31 SES 02 A, Preparing Pre- and In-Service Teachers for Multilingual Classrooms: Insights, Perspectives, Skills
The recent increase of multilingual pupils across Europe has led to the investigation of new forms of multilingual education (Cenoz, 2009). Research has highlighted the potential of using multilingualism in education (Duarte, 2011). Despite this, and evidence that languages are not separated in the brain (Cummins, 1981; Goodrich & Lonigan, 2017), most teachers maintain the stance that involving home languages can prevent pupils from acquiring the target or school language to a high level (Pulinx et al., 2017). Studies on teachers’ professional development show that even a small intervention can have significant effects on knowledge acquisition and proposes the use of digital tools, such as computer-based applications (Van Laere et al. 2017). Technology in education is a comparatively new phenomenon; most in-service teachers are not technologically skilled and technological skills of teachers need continuous professional development. As such, little research has been conducted combining the newest insights on multilingual education with the latest technological developments for educational interventions. Our study thus aims to investigate the extent to which digital approaches can foster teachers' professional development to engage in the implemenation of multilingual education.
The research was conducted in the cope of an Erasmus+ project: the VirtuLApp-project (The Virtual Language App). It is set in highly multilingual European regions in which minority and migrant languages co-exist: Netherlands, Basque Country, Ireland and Belgium. The project uses a combination of digital approaches to target attitudes, knowledge and skills of primary school teachers for multilingual education. Concretely, it develops a collaborative multi-player game part of which uses Augmented Reality (AR). The game can be used to raise positive attitudes amongst teachers towards the use of pupils’ languages; increases the knowledge of teachers about multilingualism through a chatbot quiz; and includes a video-toolbox containing best-practices and didactical example of multilingual education. In order to investigate how engaging with these tools can foster teacher's professional development, an intervention was conducted with a pre-post measurement. Due to restrictions related to the Covid19 crisis, the focus of the intervention were pre-service teachers in the four settings who, in the context of their studies, were encouraged to use the VirtuLApp tools during one month, discuss them with their peers and play the AR-game with the pupils in their internship classes. A survey was conducted before and after the intervention and interviews were conducted. As data is still being collected, the complete sample cannot be provided yet, but we aim at 15 teachers per setting (n=60).
The paper will discuss all three products of the project and present preliminary research results of their implementation with pre-service teachers in the different settings. We examine participants’ perceptions and evaluations of the three tools and the extent to which their use changes teachers’ attitudes and knowledge to address multilingualism in primary education. Based on the results so far, we hypothesize that the didactical videos, the quiz and Frequently Asked Questions will lead to increased knowledge on multilingual education but not necessarily in practical skills for implementation, as these need to be acquired through experimenting in the own pedagogical setting. As such, digital tools towards multilingual education, can probably not be separated from experience in practice followed by critical reflection. In addition, we hypothesize that pre-service teachers that could observe their pupils playing the AR-game, thus using their multiple languages to solve the tasks, will be more aware of their pupils’ multilingualism and language awareness skills. Based on the results, the affordances and challenges of digital tools for teachers’ professional development for multilingual education will be discussed.
Bourne, J. (2013). “I know he can do better than that”: Strategies for teaching and learning in successful multi-ethnic schools. In I. Gogolin, I. Lange, U. Michel, & H. H. Reich (Eds.), Herausforderung Bildungssprache - und wie man sie meistert (pp. 42–54). Cenoz, J. (2009). Towards Multilingual Education. Basque Educational Research from an International Perspective. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Cummins, J. (1981). Empirical and Theoretical Underpinnings of Bilingual Education. The Journal of Education, 163(1), 16–29. Duarte, J. (2011). Bilingual language proficiency. A comparative study. Münster: Waxmann Verlag. Goodrich, J. M., & Lonigan, C. J. (2017). Language-Independent and Language-Specific Aspects of Early Literacy: An Evaluation of the Common Underlying Proficiency Model. Journal of educational psychology, 109(6), 782–793. Pulinx, R., Van Avermaet, P., & Agirdag, O. (2017). Silencing linguistic diversity: the extent, the determinants and consequences of the monolingual beliefs of Flemish teachers. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 20(5), 542–556. Van Laere, E., Rosiers, K., Van Avermaet, P. Slembrouck, S. & van Braak, J. (2017) What can technology offer to linguistically diverse classrooms? Using multilingual content in a computer-based learning environment for primary education, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 38:2, 97-112.
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