- to reflect on linguistic diversity at school
- to raise awareness of how pupils’ languages can be included into school life
- internet connection
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Exercise 1: Teachers’ representations
Before you learn more about linguistic diversity and inclusion in school, we would like you to reflect on the concept of inclusive education and what it means to you as a teacher in advance of doing this module.
What is inclusive education? Let’s think of key words which make you think of the concept of “linguistic inclusion”. Add your own key words defining this type of inclusion.
Inclusive teaching implies facilitating and supporting all students learning processes, regardless of identity or culture. Teachers in such classrooms expose the richness of differences in their students, stimulate reciprocal interactions between them and focus on student-directed learning while integrating students’ diverse contexts. Linguistic inclusion within those terms highlights valuing all learners’ home and second languages – vernacular and minority languages just as much as world languages – making sure they are not dominated by one mainstream language.
Exercise 2: Defining inclusion and language diversity
The aim of this exercise is to reflect on the broad definition of linguistic diversity. What does this term cover in your opinion? Let’s look at the various definitions of inclusion below. Please decide whether the statements about inclusive linguistic definition of education are true or false.
Inclusive school – definitions
Inclusion implies going beyond the idea of tolerance to a true respect and appreciation of diversity.
Inclusive classroom focuses (only) on the most vulnerable students.
False. In this module, we are focusing particularly on inclusion of all students’ cultural backgrounds, languages and ethnicities. The concept of inclusive education has evolved over time. In the past inclusion was associated with proposing specific provisions for students with disabilities. It was also associated with the term: special education (Boyle & Anderson, 2020). Nowadays, inclusive education has gained much broader sense and ensures that all students can equally participate in learning process.
In an inclusive classroom, differences are seen mainly as challenges.
False. Cultivating an inclusive climate is an asset for the entire school. Differences in terms of spoken languages and culture, are seen as worthy of special attention, as they enrich the whole community.
In inclusive classroom, differences are treated as assets.
Inclusive education varies from country to country.
Inclusive education evolved from traditional (deficient) to contemporary (integration for all) point of view concerning classroom’s integration of intellectually-disables students.
Schools that do not provide training activities or programs relating to inclusion cannot be considered inclusive.
Inclusion tries to minimize all barriers for learning for all students.
Inclusion may involve changes in what goes on in classrooms, staff rooms and with parents/carers.
Newly arrived migrant students are supported in the same way as regular students.
False. The support that newly arrived migrant students need requires additional knowledge about their cultural and linguistic identities. To address these needs, suitable classroom accommodations need to be implemented in order to overcome potential social and linguistic boundaries.
Inclusive school culture includes integrating beliefs, views, attitudes, and relationships as well as written and unwritten rules that shape every aspect of the school's functioning as an institution.
In inclusive schools, migrant children and children with learning difficulties can attend regular classes together and all have the right to assistance during classes.
In multilingually inclusive classroom, teachers can work on any content of their choice, as there are no specific guidelines for a multilingual curriculum yet.
False. In an multilingually inclusive classroom, teachers need to put time and effort into finding culturally and linguistically varied content. This is a part of the differentiation process in such diverse classes. Effective teachers ensure dialog across different cultures and thus related and empowering intercultural discussion content.
Traditional approach to inclusion involves thinking about students mainly in terms of disability phenomenon as opposed to holistic, student cantered approach.
- Correct answers:
- Wrong answers:
Exercise 2 is adapted from the Self-assessment tool on inclusion (School Education Gateway, n.d.).
TIP. You might have noticed that the distinction between equality and equity underlies some of the statements above. Watch this video explaining the differences between equality and equity.
Reflecting about linguistically-inclusive scenarios
Imagine you are an inspector making recommendations to a school that has deficits in terms of linguistic inclusion. You are given 2 scenarios, written by two different teachers, please make bullet-point recommendations for these two scenarios.
An inclusive, multilingual education teacher, is a type of educator who:
Elements of a correct answer are:
An inclusive, multilingual education teacher is as type of educator who…
- Promotes positive and open to any languages and cultures school/classroom climate
- Promotes multilingual, learner-centred teaching via interlingual practices (English- language of choice)
- Raises awareness about different languages and cultures
- Guides and facilitates students’ active participation in lessons and building up knowledge
- Focuses on specific multilingual content and multilingual activities
- Develops mediation techniques, in order to resolve possible culture and language related class conflicts
- Allows various ways of assessing students
- Applies differentiation techniques to embrace linguistic diversity
- Focuses on non-punitive approaches to using multiple languages
- Is able to analyse curriculum in terms of multilingual topics
- Uses visual aids for scaffolding and other visuals to help instructional language
- Uses drama techniques and role plays for authentic and purposeful learning
- Proposes an audio-visual methods of learning
- Provides classroom environment filled with labels in different languages as well as space adaptations (groups of students working together, one big table for whole class discussion, multiple boards)
- Proposes highly motivational and relative to students’ experiences activities.
- Focuses on students’ active participation (learner-centred)
- Organises regular peer to peer feedback and assessment
The answers are inspired by teaching practices and classroom interactions provided by Edutopia (2021) and EDCHAT® (2013).