Why separate languages in the classroom if they are inseparable in our brain? The case for plurilingual pedagogy (Angelica Galante, Maria Chiras, John Wayne Dela Cruz & Lana Zeaiter, McGill University, Canada)
Angelica Galante, Maria Chiras, John Wayne Dela Cruz & Lana Zeaiter, McGill University, Canada
Title: Why separate languages in the classroom if they are inseparable in our brain? The case for plurilingual pedagogy
Keywords: plurilingual pedagogy; multilingual pedagogy; innovative language pedagogy; classroom research; ESL
Historically, language pedagogy has followed a tradition of using the target language as the only language of instruction, but recent scholarship challenges this practice. While it has long been assumed that multilinguals keep the languages in their brain separated, all of the languages in their repertoire are in fact active even when engaging with one language only (Kroll et al., 2013). In many language classes, students already speak one, two or more languages; thus, there is an urgent need for the delivery of effective pedagogy that helps multilingual learners develop the target language while valuing all the languages in their repertoire. One innovative pedagogical approach that can address this need is plurilingualism, which affords several benefits to language learning such as enhanced motivation (Bernaus et al., 2007), metacognition (Corcoll, 2013), and plurilingual and pluricultural competence (Galante, 2018). However, many language teachers still find it challenging to implement plurilingual pedagogy (Ellis, 2013; Galante et al., 2019) and may even fear that other languages will “contaminate” the classroom. In our paper presentation, we report results of an FRQSC research project collaboratively carried out with language teachers in the city of Montreal, Canada. We specifically focus on the implementation of plurilingual pedagogy in ESL programs for learners in higher education (college and university), although it can be applicable to other language classrooms. First, we demonstrate the process of conducting an environment analysis to enhance success levels of implementation. Second, we discuss how the theory of plurilingualism (CoE, 2001; Marshall & Moore, 2018) has informed the design of several pedagogical tasks. Third, we present samples of tasks, which will be made available for participants, discuss the process of implementation and teachers’ perceptions of these tasks. We conclude with a discussion about affordances, challenges and contextual considerations when implementing plurilingual pedagogy.