Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton January 22, 2020

Including multiple languages in secondary education: A translanguaging approach

Mirjam Günther-van der Meij, Joana Duarte and Laura Nap

Abstract

This article presents recent developments around multilingual secondary education in the officially bilingual province of Friesland, the Netherlands. As in other European contexts, schools in this region face the challenge of a growing language diversity due to migration. Despite this larger variety of languages in society, schooling is still mainly through the national language (Kroon & Spotti, 2011), based on the idea that immersion in each of the target languages triggers the best outcomes, thus leading to language separation pedagogies. Also, in teacher training programmes, pre-service teachers are educated with a pedagogy of language separation. This is in contrast with research that has repeatedly shown the importance of using all language resources of multilingual pupils in optimizing learning (Cenoz & Gorter, 2011; Cummins, 2008).

Against this backdrop, recent developments for multilingual secondary education within the province of Friesland focus on

a. less separation between the three instruction languages (Frisian, Dutch and English);

b. creating bridges between foreign languages in secondary education (German and French);

c. valorising and including migrant languages in mainstream education.

The Holi-Frysk project (holistic approach for Frisian and language education) was set up as an answer to these issues (Authors, forthcoming). In this pilot-project three secondary schools of different types developed, implemented and evaluated multilingual teaching approaches to include all languages present in the school in teaching. Teachers were trained through workshops and school visits and the

activities were video recorded, transcribed and analysed on their translanguaging practices.

The article will first of all present and discuss a few examples of the pedagogical activities and secondly zoom in on its effects at the interactional level by focusing on moments in which different functions of pedagogical translanguaging (García & Wei, 2015) appear. Finally, suggestions are given how these findings could be integrated in the teacher training programmes to prepare our pre-service teachers for today’s multilingual and multicultural classrooms.

Acknowledgement

This research was conducted with the support of Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning. The authors wish to express their gratitude to Annika Klein for her engaged participation in data collection and analysis as well as to Anna Fardau Schukking for her support in the coding of the data. Furthermore, we thank the regional government of the Province of Fryslân for the financial support to set up and implement this pilot. The choice to support multilingualism and not primarily the Frisian language was certainly an innovative one. Lastly, we wish to thank the teachers and pupils of the pilot for their enthusiasm and creativity throughout this pilot.

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Published Online: 2020-01-22
Published in Print: 2020-02-26

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