31 SES 01, Teachers and Multilingualism: From Beliefs to Practice
One of the main objectives of the European Union is multilingualism in Europe. Published European Commission documents promote learning two other European languages beyond the national language of the country of residence rather than only one lingua franca (COM, 2008). Just a small number of legal standards in Europe are binding. However, research shows that school curricula are under pressure of globalisation and Europeanisation (Ball, Goodson, & Maguire, 2007). In many parts of Europe we can observe external factors, e.g. unfavourable sociolinguistic conditions, contributing to the difficulties in the development of a multilingual society (Nelde, 2006). Research evidence indicates that a favourable context, where students are exposed to a second or further language and where students have the opportunity to communicate, is highly beneficial for the learning process (Cenoz, 2001; De Angelis, 2012). The lack of opportunities to communicate is an external factor for the success in language learning, which is observable also in the context of the study for this paper. It is an example of a border region of Italy (South Tyrol), which is characterised by a specific linguistic situation, living German (62 %) Italian (23,4), Ladin (4,1 %) and other language speakers (10,2 %) (ASTAT, 2011) together in a kind of 'parallel worlds'. Nevertheless, the South Tyrolean school system is distinctly marked by a multilingual language policy. The main aim of the language policy is to educate for a multilingual society, although schools are divided in linguistic groups, i.e. the German, Italian and Ladin one (Baur, Mezzalira, & Pichler, 2008). 60 percent of German and 90 percent of Italian speaking citizens state the desire of personal multilingualism (ASTAT, 2015). In past researches, second language teachers specified that the preconditions for success in language learning are not given. An improvement requires changes in culture and school organisation (Baur et al., 2009). The negative effects of a divided school system have already been documented in other parts of Europe, e.g. the Finnish one (Tikka, 2009). If multilingualism is positive or negative for society is still discussed. Gogolin and Neumann (2009) show that this debate is connected with the historical idea that members of a nation are monolingual. Ideologies of monolingualism, or at least multilingualism in terms of a 'parallel monolingualism' are imposed not only on a level of nation-state policies but also through institutions, through organizational, pedagogical and didactical school characteristics (Van Houtte, 2011). Studying teachers' beliefs is fundamental because researches (Godley et al., 2006) found that teachers' monolingual beliefs negatively affect the achievement of linguistically diverse students. Many teachers believe that linguistic diversity has negative effects on the school (Dooly 2005; García 2009) and that pupils should not be allowed to speak their home language at school (Pulinx et al., 2016). In contrast, De Angelis (2011) demonstrated that many European teachers agree with the statement that the student's languages and cultures should be valued in school contexts, but in reality performance-pressure leads teachers to focus on the language of instruction (Shin, 2010). Furthermore, many teachers do not know how to handle the linguistic diversity pupils bring to school (Coleman 2010) and feel unprepared to teach multilingual pupils (Hélot 2012). More experience with a diverse pupil population seems to help teachers to cope with challenges resulting from linguistic diversity (Van der Wildt et al., 2015; Youngs and Youngs, 2001; Pohan et al. 2009).
The paper is guided by the following research questions:
(a) How do teachers try to put into practice European standards for multilingual education?
(b) What beliefs do teachers have related to multilingual education?
(c) How would teachers change school settings in order to achieve better language results?
Autonome Provinz Bozen-Sudtirol - ASTAT. (2011). Volkszählung 2011. Retrieved from www.provinz.bz.it/astat Autonome Provinz Bozen-Sudtirol - Südtirol Landesinstitut für Statistik - ASTAT. (2015). Südtiroler Sprachbarometer 2014. Retrieved from www.provinz.bz.it/astat Ball, S. J., Goodson, I., & Maguire, M. (2007). Education, globalization and new times. London: Roultledge. Baur, S., Civegna, K., Delfauro, K., Innerhofer, A., Karlegger, A., Keiner, E., & Plunger, N. (2009). Lehrer/innen zweiter Klasse? Bozen/Bolzano: Bozen-Bolzano University Press. Baur, S., Mezzalira, G., & Pichler. W. (2008). La lingua degli altri. Aspetti della politica linguistica e scolastica in Südtirol. Milano: Franco Angeli. COM (2008) 566: Final. Retrieved from http://eurlex.europa.eu/legalcontent/EN/TXT/PDF/uri=CELEX:52008DC0566&from=EN De Angelis, G. (2011). Teachers’ Beliefs about the Role of Prior Language Knowledge in Learning and How These Influence Teaching Practices. International Journal of Multilingualism, 216–234. De Angelis, G. (2012). The Effect of Population Distribution on L1 and L2 Acquisition. International Journal of Multilingualism, 9 (4), 407–422. García, O. (2009). Education, Multilingualism and Translanguaging in the 21st Century. In Multilingual Education for Social Justice: Globalising the Local, 128–145. New Delhi: Orient Blackswan. Godley, A., Sweetland, J., Wheeler, R., Minnici, A., & Carpenter, B. (2006). Preparing Teachers for Dialectally Diverse Classrooms. Educational Researcher 35 (8), 30–37. Gogolin, I., & Neumann, U. (2009): Streitfall Zweisprachigkeit - The Bilingualism Controversy. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag Hélot, C. (2012). Linguistic Diversity and Education. In The Routledge Handbook of Multilingualism, 214–231. New York: Routledge. Nelde, P. H. (2006). Sprachpolitik, Kontaktlinguistik und Minderheiten in Europa. In W. Wiater, & G. Videsott (Eds.), Schule in mehrsprachigen Regionen Europas. (pp. 41 - 54). Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Pulinx, R., Van Avermaet, P. & Agirdag, O. (2015): Silencing linguistic diversity, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1102860 Shin, S. J. (2010). Teaching English Language Learners, Dimensions of Early Childhood 38 (2): 13–21. Tikka, M. (2006). Das schwedischsprachige Schulsystem in Finnland. In W. Wiater, & G. Videsott (Eds.), Schule in mehrsprachigen Regionen Europas. (pp. 337 - 357). Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Van Der Wildt, A., Van Avermaet, P., & Van Houtte, M. (2015). Multilingual school population: ensuring school belonging by tolerating multilingualism, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1125846 Van Houtte, M. (2011). So Where’s the Teacher in School Effects Research? The Impact of Teachers’ Beliefs, Culture, and Behavior on Equity and Excellence. In Education Equity and Excellence in Education Towards Maximal Learning Opportunities for All Students, 75–95. New York: Routledge.
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