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Joining the Academic International Seminar entitled Heritage Language Literacy Development in Southeast Asia held from July 22-23, 2008 at Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta, Indonesia was indeed more than an opportunity and a privilege. The ingenious experiences met were not just outside of the four walls of a classroom but already on a no-wall environment–that is outside of the country.

Two professors from the Languages Department of the College of Arts and Sciences namely: Dr. Isabellita Castillo-Bulala, (Filipino) and Dr. Doris Barreda-Patindol (English) were in the said academic gathering. It was participated in by some government officials of the department of education of Indonesia, teachers from primary to tertiary level, professors and personnel of non-governmental organizations coming from Finland, Thailand, East Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Australia, Philippines and Indonesia.

The participants learned from the various insights and experiences from the different researchers presented through symposia, parallel and plenary sessions. The seminar was considered as the first step in trying to re-value the greatest treasure of human history which actually is God’s grace to humanity: languages. The papers tackled the following issues: Symposia: the Interrelationships between language, culture and Ethnicity and Children’s Story Writing from Different Cultures and Ethnic Backgrounds.

The plenary and parallel session topics discussed about mother tongue, bilingual and multilingual education and other various relevant issues on language and literacy. Among the so many papers presented were as follows Multilingual Education in Timor-Leste, Play Groups for language Learning and Health, Utilizing a Home Library to Encourage Bilingual Reading Fluency, Literacy Texts for ELL Students’ Humanity Awareness Development, Reader-Response Approach: Immersing Bilingual into Reading and Thinking (Presented by Grace Reoperez, FEU, Manila Professor), Functional Literacy through the mother tongue, The Use of Rubrics in the Assessment of Reading Instruction (presented by Dr. Meriene Alon, the president of Reading Association of the Philippines).

The activity was sponsored by Atma Jaya Catholic University, Kartidaya, Summer Institute of Linguistics International, Perhimpunan Baca Tulis Masyarakat Indonesia (Indonesia Reading and Writing Association) PBTM-Indonesia and the International Reading Association.

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