NW 31: Linguistically responsive pedagogies (or language awareness) in teaching all subjects

NW 31 LEd – Network on Language and Education

Linguistically responsive pedagogies (or language awareness) in teaching all subjects

PISA reports show that there is often a gap in learning outcomes between students with or without a migration background (OECD, 2019). To create opportunities for learning for all students, more information is needed on fostering linguistically responsive school cultures to support students’ identities, strengthen their sense of belonging, engage them more actively in literacy practices, and enhance learning in general (Lucas & Villegas, 2013). With this special call, we invite researchers to submit papers related to linguistically responsive pedagogies, where attention is paid to how teachers support the learning of the language of instruction simultaneously with learning subject content.

The Call
Language plays an important role in interactions and socialization into the linguistic and cultural behaviors of different communities (de Jong, 2011). Linguistically responsive pedagogy aims to recognize this essential role of language in learning, interaction, identity development, and socialization (Lucas & Villegas, 2013).

Linguistically responsive teachers are aware of the interrelatedness of language, culture, and identity (Cummins, 2001), and they acknowledge that students’ sense of belonging might depend on the power issues and language hierarchies associated with speaking certain languages (De Jong, 2011). A linguistically responsive teacher should advocate for better educational opportunities for students with a migration background (Lucas & Villegas, 2013), as these students face many educational disadvantages, such as lower academic outcomes, a higher risk of leaving school early (OECD, 2019), and fewer educational opportunities compared to their majority peers (Borgna, 2017). Moreover, these disadvantages remain even when controlling for socioeconomic factors and parents’ cultural capital (Heath & Cheung, 2007; Heath et al., 2008). Thus, teachers’ advocacy for students with a migration background is needed both pedagogically and for better interpersonal and structural opportunities (Gray et al., 2018).

For linguistically responsive teachers, pedagogical skills and knowledge of students’ backgrounds, such as their first languages or linguistic competences, are also essential (Lucas & Villegas, 2013). This relates to teachers’ abilities to recognize the challenges the language of instruction may cause learners (Cummins, 2001; Gibbons, 2014; Lucas & Villegas, 2013) and subsequently scaffold instruction so learners can perform academic tasks at cognitive and language levels they could not complete alone (Gibbons, 2014; Villegas et al., 2018).

In this call, we consider linguistically responsive pedagogy as an approach that aims at creating an emotionally safe school culture where both teachers and students value languages, language learning and linguistic diversity, are aware of the role that language plays in academic success, and feel comfortable using different languages (see also Cummins, 2001, 2022; Duarte, 2019; Gorter & Elocena, 2020). Thus, we invite papers that focus on linguistically responsive pedagogies when teaching different subjects, and are striving to

  • understand teachers’ perspectives of linguistic responsiveness when teaching different subjects
  • analyze teachers’ pedagogical skills and knowledge needed to support linguistically diverse students when teaching different subjects
  • investigate students’ views toward linguistic diversity in schools
  • provide empirical examples of successful enactment of linguistically responsive pedagogies

We aim to create an interdisciplinary perspective on linguistically responsive pedagogies. In addition, the joint sessions will invite researchers for a reflection on single empirical findings on linguistically responsive pedagogies from a global perspective.

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 Alisaar

Borgna, C. (2017). Migrant penalties in educational achievement. Second-generation immigrants on Western Europe. Amsterdam University Press.

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

Cummins, J. (2022). Pedagogical Translanguaging: Examining the Credibility of Unitary versus Crosslinguistic Translanguaging Theory. OLBI Journal / Cahiers de l’ILOB.

de Jong, E. J. (2011). Foundations for multilingualism in education from principles to practice. Caslon Publishing.

Duarte, J. (2019) Translanguaging in mainstream education: a sociocultural approach. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 22(2), 150–164. doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2016.1231774

Gibbons, P. (2014). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom (2nd ed.). Heinemann.

Gorter, D. & Elocena, E. 2020. Teachers’ beliefs of multilingualism in the course on translanguaging. System 92.

Gray, D. L., Hope, E. C., & Matthews, J. S. (2018). Black and belonging at school: A case for interpersonal, instructional, and institutional opportunity structures. Educational Psychologist, 53(2), 97–113. doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2017.1421466

Heath, A., & Cheung, S. Y. (2007). Unequal chances: Ethnic minorities in western labour markets. Oxford University Press.

Heath, A. F., Rothon, C., & Kilpi, E. (2008). The second generation in Western Europe: Education, unemployment, and occupational attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 34(1), 211–235.

Lucas, T., & Villegas, A. M. (2013). Preparing linguistically responsive teachers: Laying the foundation in preservice teacher education. Theory Into Practice, 52(2), 98–109.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2019). PISA 2018 Results (Volume III): What School Life Means for Students’ Lives. PISA, OECD Publishing. doi.org/10.1787/acd78851-en

Villegas, T., Saizdelamora, K., Martin, A., & Mills, T. (2018). Preparing future main- stream teachers to teach English language learners: A review of the empirical literature. The Educational Forum, 82(2), 138–155.

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Interview with Link Convenor 2019