The start of a busy conference season for Multilingual Matters

7 March 2017

Laura at NABE 2017Last month I kick-started our 2017 conference attendance with a trip to the National Association of Bilingual Education
conference. Last year’s conference was in Chicago and this year the gathering moved south to the warmer climate of Dallas, Texas. Fresh off the press (so much so that I had to take them in my suitcase!) and highlights of the Multilingual Matters’ stand were Mahoney’s new book The Assessment of Emergent Bilinguals and the 6th edition of our bestselling textbook Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, which is now co-authored by Colin Baker and Wayne E. Wright (you can read more about that collaboration on our blog here).

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Next up on the Multilingual Matters conference schedule come the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) and TESOL conferences and our editorial team will be heading to those gatherings which are due to take place on the west coast in Portland and Seattle later in March. We very much enjoyed our last trip to Portland for AAAL in 2014 and are looking forward to a bustling few days at the conferences. A particular highlight of the AAAL calendar will be the celebration that we’re hosting during the Monday afternoon coffee break at AAAL, to which all delegates are invited.

On return to the UK, Anna will be attending the iMean conference which is hosted right on our doorstep at the University of West of England, in Bristol. Jo Angouri is one of the organisers of the conference and also one of the series editors of our new Language at Work series. We are looking forward to introducing the delegates to the first book in the series, Medical Discourse in Professional, Academic and Popular Settings edited by Pilar Ordóñez-López and Nuria Edo-Marzá, which was published last year.

Later in the spring we’ll be exhibiting at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in San Antonio, Texas and then in the summer we’ll be crossing the waters to Ireland for the International Symposium on Bilingualism, which is to be hosted by the University of Limerick.

We very much hope to see you at a conference somewhere this spring – please drop by the stand and say hello if you see us!

Laura


National Association of Bilingual Education convention 2015 in Las Vegas!

17 March 2015

I’ve just got back to the office from the first Multilingual Matters conference of the year – the National Association of Bilingual Education (NABE) convention, which this year took place in glittering Las Vegas. NABE conferences have a history of being in wacky places – the first time I attended it was held in Disneyworld, Florida – but I’m always impressed by how the delegates manage to abstain from the temptations of the host city and make the conference a success.

Laura at the NABE book stand

Laura at the NABE book stand

We had our usual stand in the exhibition hall where I had special displays for some of our new books. Fresh off the press, and very popular with the delegates, was Latino Immigrant Youth and Interrupted Schooling: Dropouts, Dreamers and Alternative Pathways to College by Marguerite Lukes. One delegate absentmindedly picked up a copy while waiting for me to complete his order form (for another purchase) and was so engrossed in the stories that he ended up purchasing a copy too! The new 4th edition of Colin Baker’s bestselling book A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism proved to be as popular as expected, as did the Spanish version of a former edition of the book, which was translated by Alma Flor Ada.

The Bilingual Advantage

The Bilingual Advantage

However, by far the bestselling book of the conference was The Bilingual Advantage: Language, Literacy and the US Labor Market edited by Rebecca M. Callahan and Patricia C. Gándara. Patricia gave the final keynote presentation of the conference during which she portrayed the book as a detective story. She explained how the book looks for something that we think must exist (that bilingualism is a labour advantage) but for which there is no evidence. By posing numerous questions, such as which languages are acknowledged as an economic force and whether the background of the language speaker makes a difference to the perceived value of their language abilities, the contributors of the work set out to uncover the truth about the value of bilingualism to both individuals and society.

The excitement was palpable in the hall as Patricia led us through the studies presented in the book to the finding that balanced bilingualism is associated with a host of really important outcomes and that losing bilingualism comes at a cost for society. The conclusion that it is not a waste of money to educate children bilingually was met with a round of applause and everyone left the hall feeling armed with proof to support any claim otherwise. I had a small stand outside the hall displaying the books and was delighted as a long queue of delegates formed, each one eager to get a copy of the work.

Before Patricia Gandara’s keynote speech, State Senator Ricardo Lara (from California’s 33rd District) was awarded the NABE Citizen of the Year award for his significant work on improving educational equality and opportunities for all students. Ricardo is an advocate for multilingual education and has created the California EdGE Initiative (Education for a Global Economy), which will go to a vote in 2016. If passed, California’s English-only instruction mandate in public schools (prop 227) will be amended. The evidence reported in the book can be used to convince the public of the benefits for individuals and society of the maintenance of the home language and that it is time to remedy the damage done by prop 227. Patricia Gandara ended her keynote by reminding us that while what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in California often does not stay in California and there may be implications of this vote outside California.

Laura being welcomed to Las Vegas!

Laura being welcomed to Las Vegas!

As for Las Vegas, well, what a venue for a conference! Outside of the conference hours I tried to get a feel for all that the city had to offer and do something different every evening. Most of the attractions are in the numerous hotels: I rode a rollercoaster in one; went up the tallest freestanding tower in the USA in another and saw Britney Spears perform live in a third! I am also proud to be leaving Las Vegas $15 richer than when I arrived, having had a bit of luck on the roulette! I tore myself away from the temptations of the casinos to return home for a week, before the next round of conferences begins. Look out for Tommi at GURT this week, or Kim, Tommi and me at AAAL in Toronto the week after as our spring travel schedule hots up!

Laura


Conferences Fast-forward

28 February 2014

Again it’s the time of year when we start to think about conferences and leaving our office in Bristol for different cities, countries and climates.  2014 is set to be a bumper year of travel as it seems to be the year when biannual and triennial conferences occur, and some one-off conferences also join our usual schedule.

San Diego Convention Center - location for NABE 2014

San Diego Convention Center – location for NABE 2014

The year has kick-started with CAUTHE and NABE, both of which took place as usual in February.  Sarah and Laura headed off in different directions around the globe – Sarah to Brisbane for CAUTHE and Laura to San Diego for NABE.  Keep your eyes on the blog to read about Sarah’s trip soon. NABE was slightly blighted by the snow storms on the East Coast which meant that several delegates had to cancel their plans, but those of us who did make it enjoyed the Californian sunshine, when we weren’t at the conference of course!

In March, Tommi, Laura and Kim will be at AAAL as usual.  This year’s conference in Portland has a publishing focus, so Tommi will be running a session titled “Publishing your first book: From proposal to published product” in which he’ll outline the process of getting an academic book published, from early preparation and planning, through choosing the right publisher, submitting a book proposal and all the editorial stages to final production, publication, sales and marketing. If you are at the conference and at all interested in this subject please come along to the talk at 12:35 on Saturday.

Our stand at NABE 2014

Our stand at NABE 2014

TESOL in Portland and AERA in Philadelphia are the other conferences in the US which we’ll be exhibiting at this spring.  We will have a whole host of new titles with us at these conferences so do feel free to come over and browse the books and say hi.  We always offer a special conference price on our books to delegates, and this year we’re able to extend that to our ebooks, so there’s all the more reason to come over and say hi!

Other highlights later in the year include the Interdisciplinary Tourism Research Conference in Turkey in May, L3 and the Sociolinguistics Symposium both in Northern Europe in June, AILA in Australia in August and EUROSLA in York, UK to name a few. As ever, we very much hope that you’ll be able to meet us at one of these conferences and hope that you have safe and enjoyable travels too.

Laura


Tommi and Laura visit Toronto

10 April 2013

In March, Tommi and I visited Toronto on our way from the UK to the AAAL and TESOL conferences in Dallas. Not only is Toronto (surprisingly, to me, as my Geography is a bit patchy) a logical rest-stop en route, but it is also home to our North American book distributor, UTP, and several of our authors.

Tommi and Laura with Hamish, Smita and Carol at UTP

Tommi and Laura with Hamish, Smita and Carol at UTP

UTP are in charge of shipping books to all our customers in Canada and the USA and so we have daily contact with at least one of our colleagues, Smita, Dolores, Carol and Hamish, and the rest of the team, who work there.  I have been working at Multilingual Matters for a couple of years now, so I was very excited to visit a place which I’ve had so much contact with, but not visited in person.  For Tommi, it was more a case of catching up with old friends!

On arrival at UTP, and after meeting everyone, Carol took us on a tour of the warehouse, so I could understand exactly what happens when our orders arrive.  We saw how the orders are processed, from the receipt of the order from the customer, right up to the book leaving the door, packed and ready for shipment.  I particularly enjoyed finding our books on the shelves as we walked through the warehouse and spotting a packer unpacking a box of returned books that I had sent back from the NABE conference in February.

UTP's Warehouse

UTP’s Warehouse

Smita then showed me how she deals with the different types of requests I send on to her, such as sending inspection/desk copies to lecturers and inputting new titles into the system.  We happened to receive a couple of emails from Ellie, who was in our office in Bristol at the time, so Smita had some genuine examples of her work to show me.

Apart from visiting UTP, Tommi and I also went to meet Alister Cumming and his graduate students at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).  They were spending the day discussing their forthcoming presentations at AAAL and during the lunch break, Tommi and I were able to give a talk about publishing their research both with us in particular, and general advice about what is appropriate for publication as a book, and what is better suited for publication as journal articles. It was great for us to meet everyone and hear about what they are working on, and hope that they found our session of interest.

Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman's book

Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman’s book

We thoroughly enjoyed spending our evenings in Toronto with Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman, authors of Sociocultural Theory in Second Language Education; long-standing publisher friends of Multilingual Matters, Jonathan and Dorothea Lovat Dickson, of Pippin Press; and Greg Poarch, who has recently moved to York University, Toronto.  Tommi and I were definitely spoilt with excellent company and delicious food throughout the week, and we’re already looking forward to our return to Toronto, which we hope will be before the city hosts AAAL in 2015.

Laura


NABE Conference 2013

5 March 2013
NABE 2013

NABE 2013

Last month, I kick-started our 2013 conference exhibits with a trip to the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) conference, which was held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Florida. It is a few years since we last exhibited at NABE, and my first time at the conference. While there were very few people I’d met before there, it was really interesting to chat to all the delegates who popped by the stand and to meet a few of our authors for the first time.

Laura at the Multilingual Matters NABE stand

Laura at the Multilingual Matters NABE stand

Among the authors I spoke to were Ofelia García and Bahar Otcu who, together with Zeena Zakharia, edited our new book Bilingual Community Education and Multilingualism, Beatriz Arias one of the editors of Implementing Educational Language Policy in Arizona and Carla Meskill who co-authored Teaching Languages Online.  These titles aside, our books on language policy and teaching were the most frequently picked up, with Janet Fuller’s new textbook Spanish Speakers in the USA being very popular, as was Teaching Languages to Students with Specific Learning Differences by Kormos and Smith.

Ofelia Garcia's keynote

Ofelia Garcia’s keynote

I was really fortunate to be able to leave the stand to attend Ofelia García’s inspiring keynote session “Global Perspectives on Bilingual Education: Implications for the US”. I found hearing about language practices in 4 quite different countries very interesting and one of several quotes which has stuck with me since the talk goes something along the lines of “English runs through my veins, while Spanish is in my heart”. What kind of damage are we doing to a child if we remove one of those components?” I was pleased to hear her speak about the exciting new book she has published with us, and, as a cyclist, I especially enjoyed her use of pictures of bicycles to complement her talk!

The conference apart, I really enjoyed feeling some warm Floridian sun on my face – quite a change from the cold we’ve had in the UK recently. It was also quite novel to be at Disney World, although I was very pleased that I didn’t have to fight Mickey away from our books and, to my great relief, I didn’t actually see Mickey (or any of his friends) once!

Laura


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