In celebration of International Mother Language Day, please join Jaden Timoun for a conversation on Clubhouse promoting the use of Haitian Creole as the main language of instruction in schools in Haiti.
February 21st is International Mother Language Day and is an opportunity to celebrate linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. This year, Jaden Timoun (a Kreyòl Language Immersion Program for Children) will be hosting a special Rasanblay Kreyòl: Mother Tongues United on Clubhouse promoting the use of Haitian Creole as the main language of instruction in schools in Haiti. Guests will include Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes (of Lakou Kajou) and Jemima Douyon (of Friends of Matènwa/Lekòl Kominote Matènwa). The conversation will center around the importance of the Kreyòl language as a Mother Tongue in the educational work that they do and the communities in which they engage. Rasanblay Kreyòl will be co-facilitated by Darnelle Champagne (Executive Director of Jaden Timoun) and Wynnie Lamour-Quansah (Haitian Creole Language Program at NYU CLACS & Haitian Creole Language Institute of New York) and will take place primarily in Haitian Creole.
About the Speakers:
Darnelle Champagne (Moderator)
Although Darnelle was born and raised in New York, her first spoken language is Haitian Creole. She recalls her first years of school as an English Language Learner and the impact multilingualism had on her day to day life. Remaining connected to her Haitian roots, especially through language, while growing up in NY was a commitment first started by her parents. Darnelle’s conscious commitment to Haitian Creole came after her first visit to Haiti at the age of 11. Currently as an educational service provider Darnelle counts on her years of experience with children to serve them based on their individual needs. In addition to her direct work with children, Darnelle has conducted a number of parent workshops and presentations on raising bilingual children. Darnelle has a BA in Metropolitan Studies from New York University and an MA in Early Childhood Education also from New York University. She holds a NYS certification in Early Childhood Education (Birth-grade 2) and a NYS certification in Students with Disabilities (Birth-grade 2). Darnelle is raising three curious and lively multilingual children with her husband Vladimir. Darnelle is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Jaden Timoun, a Haitian Creole Language Immersion Program for Children.
Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes (Lakou Kajou)
Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes is Lakou Kajou’s Language Specialist. She was born and raised in Haiti and became interested in language issues in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s as the Bernard reform of education in Haiti aimed to leverage children’s Kreyòl speaking skills as the best path to quality education. She studied psychology at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico , Haitian Creole Linguistics at Indiana University, and Language and Literacy development at Harvard University. She has been a consultant on education at Fokal, FondationTipa Tipa , the Open Society Foundation, Friends of Matènwa, Blue Butterfly Collaborative, USAID Haiti, RTI Haiti, World Education Benin, and the Boston Public Schools. Her work experience focused on children’s learning whether she functioned as a teacher, teacher trainer, administrator, or researcher in bilingual education and language development. Her research and scholarly publications while working with the Chèche Konnen Center at TERC were about the type of thinking and language skills students bring from their culture to learning situations. Her research has been published in peer reviewed journals and edited volumes. She currently lives in Massachusetts but works for Haiti and visits Haiti frequently.
Jemima Douyon (Lekòl Kominote Matènwa)
Jemima Douyon holds a Master of Education in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Master’s in Special Education from Long Island University, as well as a Bachelor’s in Francophone Culture and Literature from the University of Florida.
Jemima has over ten years of experience as an educator, working as a head classroom teacher and tutor in both the public and private school system in New York City. She has extensive experience collaborating with teachers and school leaders in designing and teaching curriculum that addresses the academic and social-emotional needs of students, as well as issues of race, identity and culture.
In addition to her work as a teacher in the U.S., Jemima hosts workshops with teachers and educators in Haiti around the issues of westernized-centered ideologies that influence the education system in Haiti. In her workshops, teachers and educators discuss ways of incorporating Haitian culture, identity, and values at the center of their teaching. Jemima has also worked closely as a researcher in Senegal with her colleague, Dr. Carol Benson of Teachers College, Columbia University.
Jemima’s journey as an educator started when she was in high school. She immigrated from Haiti to the U.S. as a teenager and felt lost in a place where she did not speak the language. Jemima commends her teachers and guidance counselors for not only graduating high school, but having the opportunity to go onto college. Her beginnings in America and school experience informed her passion and practice as an educator. Currently, Jemima works as a consultant at Accenture Federal. She just recently launched Bridges & Borders, an Education Consulting Company: https://www.bridgesborders.com/.