Can pluralistic approaches based upon unknown languages enhance learner engagement and lead to active social inclusion?

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Dahm, Rebecca
International Review of Education / Internationale Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft.
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03-09-2018 2:53 PM
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One way to foster active social inclusion is to enable students to develop a positive attitude to 'foreignness'. Creating a situation where mainstream studentsare less wary of foreign languages and cultures, and where newcomers feel their linguistic background is being valued, provides favourable conditions for the inclusion of these newcomers in the classroom and in society. However, language classrooms in French schools rarely take any previously acquired linguistic knowledge into account, thus unconsciously contributing to the rift between multilingual learners (e.g. 1st- and 2nd-generation immigrant children, refugees, children of parents with different mother tongues) and French learners. Native French learners' first experience of learning another language is usually when English is added as a subject to their curriculum in primary school. In some schools in France, English lessons now include the simulation of multilingual situations, designed in particular for the French 'quasi-monolingual' students to lose their fear of unknown languages and 'foreignness' in general. But the overall aim is to help both groups of learners become aware of the positive impact of multilingualism on cognitive abilities. However, to achieve long-term effects, this awareness-raising needs to be accompanied by maximum engagement on the part of the students. This article explores an instructional strategy termed Pluralistic Approaches based upon Unknown Languages (PAUL), which was designed to develop learning strategies of quasi-monolingual students in particular and to increase learner engagement more generally. The results of a small-scale PAUL study discussed by the author seem to confirm an increase in learner engagement leading to an enhancement of learning outcomes. Moreover, PAUL seems indeed suitable for helping to prepare the ground for social inclusion. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Teaching Methods and Strategies
Immigrant Students
English Learners
English Learners