A holistic approach towards multilingualism in education

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Submission Summary

This paper presents a holistic model for multilingualism in education that has been implemented in several Dutch educational projects. Within these projects multilingual activities are developed and implemented in co-construction between researchers, teachers and students. These activities aim to include all languages present in the classroom: from regional and neighbour languages to migrant and foreign languages. The model, the developed activities and materials, transcripts of classroom interaction and teachers' experiences will be discussed in this paper.

Submission ID :
AILA1632
Submission Type
Abstract :

This paper presents recent developments around multilingual education in the three northern provinces of the Netherlands. It is set within the current context of regional minority languages, such as Frisian and Low Saxon, growingly encountering migrant-induced language diversity. The typical insistence on the national languages as main languages of schooling (Kroon & Spotti, 2011) is based on the idea that immersion in each of the target languages triggers the best outcomes, thus leading to language separation pedagogies. For example, in Frisian trilingual education, the three instruction languages (Frisian, Dutch and English) are still often kept apart in instruction (Arocena & Gorter, 2013). However, research has repeatedly shown the importance of using all language resources of multilingual pupils in optimizing learning (Cummins, 2008; Cenoz & Gorter, 2011). Against this backdrop, this paper presents recent developments towards multilingual education that are realised in several educational projects that focus on achieving: a) less separation between the instruction languages in bi-/trilingual education; b) incorporating regional and neighbour languages in education; c) creating bridges between foreign languages in education; d) valorising and including migrant languages in mainstream education and e) digitalisation of multilingual materials. The projects are based on a holistic model for multilingualism in education that places pedagogical practices along a continuum, oscillating between the acknowledgement of languages and their full use in education (Duarte & Günther-van der Meij, 2018). The activities and accompanying (digital) materials are created in co-construction between teachers and researchers in design-based research (Cobb et al., 2003) during several cycles of development and implementation (McKenney & Reeves, 2013). The paper focuses on the holistic model, the developed activities and materials, research into classroom interaction, as well as teachers' experiences with the projects' approach and materials.

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NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences

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