Participating in the Listiac project has provided valuable opportunities to carefully consider how pedagogical practices can promote linguistically sensitive teaching (LST) in all classrooms. At the University of Jyväskylä, we have become increasingly aware that students of education have more individual resources than are used in academic study. It is perhaps unsurprising that teachers can struggle to draw on the full range of linguistic and cultural resources young pupils bring to classrooms, if the teachers themselves have not had the opportunity to ‘step outside the box’ of monolingual education in their own studies.
As part of Listiac, the JYU partner has developed a cross-curricular language aware pathway as part of the class teacher curriculum in the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Jyväskylä. The aim of this pathway is to provide a recognisable reference point for students as they progress through their educational studies and explore what is meant by the ‘every teacher is a language teacher’ mandate written into the national curriculum for basic education in Finland (EDUFI, 2014).
In the linguistically diverse landscapes that today’s European societies are becoming, grasping the linguistic repertoires of pupils can be quite a challenge. In light of this, a language passport is a useful tool to increase language awareness and to support the development of linguistically sensitive teaching (LST). The MARS language passport is an example made in Flanders.
The Flemish Community in Belgium is a region where Dutch is the only official language of instruction in the school curriculum. In recent years, we have made some progress in making preschool and primary school teachers more linguistically aware and sensitive. However, as far as teachers in secondary schools are concerned, we are still at the beginning.
Due to multilingual environments and migration, the number of multilingual students in European schools has considerably increased. In this context, how can teachers manage linguistic diversity in the classrooms? Bearing in mind the Linguistically Sensitive Teaching (LST) approach, teachers in charge of 5th grade students in a primary school in the Basque Country created a curriculum adaptation for a migrant Chinese student.
Two official languages, Basque and Spanish, and at least one foreign language (usually English) are part of the curriculum in the Basque educational system. That creates a complex multilingual environment in which Linguistically Sensitive Teaching (LST) plays a significant role in order to benefit students’ learning process and general well-being. In this vein, multilingual strategies are essential in order to take advantage of students’ whole linguistic repertoire and allow knowledge transfer across languages.
Learning to write is one of the most complex cognitive and motor processes of language learning at school. It is challenging to memorise the coding of correspondences between sounds and graphemes and practice motor skills when drawing the alphabet! The effort is much greater for plurilinguals whose repertoire is encoded with different symbols and alphabets, which are topographically displayed differently on the page.
In this blog post, we look at some of the findings of children’s kindergarten practices collected by the researchers at the University of Algarve in Portugal. The data were obtained in the Cluster of Schools of Vila do Bispo. This cluster of schools is one of the most multilingual and multicultural in the region. In almost all classes more than half of the children do not have Portuguese as their first language. In some cases more than 80% of them are in this situation. This blogpost focuses on findings from a class in the kindergarten where linguistically sensitive teaching (LST) is real and where cultural aspects are utilised in practice.
The Listiac reflections carried out within our initial teacher education (ITE) and among our future teachers pointed to some possibilities of improvement regarding their preparedness. In fact, some of the weaknesses expressed by our student teachers were their lack of training (regarding resources, tools, strategies and experience), their lack of culture and languages knowledge, and their lack of good examples (during the internship period, for example).