My name is Roma Chumak-Horbatsch. I am an Associate Professor in Ryerson University's School of Early Childhood Education, Faculty of Community Services, where I teach courses in language development and bilingualism. As a language researcher, I focus on the language behaviors of children who arrive in Canada and are faced with the challenge of learning English. I am concerned about the widespread deterioration and loss of languages that children bring to Canada. My research shows that parents, too, are concerned and anxious, as they watch their children move away from the home language and all that it represents.
What you will find on this website comes from minority language research. Work with immigrant parents, classroom teachers and child care providers has shown that there is an urgent need to concretely address the minority language question, to provide parents and professionals with information about dual language learning, the importance of the home language, the nature of bilingualism and strategies for protecting home languages. The fragility of home languages tells us that they require attention, planning and nurturing. When home languages are protected, everyone wins: children become confident bilinguals who do well in school, family members are able to communicate in meaningful ways and classrooms become places where children's linguistic differences are viewed as resources.