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Seminar organised by the Language Policy Unit - DG II Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France www.coe.int/lang wwww.coe.int Who is afraid of multilingualism.

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Presentation on theme: "Seminar organised by the Language Policy Unit - DG II Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France www.coe.int/lang wwww.coe.int Who is afraid of multilingualism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Seminar organised by the Language Policy Unit - DG II Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France www.coe.int/lang wwww.coe.int Who is afraid of multilingualism in school? Linguistic diversity as a resource for learning Piet Van Avermaet

2 To reject a childs language in the school is to reject the child. When the message, implicit or explicit, communicated to children in the school is Leave your language and culture at the schoolhouse door, children also leave a central part of who they are - their identities - at the schoolhouse door. When they feel this rejection, they are much less likely to participate actively and confidently in classroom instruction (Cummins, 2001, p. 19).

3 How do I deal with the multilingual reality in classrooms? –Forbid/suppress –Using them in the learning process? –Teach them? What is the impact of suppressing/making use of it/teaching them?: cognitively, socio-emotional? How do we communicate with parents? What do we advise migrant parents to speak at home? … Many questions? www.meertaligheid.be We all have questions?

4 Teachers concerns Parents dont want it! Childrens L1 is poor, restricted. Allowing the use of L1 paves the way to segregation. I lose control of what happens in the classroom. The time to learn L2 is already so limited. I have more than 10 languages in my classroom.

5 School in Flanders (2009) In the interest of your child we speak Dutch here. And you?

6 Multilingualism a reality in all European societies, especially in urban spaces In schools and classrooms more and more superdiversity Multilingualism is a reality in every person: plurilingual repertoires Good and bad multilingualism Multilingual reality

7 Within a context where super diversity is becoming the norm it is important to reflect on the boundaries of the current recipes that are being used in systems of (language) education. As concepts like language, citizenship, learning,... are social constructs we have to consider reconstructing them, given the new social contexts.

8 Theoretical framework: multilingual education vs. L2 submersion Central question: which language education model is more effective for L2 acquisition as well as for closing the achievement gap? Search for one-size-fits-all model -> polarization –L2 submersion (L2-only): Competition between languages ;negative transfer Sponge: young children are automatic L2-learners Time on task / frequency of input: maximum L2 exposure & exclusion of L1s –(Bi)-Multilingual education: Positive relationships between higher-order language skills (Cummins) Positive transfer L1-L2 Facilitation / scaffolding (constructivist learning)

9 Traditional bilingual education –Separation arrangement: Spatial: separate, homogeneous classes/schools Temporal: separate lessons Segregated groups of learners Compartmentalized languages (Cummins, 2008) Multilingualism = parallel monolingualisms (Creese & Blackledge, 2010) –Educational arrangement: instruction by bilingual teachers Overall low involvement of mainstream teachers

10 Multilingual education: towards a new approach? Arguments –Practical: is organization of bi-/multilingual education in urban heterogeneous schools feasible? –Theoretical: new sociolinguistic conceptions of multilingual communication in the complex contemporary world which break with received ideas

11 Functional plurilingual learning Plurilingual repertoires as resource for learning: –Repertoires as didactical capital for learning: –functional use of home languages in multilingual, L2- dominant learning environments Setting: –Linguistically mixed mainstream classes –Integrated: L1 and L2 learners –L2 is dominant, but there are opportunities for concurrent use of various languages –Teachers do not have to speak (all) present L1s

12 Functional plurilingual learning L1 as a tool for learning : scaffolding model –Socio-cognitive: L1s as a cognitive and didactic asset –Socio-cultural theories -> Vygotsky –Instructional strategies –Positive interdependency between higer-order language skills

13 Functional plurilingual learning Conditions: –From empirical research it is clear that functional plurilingual learning can only be effective when it is structurally embedded in a school policy that opt for a multilingual perspective –From empirical research we also learn that creating powerful learning environments is a fundamental condition

14 Powerful multilingual learning environment Safe and positive classroom environment: L1 to comfort, open climate, children are appreciated, self-confident Functional and meaningful activities with L1 as a means to reach a real-life goal Interactional support by teachers or peers in L1

15 Research project Home language in education (HLE) Funded by Ghent municipality conducted by UGent and KULeuven

16 HLE-project: objectives Objective A: The use of multilinguality (diverse linguistic capital) in plurilingual powerful learning environments Objective B: Academic literacy development in L1

17 Baseline study findings Teachers (observations & interviews): –Dominant monolingual L2 submersion model: Banning of L1s from the classroom, esp. in primary Maximum L2 exposure Multilingualism has no cognitive & linguistic surplus value –Shift concerning L1 usage at home L1 maintenance (additive bilingualism): L1 outside school is not explicitly discouraged anymore –Shift with some preschool teachers Spontaneous L1 tolerance within the classroom Incipient L1-related practices facilitating well-being (L1 has positive socio-emotional function: to feel at home in school)

18 Before the project: the children were not allowed to speak their own language we used to punish those children that spoke their home language. That was very common their was little interaction. September 1th, the children knew that they were only allowed to speak Dutch. I presented myself and nobody said anything. All children staid silent. Their proficiency in Dutch was insufficient and they were not allowed to speak their home language. So their was simply no interaction Baseline study findings

19 Test score Turkish and Dutch

20 Process evaluation: interim observations 2009-2010 in preschool classes

21 Teachers perceptions (1) At the level of positive learning environment Through the use of L1 more tolerance: If, for instance, a child uses an Arabic word, Turkish children will try to pronounce it and want to learn it. This was not the case before the project. Then the Turkish children would have said bah, Arabic. (K3) since the project the children are more tolerant to each other regarding the use of their home language Added value of the use of L1: the children rapidly felt that they were allowed to use their home language and that they could make themselves better understand and could help each other

22 Teachers perceptions (1) At the level of positive learning environment More involvement of the children: The added value is that before a child often said nothing and was very passive, it didnt learn. That same child now is actively involved, talks all the time and learns by doing. (K3) I notice already now that children are more talkative when entering the classroom and are not afraid to ask something. (K2-3)

23 Teachers perceptions (2) At the level of meaningful activities Impact on L2 learning Children now want to learn more Dutch. They ask more for it than before. (K3) Two Turkish children who were talking about a lobster in Turkish and spontaneously asked me what is this in Dutch?. And they kept repeating the word in Dutch. (K3) More awareness of multilingualism Language sensitizing tasks make me aware of the childrens multilingualism. What we [as teachers] experience as something special is common for the children. (K3)

24 Powerful plurilingual learning environment Safe and positive classroom environment: L1 to comfort, open climate, children are appreciated, self-confident Functional and meaningful activities with L1 as a means to reach a real-life goal Interactional support by peers in L1

25 Awareness of parents A mother who spontaneously said to me I didnt know that my child new all these animals in Turkish A lot of parents who are now more involved with their children than before. Parents as partners Parents feel more at home in school because the L1 is present. […] They are often invited to help in the classroom e.g. by reading a story in L1. (K2-3)

26 Children helping each other They rapidly started to help each other. When I said something and one of the children didnt understand what I said, another child started to repeat it in the home language. (K3) I am not able to give feedback in a childs home language but other children can definitely do that. (K2-3) Teachers perceptions (3) At the level of support through interaction

27 Use of L1 does not slow down L2 learning Since the project started, I have the impression that they already know more words in Dutch than children I had in my classroom before it was allowed to use the home language. (K3) The teacher as an outsider I often wonder what is going on in the head of the children. Its a pity I dont understand what they say when they use the L1. (K3) Teachers perceptions (3) At the level of support through interaction

28 Powerful plurilingual learning environment Safe and positive classroom environment: L1 to comfort, open climate, children are appreciated, self-confident Functional and meaningful activities with L1 as a means to reach a real-life goal Interactional support by teachers or peers in L1

29 It starts with a positive attitude It starts with a positive attitude, but also being well informed what the project is exactly about and how the school looks at it. The vision of the school.

30 Conclusions Confirmation of Cummins linguistic interdependency hypothesis at beginning of project; Shift from monolingual school policy and classroom practice to functional plurilingual teaching/learning go hand in hand with an observed shift from instructivist pedagogy to more social constructivist paradigm of learning. –When allowing to use L1, indications of a more powerful learning environment –Positive shift towards power of co-teaching

31 Conclusions FPTL seems to be more powerful and seems to have more potential than traditional compartimentalised bilingual learning. In superdiverse classrooms using the plurilingual repertoires of children is taken as an asset, a resource for learning More involvement of teacher; of children; more interaction taking place in the classroom

32 Conclusions Positive impact on teachers beliefs and perceptions Teacher as an active agent in processes of the reconstruction of old recipes: –Training, coaching, feedback, co-reflection, co-construction –Empowerment and increased positive awareness of parents –co-construction with parents; parents as active stakeholders –Increase parental involvement and of change in parents beliefs in role of L1 as good practice in classrooms (schools as local agents; change from below) –Teachers see positive effects of use of L1 on L2 learning

33 Change paradigm Shift in perception, beliefs From what children cannot Into what they can. Otherwise we will lose a whole generation of children (not only migrants) http://www.youtube.com/watch_po pup?v=aRG4ySdi_aE&vq=medium

34 Language Policy Unit - DG II Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France www.coe.int/lang wwww.coe.int THANK YOU piet.vanavermaet@ugent.be


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