1. bookVolume 15 (2019): Issue 1 (November 2019)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2335-2027
First Published
01 Jan 2012
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

Should Schools Undermine or Sustain Multilingualism? an Analysis of Theory, Research, and Pedagogical Practice

Published Online: 04 Dec 2019
Volume & Issue: Volume 15 (2019) - Issue 1 (November 2019)
Page range: 1 - 26
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
2335-2027
First Published
01 Jan 2012
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Summary

Most school systems around the world prioritize the teaching of languages and aim to develop bilingual or multilingual proficiencies among their students. However, in a large number of contexts, schools also systematically and intentionally undermine the potential of immigrant-background and minoritized students to develop multilingual abilities. This undermining of multilingualism operates either by explicitly prohibiting students from using their home languages (L1) within the school or through ignoring the languages that students bring to school (benign neglect). In some cases, exclusion of students’ L1 is rationalized on the grounds that maintenance of L1 will hinder students’ integration into the mainstream society. In other cases, exclusion is based on the conviction that there is competition between languages and use of the L1 either in school or home will reduce students’ exposure to the school language (L2). The validity of this time-on-task argument is critically analyzed in the present paper. I argue that the research shows no consistent relationship between immigrant students’ academic achievement (in L2) and use of L1 in the home or in the school. By contrast, several research syntheses have highlighted the positive academic outcomes of bilingual programs for minoritized students and also the feasibility of implementing multilingual or translanguaging pedagogies in the mainstream classroom.

Keywords

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