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The moment I realized I am plurilingual”: Plurilingual tasks for creative representations in EAP at a Canadian university

Angelica Galante

Abstract

In many urban settings across the globe, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes are inherently multilingual and provide unique possibilities to explore a wealth of languages and cultures as well as the interactions among them. Although the field of applied linguistics has historically followed monolingual ideologies, a plurilingual approach in EAP can provide insights into language practices that are situated, creative and contextualized. Raising students’ awareness of their own plurilingual and pluricultural repertoire is key to preparing them to make mindful decisions about culture and language use in real-life situations; plurilingual instruction incudes translanguaging, validating plurilingual identities, as well as understanding pluriculturalism, all of which can open up possibilities for creativity in culture and language use. While research shows plurilingual-inspired pedagogies can benefit language learning, little is known about the extent to which they can enhance creative representations of language and culture. This article reports results from a study on the effects of plurilingual instruction on creativity in an EAP program. Seven EAP instructors delivered plurilingual tasks to adult students at a Canadian university. Data from demographic questionnaires, Language Portraits, student diaries (N=28), and classroom observations (N=21) were qualitatively analyzed and triangulated. Results suggest that the use of plurilingual tasks afforded a heightened awareness of plurilingual/pluricultural identity and validated the creative use of linguistic and cultural resources, including translanguaging. Suggestions for the inclusion of creative data collection instruments and plurilingual instruction in applied linguistics classroom research are made.

Acknowledgements

Portions of this article were presented at the American Association of Applied Linguistics conference, Portland, USA, March 20, 2017. This study was made possible through an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, a Doctoral grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (752-2016-1063), a Doctoral Dissertation grant from The International Research Foundation (TIRF) for English Language Education, and a Senior Doctoral fellowship from the International Foundation Program at New College-University of Toronto.

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Published Online: 2019-01-19
Published in Print: 2020-11-26

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