31 SES 03, Monolingual Habitus / Multilingual Realities. Research for the Mobilisation of Multilingualism in Education: from Classroom to Career Transitions (II/II)
Multilingual practices remain contested in Flemish primary education. Overall, language ideology in Flemish classrooms seems to be predominantly monolingual ('Dutch-only') (Pulinx et al. 2015; Van Gorp 2012). Teachers hold a strong belief that investing time in languages other than Dutch will hinder the development of the school language (Agirdag et al. 2014). This belief contrasts with the belief of applied linguists that 'translanguaging' practices are an important tool for supporting second language learning as well as for identity investment (Garcia & Wei 2013). This paper discusses a number of small-scale studies into the use of a translanguaging task in Flemish primary classrooms. 'Radio Tika' is a task in which students are encouraged to use all their linguistic resources and present the radio news for the fictitious 'Tikaland' in as many languages or language varieties as possible. In 2005 and 2010 this task was used to study the beliefs and actions of three teachers with respect to multilingualism. The results of these studies indicated that both teacher and student attitudes and behavior towards the use of their home language in the classroom was in general very positive. However, not all of the teachers were able to exploit the potential of the task to its fullest and some minority students seemed to be reluctant to use their home language in the classroom. Two follow-up exploratory studies in 2012 and 2015 looked at the impact of 'Radio Tika' on students’ multilingual beliefs and practices and focused in more depth on what factors contribute to the unwillingness of some students to use their home language during task performance. A qualitative methodology was used, consisting of observations and field notes of the translanguaging task, structured student and teacher interviews, and video recordings of student groups during task performance. The interviews and classroom interactions were transcribed and analyzed according to a set of predefined topics. The findings show that students’ overall attitudes and behavior towards translanguaging are positive. The translanguaging practices create an interest in the different home languages of the students and give rise to interesting language awareness moments. However, task, language, person, teacher and group specific factors can have a negative impact on the willingness of some students to use their home language in the classroom. These findings underline the complexity of multilingual classroom interactions and indicate a language awareness approach could be key in promoting positive translanguaging classroom practices.
Agirdag, O., Jordens, K., & Van Houtte, M. (2014). Speaking Turkish in Belgian Schools: Teacher Beliefs versus Effective consequences. Bilig - Journal of Social Sciences of the Turkish World, 70, 7-28. Garcia, O., & Wei, L. (2013). Translanguaging. Language, Bilingualism and Education. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. Pulinx, R., Van Avermaet, P. & Agirdag, O. (2015): Silencing linguistic diversity: the extent, the determinants and consequences of the monolingual beliefs of Flemish teachers. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Published online 27 October 2015, DOI: 10.1080/13670050.2015.1102860. Van Gorp, K. (2012). Meertaligheid in Vlaanderen, een doos van Pandora? Beleidsopvattingen en stemmen uit de voorschoolse en schoolse praktijk. In N. de Jong, K. Juffermans, M. Keijzer & L. Rasier (Eds.), Papers of the Anéla 2012 Applied Linguistics Conference (pp. 223-232). Delft: Eburon.
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