on the main issues the project focussed on, namely the migration experience, language attitudes and the problems of the returnees.
The afternoon session started with a short presentation of the two brochures the project had produced (for children and adults). Since the participants showed interest in the brochure for children, we all turned for a short while into children, trying to answer the questions found in it. Most of the audience members seemed willing to use it in class.
In the second part of the session, the audience was divided into two small groups, depending on whether the teachers had any returnees in their classes or not. Thus, the group of teachers (irrespective of whether they were foreign language teachers or primary school teachers) who did not have any returnees in the classes they teach, were given a shortened form of the questionnaires meant for adults to fill in. Our aim was to identify their attitude towards foreign languages. For the second group (teachers who have returnees in their classes) we devised a questionnaire aimed at finding out if the returnees have problems in adapting to the Romanian school system and if they are helped in any respect by their teachers and class-mates to integrate. In each group, the teachers discussed the items in the questionnaires for which different answers were provided, and then one member of each group briefly presented their most relevant findings, which stirred a second round of discussions. The data provided by both sets of questionnaires will be analysed and used for a presentation at the international conference to be held in October, in Perugia.
3. Brasov Seminar
The workshop, whose main topic was ‘Integration by multilingualism’, started at 9.00 on May, 28, 2011. Altogether there were 37 participants. The opening speeches were given by Prof. Andrei Bodiu, dean of the Faculty of languages and literatures and Dr, Liliana Coposescu, leader of the Brasov MERIDIUM Project team. They both welcomed the participants and expressed satisfaction for the participation of the Brasov team of researchers in the MERIDIUM Project.
Next, the project was presented by the team. Thus, Dr. Coposescu gave a general presentation of the international project ‘Multilingualism in Europe as a Resource for Immigration. Dialogue Initiative among Universities of the Mediterranean’ and focused mainly on the aims of the project, the six participant countries and work done so far. She also mentioned the work done by the two Romanian teams participating in the project: Transilvania University of Brasov and Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. Dr. Elena Buja was the next presenter and she introduced the audience to the Romanian country report. The aim of this report is to examine the demographic and linguistic elements characteristic of Romania. They are necessary features for the evaluation of the country’s migratory profile and its emigration policy. The next team member, Dr. Gabriela Cusen gave a presentation of the context analysis and focused on ethnic diversity and the criteria for the selection of the rural and urban areas where the study was conducted. Finally, Ms. Luiza Mesesan-Schmitz, the sociologist of the team from Transilvania University of Brasov, discussed the partial analysis of the data collected for the study and insisted on the corpus collected by means of questionnaires administered to children aged 10/11 (4th graders).
Section 1: Socio-cultural integration of local ethnic minority’s emigrant communities
The introductory part of the workshop was followed by Section 1: Socio-cultural integration of local ethnic minority’s emigrant communities. The presentations given by Hiroko Ushimura (PPT), Dorel Dima (PPT), Astrid Hamberger (PPT) and Claudia Popescu (PPT) focused attention on the issues of integration strategies for Japanase communities, Rromani language as defining element in the development of Rroma children’s personality, the role of the Centre for Migrant Counselling in informing and adivising possible migrants in Romania and the involvement of the Brasov County Library in matters of multilingualism, respectively. These four presentations were followed by a questions and answers session where the issues mentioned above were discussed and completed by members of the audience.
Section 2: Integration by multilingualism: good practices
Section 2 of the workshop included presentations by Ms. Anca Gadici BPO Industry Project Manager and Ms. Claudia Cặldặrar, representative of IPSOS. They both shared their experience and offered examples of good practices in multilingual work contexts (PPT). The discussion that followed concentrated on the role of the knowledge of multiple languages in shaping people’s identity both at the workplace and in everyday life.
The seminar ended with conclusions drawn by the leader of Brasov MERIDIUM team and thanks extended to all the participants for both their feedback on the activity of the team and their sharing of good practices.
4. Evaluation Questionnaires [pdf]
For the Fagaras Integration through Multilingualism Workshop there were 35 respondents. In order to quantify the level of satisfaction provided by the workshop, a scale from 1 to 5 was used, 1 representing the minimum level of satisfaction and 5 the maximum level of satisfaction.
• For the first question, ‘Did the workshop raise to the level of your expectations?’, 91,43% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 8,57% offered 4 points
• For the second item, ‘Please evaluate the presentations.’, there were four sub items:
- For the first sub item, ‘Were they well prepared?’, 94,29% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 5,71% offered 4 points
- For the second sub item, ‘Were they informative?’, 94,29% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 5,71% offered 4 points
- For the third sub item, ‘Were they interesting and useful?’, 97,14% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 2,86% offered 4 points
- For the fourth sub item, ‘Were they easy to understand?’, 97,14% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 2,86% offered 4 points
• For the third item, ‘Please rate the event on a scale from 1 to 5.’, 97,14% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 2,86% offered 4 points
• For the fourth item, ‘Please use the space left to make any other comments.’, one respondent made the observation that s/he noticed that children in her school are confronted with similar issues and another respondent found the presentations not only instructive but also relevant for the children’s problems.
For the Brasov Integration through Multilingualism Workshop there were 19 respondents.
• For the first question, ‘Did the workshop raise to the level of your expectations?’, 84,21% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 15,79% offered 4 points
• For the second item, ‘Please evaluate the presentations.’, there were four sub items:
- For the first sub item, ‘Were they well prepared?’, 94,74% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 5,26% offered 4 points
- For the second sub item, ‘Were they informatory?’, 89,47% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 10,53% offered 4 points
- For the third sub item, ‘Were they interesting and useful?’, 78,95% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 21,05% offered 4 points
- For the fourth sub item, ‘Were they easy to understand?’, 84,21% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 15,79% offered 4 points
• For the third item, ‘Please rate the event on a scale from 1 to 5.’, 94,74% offered 5, the maximum number of points and 5,26% offered 4 points
• For the fourth item, ‘Please use the space left to make any other comments’, one respondent wrote that investigating multilingualism should be institutionalized and another respondent raised the following rhetorical questions which are the consequences of immigration; what can we do about it in the future?
Our feeling is that the two seminars were successful, by the discussions stirred, the interest shown in the outcomes of the project (especially the children brochures). Thus, the foreign language inspector requested brochures to be delivered to all schools in Brasov, and the ethnic organizations and the association for migrants also asked for more brochures. However, we expected more teachers from the schools involved in the project to attend the Fagaras seminar.