Making plurilingual/pluricultural education accessible: International perspectives
The basic assumption behind plurilingualism is that individual language components are “uneven, differentiated according to the learner’s experience and in an unstable relation as that experience changes” (CEFR 2001: 34). Plurilinguals are assumed to have the ability to call flexibly upon their repertoire and e.g., switch from one language, dialect, or variety to another, call upon the knowledge of several languages (or dialects, or varieties) to make sense of a text or experiment with alternative forms of expression (CEFR Companion Volume 2020: 30). The fluidity with which various language components interact is believed to promote the development of linguistic and cultural awareness, and to contribute to global understanding and acceptance of diversity. It is also interwoven with the concept of pluriculturalism – an approach that perceives individuals as complex beings shaped by multiple cultural experiences and identifications.
Yet, with languages (and their cultural contexts) being taught in isolation, compartmentalized institutionalized education often leaves little room for a plurilingual approach. This is problematic as monolingual teaching: a) fails to do justice to the complex reality of learners’ linguistic/cultural repertoires (Blommaert & Backus 2011), and b) creates “limitations in terms both of learning capacity and space in the curriculum” (FREPA 2012: 8). In the European context, this e.g., stands in the way of the Barcelona Summit (2002) “mother tongue + 2” objective. At the same time, there is ample evidence to support the notion that adopting plurilingualism can be a challenge for teachers. As Helot and Ó Laoire (2011, xi) put it: “teachers in the multilingual classroom may continue to underestimate the competence of plurilingual students and to silence their voices, rather than using cross-linguistic learning strategies and learners’ metalinguistic awareness as learning resources across languages and even across school disciplines.”
The conference, associated with the project TEACUP (teacup-project.eu), will focus on the challenges and opportunities associated with the adoption of the plurilingual approach and on the measures that could be undertaken to make it more accessible. We welcome empirical, theoretical, and practice-based contributions that address but are not limited to the following questions:
The aim of the conference is to engage interested colleagues in fruitful discussions in which they can share their reflections, experiences, perspectives, and insights. Participation is free of charge.
Proposals for contributions should be submitted by 31.05.22 and contain the following:
Proposals will be blind reviewed by members of the Scientific Committee. The presenters will receive a note of acceptance by 15.06.22. Selected papers will be published in a peer reviewed compilation (UCOPress, indexed in SPI, and/or Peter Lang).
Blommaert, J., & Backus, A. (2011). Repertoires revisited: ‘Knowing language’ in superdiversity. Working Papers in Urban Language and Literacies 67, 1–26.
Council of Europe (2020). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment – Companion volume, Council of Europe Publishing, Strasbourg, available at www.coe.int/lang-cefr
Council of Europe. (2001). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge, UK: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.
European Centre for Modern Languages. (2012). FREPA: A framework of reference for pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures: competences and resources.
Hélot, C. & Ó Laoire, M. (2011). Language Policy for the Multilingual Classroom: Pedagogy of the Possible. Bristol, Blue Ridge Summit: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847693686