31 SES 09 A, Transnational and Translingual Social Practices in Educational Contexts. Discourse and Practice in Research, Politics and Institutions
The UK, and perhaps particularly England, is often seen as a nation subscribing wholeheartedly to a monolingual mindset, with mainstream classroom teachers only rarely representing the linguistic diversity of their schools (Tinsley and Board, 2016). Whilst guidance documents for monolingual teachers on best practice with children’s home languages in the classroom have been available for almost twenty years (Bourne, 2001), this work has never made it into official policy, and guidance for teachers on working with multilingualism has now been absent from the governmental publications for over ten years. Despite the strength of the ‘multilingual turn’ and the growth of understanding of the concept of translanguaging in applied linguistics, the current research literature and anecdotal evidence suggests that translanguaging practices are still very rarely adopted in English schools. Indeed, the place of home languages in schools at all remains extremely uncertain and patchy (Author, 2019). This presentation focuses on an aspect of a wider, international collaborative project focused on mainstream teachers’ attitudes, beliefs and knowledge about multilingualism. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 40 primary school teachers from all over England. The teachers represent a wide range of experience with multilingualism, and varying levels of seniority, as well as academic disciplines. The participating schools offered a wide demographic coverage, with a good spread of urban, rural and suburban schools, as well as from differing socio-economic environments. The aim of the study was to explore the discourses of teachers about practices that are in place that could be, generously on occasion, classified as ‘translanguaging opportunities’ in their schools. Interview data was analysed to uncover the extent to which any such practices could be said to have been designed with purpose or whether the presence of languages beyond English in the classroom was more through serendipity or a sense of necessity. It is hoped that the study will uncover a picture of teachers situated at the cusp of the ‘multilingual turn’ (Conteh & Meier 2014) as it makes its way into mainstream classrooms but it is recognised that participants will demonstrate varying levels of confidence in using languages beyond English in their classrooms. The value of this study will be in highlighting the fact that many teachers are making a significant effort in a challenging political and educational climate to welcome multilingualism, and to allow for children to make use of their linguistic repertoire and funds of knowledge.
Bourne, J. (2001). Doing 'What Comes Naturally': How the Discourses and Routines of Teachers' Practice Constrain Opportunities for Bilingual Support in UK Primary Schools, Language and Education, 15 (4), 250-268. Conteh, J. & Meier, G. (2014). The Multilingual Turn in Languages Education: Opportunities and Challenges, Multilingual Matters. Cunningham, C. (2019): ‘The inappropriateness of language’. Discourses of power and control over languages beyond English in primary schools. Language and Education, 33 (4), 285–301. Jones, S. (2018). Language education in the era of Brexit: three challenges for the schools’ sector, Languages, Society & Policy. Tinsley, T. and Board, K. (2016). Language Trends 2015/16: The state of language learning in primary and secondary schools in England. British Council: The Education Development Trust. Available at URL: https://www.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/language_trends_survey_2016_0.pdf accessed 27 January 2021.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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