Unit 4: Recognising diversity – towards inclusive, multilingual practices in secondary classrooms

Awareness and openness to linguistic plurality are part of global citizenship. But to develop an awareness and foster open-mindedness towards this plurality, it is important to learn more about what linguistic diversity can look like and how it can be sustained. The aims of this module are to help you to identify linguistic diversity outside and inside the classroom. The exercises not only aim to develop your knowledge and raise your awareness about languages but also enable you to identify power relations connected to language use. You will develop an up-to-date understanding of what linguistically inclusive education is and learn about different approaches to accommodate your pupils’ languages in the classroom.


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Learning Objectives

Provide you with support and guidance to learn about linguistic diversity and efforts to protect languages by:

  • Exploring various representations of linguistic inclusion
  • Critically evaluating some materials
  • Provide you with support and guidance to understand the linguistic dimension in their classroom by
  • Engaging teachers in reflecting on linguistic dimension in their practice.
  • Examining examples of linguistically inclusive teaching

Learning Outcomes

  • Attitudes n.4; Knowledge n.4 Know about international agreements that protect linguistic rights and linguistic diversity
  • Knowledge n.10 Be aware of power status issues linked to language

Be able to:

  • Values, n. 2, n. 8; Attitudes, n. 4, n. 7 Identify and promote actions to build an inclusive and linguistically accommodating school climate
  • Attitudes n.1, n. 8 Implement linguistically inclusive practices


Activity 1 – Warm up
Estimated time
45 min
Learning objectives
  • to reflect on linguistic diversity at school
  • to raise awareness of how pupils’ languages can be included into school life
Resources needed
  • internet connection 
Activity 2: Exploring language rights and policies
Estimated time
65 min
Learning objectives
  • Gaining knowledge about global efforts to protect and promote linguistic diversity
Resources needed
  • internet connection
Activity 3: Linguistic diversity in the classroom
Estimated time
60 min
Learning objectives
  • getting to know practices that include pupils’ languages in the classroom
Resources needed
  • internet connection
Activity 4: Languages in society
Estimated time
80 min
Learning objectives
  • to familiarise yourself with the cultural aspect of languages; 
  • embrace multilingual identities; 
  • to be able to self-evaluate as an intercultural educator who has openness, acceptance, and appreciation towards all the language speakers and their cultures.
Resources needed
  • internet connection
European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning.Juvonen, P. & Källkvist, M. (2021, August 26). Pedagogical Translanguaging: Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Perspectives. An Introduction.  Zenodo. Retrieved December 6, 2021.Scoping Progress in Education (SCOPE). (n.d.). SDG 4 Indicators.TED. (2018, May 2). How languages shape the way we think Lera Boroditsky [Video]. YouTube.Wlodkowski, R. J. & Ginsberg, M. B. (1995, September 1). A framework for culturally responsive teaching. ASCD.Unsworth, S. (Host). (2020–present). Kletsheads [Audio podcast].

7. Additional ideas for other disciplines

Suggested classroom instructional language (scaffolding)Differentiation: group work guidelines for multiple languages studentsActive-inquiry guidelines for teachers concerning how to organise students'- led discussions about being multilingual.

8. Suggested readings

Journal articles and books (open access)Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., & Lovett, M.C. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. Jossey Bass.Caldwell-Harris, C.L., (2019, January 15). Our language affects what we see. A new look at “the Russian blues” demonstrates the power of words to shape perception. Scientific American.Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2021). Pedagogical Translanguaging. Cambridge University Press.European Trade Union Committee for Education. (2020, November 12). New reports on multilingualism: How to create an inclusive multilingual and multicultural environment at school.Makarova, I., Duarte, J., & Huilcán, M. I. (2021). Experts’ views on the contribution of language awareness and translanguaging for minority language education. Language Awareness.Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Inclusive Teaching Strategies.News articles:Digital representation of languages:Witaba, C. (2020, June 2). Making Swahili visible: Identity, language and the internet. Localization of indigenous languages will spur a digital revolution. Global Voices.Malykh, A. (2021, March 28). The watchtower on the mountain of Dagestan’s indigenous languages. An interview with a Kaitag language digital activist from Dagestan. Global Voices.

9. Glossary entries

Culturally responsive teaching: A pedagogy that crosses disciplines and cultures to engage learners while respecting their cultural integrity. It accommodates the dynamic mix of race, ethnicity, class, gender, region, religion, and family that contributes to every student's cultural identity (Wlodkowsi & Ginsberg 1995).Differentiation: Differentiating instruction may mean teaching the same material to all students using a variety of instructional strategies, or it may require the teacher to deliver lessons at varying levels of difficulty based on the ability of each student (Resilient Educator).Inclusive education: is commonly defined as teaching that engages students in learning which is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. Inclusive education embraces the view that individual difference is a source of diversity, which can enrich the lives and learning of others (Hockings, 2010).Linguistic diversity: This broad term describes the differences within and between languages, but it can also refer to the phenomenon of different languages being used in a given society (in different ways). In that sense, linguistic diversity can also be a goal of government policies.Linguistic inclusion: Valuing all learners' home and second languages making sure they are not dominated by one mainstream language. Also see: Inclusive education and Linguistic repertoire.Linguistic landscape: The investigation of displayed language in a particular space, generally through the analysis of advertisements, billboards, and other signs.Linguistic repertoire: The set of skills and knowledge a person has of one or more languages, as well as their different varieties.Minority language education: The education of a minority language, either as a subject or as a language of instruction.Multilingual teaching practices: Activities that teachers can implement to increase their students' awareness and appreciation of language diversity and encourage them to use their knowledge of other languages and language learning experiences (Calafato 2021)ReferencesBeacco, J.-C., Byram, M., Cavalli, M., Coste, D., Egli Cuenat, M., Goullier, F. & Panthier, J. (2016). Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education. Language Policy Division, Council of Europe.Boyle, C., & Anderson, J. (2020). Inclusive Education and the Progressive Inclusionists.Cardno, C., Handjani, M. & Howse, J. Leadership Practices and Challenges in Managing Diversity to Achieve Ethnic Inclusion in Two New Zealand Secondary Schools. NZ J Educ Stud 53, 101–117 (2018).Council of Europe. (1998). Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities ( European Treaty Series, No. 157).Council of Europe. (1992). European Charta for Regional or Minority Languages (European Treaty Series, No. 148).Edutopia. (2021, April 28). Making Classrooms More Inclusive for Multilingual Learners [Video]. YouTube.EDCHAT®. (2013, August 6). Teachers TV: The Multilingual Classroom [Video]. YouTube.Fettes, M., & Karamouzian, F. M. (2018) Inclusion in education: Challenges for linguistic policy and research. In: M. Siiner M., F. Hult, & T. Kupisch (Eds.), Language Policy and Language Acquisition Planning. Language Policy (pp. 219–235). Springer, Cham.Mixed Feelings. (2021, August 18). How Twitch decides which languages the internet can use [Video]. YouTube.Noubel, F. (2021, Novemver 12). A literary landscape in flux: Fiston Mwanza Mujila's take on Congolese and diasporic literature. Authors from the DRC explore new linguistic horizons. Global Voices.School Education Gateway. (n.d.). Self-assessment tool on inclusion.School Education Gateway. (2020, February 17). The Languages Passport [Video]. YouTube.Silvercreek Public School. (2019, December 19). Language Friendly School Video. YouTube.Sinclair, K. (2021, June 16). The twitch streamers fighting to keep minority languages alive—Entertainment meets activism. The Verge.Susan K. Gardner. (2019, August19). Equity and Equality [Video]. YouTube.Yale Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning. (n.d.). Inclusive Teaching  Strategies.U.N. (1990). Convention on the Rights of the Child (Treaty Series, vol. 1577).U.N. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights.UNESCO. (1960). Convention Against Discrimination in Education.UNESCO. (1996). Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights.Unsworth, S. (Host). (2021, June 18). How to make use of bilingual children’s home languages in the classroom: Translanguaging (No. 9) [Audio podcast episode]. In Kletsheads.