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PLURILINGUAL AND PLURICULTURAL EDUCATION: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE An example of a whole school language policy in a French primary school ENSEMBLE workshop.

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1 PLURILINGUAL AND PLURICULTURAL EDUCATION: FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE An example of a whole school language policy in a French primary school ENSEMBLE workshop ECML, Graz, December 2005 IUFM dAlsace Groupe dEtudes sur le Plurilinguisme Européen, Laboratoire LILPA (EA1339), Université Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France

2 Paradox l Increasingly FLT objectives aim for bilingualism through schooling (in dominant languages mostly) l Yet many bi/plurilingual pupils lose their mother tongue (in minority languages mostly) because of schooling through French only l Objectives for FLT insist on the dimensions of –opening to other cultures and –education to otherness l Yet languages and cultures present in many classrooms –remain invisible or –seen as handicap rather than resource

3 Plurilingualism and Democratic Citizenship The development of plurilingualism is not simply a functional necessity: it is also an essential component of democratic behaviour. Recognition of the diversity of speakers plurilingual repertoires should lead to linguistic tolerance and thus to respect for linguistic differences… Language education policies are intimately connected with education in the values of democratic citizenship because their purposes are complementary. (Beacco and Byram, 2003: 35)

4 Plurilingual Education l Policy of diversification is not enough: Diversifying the number of languages is a necessary but insufficient condition for acting on motivation to undertake plurilingual education (Beacco and Byram, 2003: 36) l Languages are not equal in the French curriculum: Plurilingual education means embracing the teaching of all languages in the same educational project and no longer placing the teaching of the national language, regional or minority languages and the languages of newly arrived communities in water tight compartments (Beacco and Byram, 2003: 37)

5 The Didenheim Project-Context l Didenheim small rural school (84 children) near Mulhouse (industrial town with large migrant population in southern Alsace). l But 37% of children other than of French origin Arabic: 10.7%Portuguese: 2.4% Turkish: 9.5% Italian: 2.4% Polish: 4.7% Other: 4.7% NB Plus Alsatian: 4.7%

6 The Didenheim Project l WHY ? –Lack of motivation to learn German. –Increase in the number of racist incidents at school. l HOW ? –Participants: Pupils in the first 3 years of primary school, teachers, parents, researchers. –Regular Saturday morning sessions. –Sessions led by parents and prepared in collaboration with teachers. –Cross-curricular approach.

7 Objectives Il sagit dune sensibilisation, dun contact avec une autre langue. –La dimension culturelle du projet : connaître lautre (fêtes, traditions, géographie, costumes…) –Faire un pas vers lautre : apprendre à le connaître, rectifier des idées fausses… (Minutes from school project meeting, 7/10/00) l According equal status to all languages and cultures at school l Tackling racism at school l Encountering otherness

8 Languages Taught at school German (English) Moroccan Arabic Polish Turkish Spoken at home German English Arabic Polish Turkish Alsatian Berber Brazilian Italian Malay Mandarin Serbo-Croat Vietnamese In the project German English Arabic Polish Turkish Alsatian Berber Brazilian Italian Malay Mandarin Serbo-Croat Vietnamese Finnish Japanese Russian Sign Language Spanish

9 Activities l Tasting specialities from different culinary traditions l Learning to sing short songs with actions l Reading traditional tales from bilingual books l Some geography and history + personal history l Talking about lifestyles and living conditions l Learning in context: to introduce oneself, greet, say please and thank you + basic vocabulary l Listening to different sounds + learning to differentiate l Negotiating meaning from context or pictures l Looking at different scripts l Highlighting linguistic borrowings l Drawing parallels between languages Children learn to be explorers in the world of language and languages (Perregaux, 2003)

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11 Parents as a classroom resource l Parents involvement meant project could start without the teachers having special training. l Their participation has been central to the project l Positive educational partnership (Cummins, 2000). l An opportunity to talk about themselves, to participate in the learning of their children, to share their languages and cultures with teachers and pupils. l In France, parents active in parent-teacher associations but rarely invited inside the classroom. l Immigrant parents are even more inhibited.

12 Pupils View of Parents in the Classroom Jai aimé que des gens viennent dans la classe parce que la maîtresse ne connaît presque pas de langues Cest bien que ce soit dautres gens, la maîtresse elle ne vient pas de tous les pays Ça ma plu que les gens viennent présenter leur langue plutôt que la maîtresse, parce quils viennent du pays dont ils parlent On comprend mieux quand cest des personnes de lextérieur qui viennent présenter les langues Ma maman elle sait plus que la maîtresse

13 Combating Stereotypes l Personal contact with unknown cultures through parents could be more effective to combat stereotypes It is extremely difficult to generalise and give rise to stereotypes when personal contacts are established and friendships are born between individuals. (Komorowska, 2000)

14 Parents View- Combating Prejudice Pour moi je suis un peu avec les enfants de létranger, il y a un mur. Moi je suis venue pour montrer, on est turc, mais on est… je voulais montrer comment cela se passe chez nous, notre pays il est comme ça… il y a des fois avec mes enfants avec les autres il y a un peu problème, ils ne parlaient pas comme eux, mais depuis que jai donné le cours, chaque fois quand on voit les enfants…de la classe ils me disent, ils veulent me parler, mais avant on nétait pas comme ça…il y a eu un changement quand ils me voient ils me disent même le mot, ils disent merhaba, ils disent bonjour, quelques enfants, je suis contente… (Turkish parent)

15 Another Parental Perspective What I get of this project is the satisfaction of knowing that what I had for me all my life, I can share with other children… These children, once they have conscience of another language, it will build up an interest for them to want to know more…. Because children are very curious and they want to go towards the others, but it is always the fact of not knowing that stops people in general to go towards another person…and it removes a lot of prejudices that they have heard themselves from other adults. This way it makes them open up their minds to learn more. (Malay parent)

16 Own Childs Reaction Il est très fier que sa maman intervienne dans la classe euh, ça cest clair euh…il me la pas dit, mais je le sais parce que quand le cycle arabe sest terminé, il ma demandé maman tu reviens faire de larabe et jai dit non et on aurait dit quil était déçu…Bah il est intéressé en fait, jai limpression que le fait que jintervienne justement sur ce projet, bah à la maison il prenait des livres de poésie arabe, il sintéressait quoi, plus que…ce quil ne faisait pas avant. (Berber parent)

17 Evaluation of Parent Participation l The parents have shared and exchanged their languages and cultures l There has been real co-construction of knowledge l Their language and culture given a legitimate place in school. l Better parent-teacher relations l Better integration of parents from minorities at school

18 What Teachers Learned with Parents l Development of a more global vision of languages and cultures l Transformation of this diversity into a resource for learning l Better understanding of bilingual childrens errors Je crois que là on essaie justement de prendre les différences, de les mettre en relief, mais les bons côtés de ces différences, et ce que cela peut avoir denrichissant … il y a la partie culturelle qui est différente de la nôtre, et puis il y a tout ce quon vit en commun en fait, on construit lhistoire de la classe en commun… (Year 2 teacher)

19 Valuing Bilingual Pupils … ils nont plus la même place dans lécole. Rien quà leur niveau à eux quoi, le fait de, quon valorise leurs mamans, quon valorise leur culture, leur langue, bon moi javais déjà Çiat et Umit lannée dernière quand on a fait turc … surtout Çiat et Umit, ils étaient très fiers. (Year 1 teacher)

20 Increased Pupil Motivation Jaimerais bien apprendre le vietnamien Le brésilien parce que j'ai bien aimé cette langue Lespagnol, jaimerais en savoir plus et au collège le vietnamien La langue des signes au collège Le berbère, jaime plus que les autres langues Jaime bien apprendre les langues étrangères … jaimerais bien apprendre le chinois comme jétais pas là au CP...à la maison on a deux livres qui sont en français et il y a des signes chinois et derrière il y a les signes et puis il y a les mots que, ce que ça veut dire et comment ça se dit. Le grec Litalien Lallemand Langlais

21 Budding Linguists l Pourquoi est-ce-que l alsacien est un dialecte et pas une langue? l Cest drôle comme le vietnamien a plein daccents. Pourquoi il y a des points en dessous et des accents au-dessus? l Cest quoi laccent des Japonais? l Est-ce-que tous les noms en alsacien veulent dire quelque chose? l Est-ce-que cest dur dapprendre le français quand on est chinois? l Est-ce que la langue des signes est la même partout dans le monde? l Est-ce-que le français est une langue? l Est-ce quon écrit le berbère comme larabe de droite à gauche? l Pourquoi est-ce-que les Vietnamiens nont pas la même couleur de peau? (Helot & Young, 2002)

22 Developing Multilingual Identities and Promoting Tolerance. l We have to admit that the fact of teaching FLs is not enough to guarantee either the development of a multilingual identity or other values such as tolerance, understanding of others and the desire for justice as is often proclaimed as a declaration of intent. (Byram, 2000)

23 Plurilingual/cultural Education Does not mean learning a multiplicity of languages BUT IS l education about language and languages l complementary to FLL = metalinguistic work l language awareness, a bridging subject (Hawkins, 1984) l based on all languages irrespective of their status l works on pupils and teachers attitudes l helps to understand our multilingual/cultural world l goes beyond FLL: includes citizenship education respect for others, solidarity…

24 Plurilingual/cultural Education NOT BILINGUAL EDUCATION, BUT l Is aimed at all learners, monolingual and bilingual l Makes bilingualism visible l Gives bilingual pupils a voice l Integrates languages and cultures of all pupils across the curriculum l Demands time for positive effects : (Evlang assessment, Genelot 2002) l Demands different competence from FLT (attitudes rather than linguistic ability)

25 What is the school in Didenheim doing? l Placing languages present at school and in community (migrant, regional, national…) on an equal footing. l Raising childrens awareness of linguistic and cultural wealth of our world. l Demonstrating that difference is not deficiency but a source of learning. l Forging closer links with the local community, between the children's home and school environments. l Placing special value on the bilingualism and in some cases multilingualism of parents and children. l Showing that all languages can be learnt at any stage in ones life.

26 An Inclusive Whole School Language Policy l Means breaking down barriers -between different categories of languages -between languages and other school subjects -between different cultures -between home school and other contexts of learning l And educating all children together about the value of plurilingualism and pluriculturalism


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