Forum of Heritage Language
Coalitions in Europe
FOHLC Europe is an exciting new collaboration between several organizations involved with heritage language education in Europe. We are initiating an annual conference that we hope will become a new tradition of creating connections. It will be a chance for all involved in this area to come together to share expertise and to discuss the needs of our organizations.
What did you like most about the conference?
Feedback from conference attendees in 2021
Everything was great!
Why FOHLC Europe?
The purpose of FOHLC Europe is to bring together once per year umbrella organizations, associations, coalitions, and networks of heritage language (HL) programs, as well as the leaders, managers, and teachers of HL programs in Europe. For example, umbrella organizations and coalitions can bring together HL programs based on shared geographic location (e.g., all HL programs in Iceland) or they can bring together HL programs based on language (e.g., a coalition of Czech HL programs across Europe).
FOHLC Europe offers professional development to HL teachers and managers and we offer networking opportunities to professionals in the field of HL education. While not an academic conference, we invite scholars to bridge academics with our audience.
The goal of organizing an annual conference is provide a platform for exchange ideas about how to:
promote HL education in Europe
promote interest of HL associations (language-based or location-based) in Europe
improve the quality and professionalism of HL education in Europe
map the situation of HL schools in Europe
create connections between HL associations in Europe
support / take part in research in HL education
HL program coordinators
HL program volunteers
Leaders of HL umbrella organizations, associations, and coalitions
Parents of HL learners interested in the topic of HL education
Academics involved in HL education research
Policy makers and government authorities interested in the topic of HL education
FOHLC Europe 2022 is being organized by Móðurmál – the Association on Bilingualism; Heritage Language Education Network; Association pour la Promotion et l'Avancement du Multilinguisme - A.P.A.M (Multilingual Café); Association for the Promotion of Polish Language Abroad (APPLA); the Czech and Slovak School Okénko in London; Agnieszka Pędrak, an independent researcher at Trinity College in Dublin, and Sabine Little, a researcher at the University of Sheffield.
Who We Are
Renata Emilsson Pesková
Renata works as an assistant professor and researcher at the School of Education at the University of Iceland. She comes from the Czech Republic. She has a B.A. degree in Andragogy and Personal Management at Charles University in Prague and an M.A degree from Universität Bayreuth with major in Intercultural Communication / German as a Foreign Language. After teaching English and German at a compulsory school in Reykjavík for seven years, she enrolled as a PhD student at the University of Iceland. The dissertation School experience of plurilingual students: Multiple case study from Iceland explored the interplay of linguistic repertoires and school experience of five students on an elementary school level who attended heritage language classes in community based heritage language schools. Renata’s research interests include plurilingualism and multilingualism, linguistically responsive and plurilingual pedagogies, language policies, heritage language learning in informal, non-formal and formal settings, and linguistic identities. Her research is complemented by her roles as a co-founder and board member of the Czech School in Iceland and is president of Móðurmál – the Association on Bilingualism.
Gisi Cannizzaro is from New Orleans, Louisiana, in the U.S. and speaks English as her mother tongue. She holds a Bachelor's degree in German Studies from Loyola University (2004, New Orleans), an Erasmus Mundus European Master's degree in Theoretical Clinical Linguistics (2007, Groningen, Joensuu, and Potsdam), and a Ph.D. degree in Child Language Acquisition (2012, Groningen). She worked for six years in Eindhoven as an educational consultant helping multilingual, internationally mobile families with children. In 2018 she initiated two projects: one to organize Italian lessons for Italian-speaking children and one to organize a network of heritage language programs in Eindhoven: Heritage Language Education Network. As a part of these projects, she has helped add 500 Italian children’s books to the Eindhoven Library. Together with her Italian husband, Gisi is raising trilingual children (English, Italian, and Dutch).
Isabelle Barth is French, and she works as language consultant. At the age of 18, she won the European Secondary School competition after writing an essay on twinning between cities and the importance of languages. She then spent 10 days in Germany with other young European representing their own country, an unforgettable experience where everything started for her! She holds a DEA in English studies from the University Charles de Gaulle in Lille, and then wrote her first doctorate on "Communications, Arts & Spectacles" in English-speaking Canadian Drama with a specialization on Narratology with the University Michel de Montaigne in Bordeaux. She got her Ph.D. in 1998. In addition, she earned a Professional Master in Translation (2009). She lectured at universities in France, Canada, Ireland as well as with the Open University online. Life took her to Ireland where created L'atelier de français - FLAM (French as mother tongue), a small heritage language school for French-speaking children. It was during that time that she developed interest in plurilingualism and family language policies. She went on to earn a Professional Master in Languages (2012), specialized in language policies, language markets, language politics, teachers' training, and plurilingual education. She is now doing research for a second doctorate exploring the impact of the environment on family language policies and practices among mobile families. She is the Founder and Manager of Multilingual Café (2010) which changed name in 2021 and became the Association pour la Promotion et l'Avancement du Multilinguisme - A.P.A.M (which is still known as Multilingual Café). A.P.A.M.'s mission is to defend the right for each child to be able to receive an education in a language that he/she can understand, and to defend mother tongue and heritage languages. She has her own language company La Maison du Multilinguisme (2012) – where she advises families on their language journey and trains professionals on plurilingual education. Between 2019 and 2021, she was partner in the European Erasmus+ project Planting Languages. She had written articles on topics related to family language policies and plurilingualism, delivered talks and trainings on the same, and created materials and guidebooks for educators and parents. In 2020-2021, she helped setting up FLAM Monde, the world Federation of French heritage language schools, of which she is a board member.
Anna Martowicz was born in Poland and after graduating from the University of Silesia with a MA degree as a linguist and Polish language teacher, she moved to Scotland to undertake her PhD studies in linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. It was during the university years that she developed interest in multilingualism and language acquisition, inspired by her own typological studies on endangered languages across the world and by the work of the Bilingualism Matters Centre that was occupying offices on the other side of the same floor. Following her graduation, she got involved in teaching Polish as a heritage language, developing teaching materials, helping establish Polish supplementary schools and Polish libraries. She became a member of the Polish Education Committee at the Consulate of the Republic of Poland in Edinburgh and Cross-Party Group on Poland at the Scottish Parliament. In 2014 she founded the Association for the Promotion of Polish Language Abroad (APPLA) and has been a CEO of it since then. She initiated and delivered the “Give your child the gift of your native language” information campaign (supported and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland) among Polish communities in 11 European countries. Over the years she has written research articles on topics related to heritage language acquisition and multilingualism, prepared teaching materials and guidebooks for parents and teachers of multilingual children, delivered numerous talks and lectures and worked closely with a number of universities and Polish organizations across Europe and beyond. In 2018 she returned to Poland but remains actively engaged with issues of multilingualism and heritage language initiatives through her work as a deputy director at Regent College International Schools in Elblag and a member of the Department of Polish Language Didactics at Polish University Abroad (London). Between 2019 and 2021 she was a partner in the Planting Languages project funded by Erasmus+.
Jana is from the Czech Republic and lives in London. She has a BA in Legal Studies, a MSc in Gender studies (Birkbeck College), and a MPhil in Czech literature and nationalism (UCL). Since 2001 she has taught at University of Bristol Czech language, culture, politics and history. In 2012 she established the Czech and Slovak School Okénko in London, which she runs and where she also teaches. She focuses on promotion of all aspects of Czech and Slovak culture, from arts, folklore, history to literature, in particular on developing reading skills. She oversaw modernization of Okenko International library which consequently received a prize in the Czech republic.
Jana cooperates with various organizations and initiatives in the UK as well as abroad on cultural and educational events. She is a chair of the Association of Czech and Slovak schools in the U.K. She organizes cultural events for British Czech and Slovak Association in UK as well as in cooperation with Memorial Association for Free Czechoslovak Veterans, Velehrad and others. She is also involved with an international project My Czech school, and contributes to an international Czech children’s magazine Krajanek, which focuses on supporting and promoting bilingual education of Czech children abroad.
Trinity College Dublin
Agnieszka is an independent researcher currently studying for her PhD degree in Applied Linguistics at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Agnieszka has a keen interest in heritage language education and childhood bilingualism in the context of migration. She has several years of experience in teaching Polish language and culture in supplementary schools across Ireland and co-organizing various events for local multilingual/migrant communities, such as: conferences for HL teachers, talks for parents and teachers of bilingual children, festival events promoting bi-/multilingualism and many educational projects aiming at enhancing children's bilingual skills and their motivation to embrace their heritage languages.
University of Sheffield, U.K.
Dr. Sabine Little is a Senior Lecturer in Languages Education at the University of Sheffield, U.K., where her work focuses on the links between multilingualism, identity, and belonging. She works holistically with families, heritage language schools, and mainstream schools to better understand the needs of multilingual children. Through this work, she aims to improve our understanding of how children growing up multilingually develop their identities, as well as the emotional and pragmatic links to their respective languages. When working with schools, she helps teachers to develop strategies for engaging children’s multiple languages meaningfully in the classroom, to develop their full linguistic repertoire. Some of this work is available on www.multilingualism-in-schools.net. She also works on literacy development – her work in establishing a multilingual children’s library was awarded the International Brenda Eastwood Award for Diversity and Inclusion.
The full story behind FOHLC Europe
Móðurmál - the Association on Bilingualism is a non-profit umbrella organization that support heritage language teaching in Iceland. Móðurmál organized annual conferences for its member schools since 2013. The aim of the annual conference was to provide professional development to HL teachers from member schools, offer a venue for networking, and to provide answers to the schools´ needs. Foreign lecturers discussed topics such as: strategies to stimulate language development in classes with students with mixed skill levels and other ways to improve instruction, comparisons of mother tongue instruction in Sweden and Canada, drama methods in teaching, development of HL curricula, how to include sustainable development goals into HL programs, and online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual conferences of Móðurmál presented research, projects carried out by HL groups, HL teachers´ practical experience, as well as practical workshops for improving HL teaching. Gradually, lecturers from Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, and Canada visited Iceland, i.e., Olenka Bilash, Deirdre Kirwan, Barbara Day, Ann Reath Warren, and in 2020, lectures from Australia and from Ireland gave talks. These international meetings and online access to the 2020 conference of Community Based Heritage Language Schools in the United States as well as other professional development for HL teachers organized around the globe brought together coordinators and leader who had until then worked separately in their local contexts.
In 2020, Mother Tongues in Dublin and Móðurmál in Reykjavík jointly organized an annual conference (2020 Heritage Language Education Conference) that was targeted to their respective member HL schools, as well as to guests from other countries. This collaboration was successful, with about 70 participants, and the feedback from participants was positive. Attending a conference with participants from multiple countries and the exchange of international experiences proved to be more satisfactory than attending a local conference. Out of this collaboration, the idea was born to continue co-organizing the annual HL conference in Europe and to establish a collaboration of associations, coalitions, and umbrella organizations of HL languages in Europe. The groups agreed to convene annually via the new “Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions Europe” (FOHLC Europe).”
FOHLC Europe presented
Emilsson Peskova, R. (July 25, 2022). FOHLC Europe (Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions in Europe). XIV. mezinárodní konference českých škol v zahraničí 2022 [XIV. International Conference of the Czech Schools without Borders], 25-29 July, 2022. Prague, Czech Republic. https://csbh.cz/konference-ceskych-skol-v-zahranici/xiv-mezinarodni-konference-ceskych-skol-v-zahranici-2022/
FOHLC Europe. (1 March 2023). Forum of Heritage Language Coalitions in Europe [Conference presentation]. Roundtable: Engaging with Language as Heritage, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom. https://www.ntu.ac.uk/about-us/events/events/2023/3/roundtable-engaging-with-language-as-heritage
FOHLC Europe. (21 April 2023). FOHLC - Heritage Language Schools in Europe [Conference presentation]. Multilingual theories and practices (MTP20) International Conference, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland. https://mtpdublin.home.blog/