NW 27/NW31: Multilingual pedagogies supporting students' learning in all subjects

NW 27 Didactics - Learning and Teaching

Multilingual pedagogies supporting students' learning in all subjects

The growing number of multilingual learners is challenging educators to reconsider traditional monolingual education. It has been argued (García et al., 2016) that all teaching should support the entire linguistic repertoires of multilingual students. Furthermore, there is substantial evidence that a strong knowledge of one’s first language supports learning both other languages and school subjects (Ganuza & Hedman, 2018; Ovando et al., 2011; Slavin & Cheung, 2005; Thomas & Collier, 1997). However, little is still known about the actual use of multilingual pedagogies in subject classrooms. With this special call, we invite researchers to submit papers related to this topic.

The Call
Pedagogies where students’ multilingual resources are used for communication and learning can be called multilingual pedagogies (see e.g., Creese, 2017). Unfortunately, many teachers are either unwilling or unable to use their students’ first languages as learning resources (Alisaari et al., 2019; Iversen, 2019; Lundberg, 2019; Sullivan, 2016; Taylor et al., 2008), and students’ first languages are invoked only unintentionally (Burner & Carlsen, 2019). However, a study by Thomas and Collier (1997) demonstrated that teaching only in the language of instruction results in considerably lower academic outcomes than if students’ first languages are included.  Including students’ first languages, on the other hand, has been shown to support students’ socio-affective development and academic achievement (Sierens & Van Avermaet, 2014), their holistic identities (Cummins, 2001), and can positively influence their self-esteem and enthusiasm for learning (Catalano et al., 2019).

In spite of a common misbelief, teachers do not need proficiency in students’ first languages to use multilingual pedagogies; they only need to see the students as experts in their own languages and understand that all languages are valuable learning resources (Duarte, 2019). There are many ways a student’s entire linguistic repertoire can be used as a resource for learning, for example by encouraging students to seek information in their first language or discuss a topic with a peer who speaks the same language; or include assessments in the students' languages (Le Pichon-Vorstman & Kambel, 2015). According to Cenoz (2017), multilingual pedagogies may be planned, or they may be sporadic and not intentionally supported by teachers.

Despite the wealth of information on multilingual pedagogies in language learning, there is still relatively scarce knowledge about the use of multilingual pedagogies in subject classrooms. We therefore welcome papers that focus on the use of multilingual pedagogies when teaching different subjects, and are striving to

  • understand the optimal use of multilingual pedagogies both from teachers’ and learners’ perspectives
  • explore new ways of using multilingual pedagogies for deep learning
  • use multilingual pedagogies to support students’ identities
  • analyse which multilingual practices are appreciated in educational settings

We aim to create an interdisciplinary perspective on the use of multilingual pedagogies in subject classrooms. In addition, the joint sessions will invite researchers for a reflection of single empirical findings on multilingual pedagogies from a global perspective. This may contribute to a common framework with which we inspire and empower educators and policymakers to implement culturally sustaining curricula and pedagogy in linguistically diverse contexts within Europe and beyond.

The papers that will be submitted to this call will be considered for an Edited Volume in the EERA Book Series.

Contact Person(s)
Jenni Alisaari jenni.alisaari(at)finska.su.se
Marte Blikstad-Balas marte.blikstad-balas(at)ils.uio.no

Alisaari, J., Heikkola, L. M., Commins, N. & Acquah, E.O. (2019). Monolingual Ideologies Confronting Multilingual Realities. Finnish Teachers’ Beliefs about Linguistic Diversity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 80, 48–58. doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.01.003.

Burner, T., & Carlsen, C. (2019). Teacher qualifications, perceptions and practices concerning multilingualism at a school for newly arrived students in Norway. International Journal of Multilingualism. doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2019.1631317

Catalano, T., Traore Moundiba, H. C., & Pir, H. (2019). ‘I felt valued’: Multilingual microteachings and the development of teacher agency in a teacher education classroom. Critical Multilingualism Studies, 7(3), 55–76.

Cenoz, J. (2017b). Translanguaging in school contexts: International perspectives. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 16(4), 193–198.

Creese, A. (2017). Translanguaging as an everyday practice. New perspectives on translanguaging in education, 1-9.

Cummins, J. (2001). Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society (2nd ed.). California Association for Bilingual Education.

Duarte, J. (2019). Translanguaging in Mainstream Education: A Sociocultural Approach. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 22 (2), 150–64. doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2016.1231774.

Ganuza, N., & Hedman, C. (2018). Modersmålundervisning, läsförståelse och betyg. Nordand, 13(1), 4–22. www.idunn.no/nordand/2018/01/modersmaalsundervisning_lsfrstaaelse_och_betyg_1

García, O., Ibarra-Johnson, S., & Seltzer, K. (2016). The translanguaging classroom: Leveraging student bilingualism for learning. Caslon.

Iversen, J. Y. (2020). Pre-service teachers’ translanguaging during field placement in multilingual, mainstream classrooms in Norway. Language and Education, 34(1), 51-65.

Le Pichon Vorstman, E. & Kambel, E. R. (2016). Challenges of Mathematics Education in a Multilingual Post-Colonial Context: The Case of Suriname, 221–40. doi.org/10.1007/978-94-6300-405-3_13.

Lundberg, A. (2019). Teachers’ Beliefs about Multilingualism: Findings from Q Method Research. Current Issues in Language Planning 20 (3), 266–83. doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2018.1495373.

Ovando, C. J., Combs, M. C., & Collier, V. P. (2011). Bilingual and ESL classrooms. McGraw-Hill Publishing.

Sierens, S. & Van Avermaet, P. (2014). Language Diversity in Education: Evolving from Multilingual Education to Functional Multilingual Learning. In Little, D., Leung, C. & Van Avermaet, P. (Eds.). Managing Diversity in Education: Languages, Policies, Pedagogies, 204–22. Multilingual Matters. doi.org/10.21832/9781783090815-014.

Slavin, R., & Cheung, A. (2005). A synthesis of research on language of reading instruction for English Language Learners. Review of Educational Research, 75, 247–281.

Sullivan, E. C. (2016). Mainstream teachers’ language-related knowledge and linguistically responsive teaching practices for English language learners [Doctoral dissertation, Notre Dame of Maryland University].

Taylor, L. K., Bernhard, J. K., Garg, S., & Cummins, J. (2008). Affirming plural belonging: Building on students’ family-based cultural and linguistic capital through multiliteracies pedagogy. Journal of Early Childhood Education, 8(3), 269–294. 10.1177/1468798408096481

Thomas,W. P., & Collier, V. P. (1997). School effectiveness for language minority students.Washington, DC: National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition.

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