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Teachers receive multilingual handbook

Teachers in Zurich are to receive a language handbook with vocabulary and basic information about the 14 main immigrant languages to help ease communication.

With one in three students coming from foreign-language homes, the manual is designed to help in situations such as parent-teacher meetings as well as in German language classes.

Produced by Zurich’s University of Teacher Education, the handbook “Your language – my language” includes chapters on Albanian, Portuguese, Thai, Tamil and Turkish. The authors say it will, for example, prove useful in sorting out common grammatical mistakes that are linked to the students’ mother tongue.

Basil Schader, lecturer at the university, said the handbook could be used to promote cooperation with parents. “If a teacher greets the parents in their language, that demonstrates openness and interest. This can have a positive effect on the development of the discussion.”

Although essentially intended as a tool for teachers, the handbook would also be a good resource for organisations which have frequent contact with foreign-language speakers, Schader added. and agencies

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