Innovative Features of a Plurilingual Approach in Language Teaching
Implications from the LINCDIRE Project
Keywords:pedagogical innovation, plurilingualism, pluriculturalism, action-oriented tasks, mediation
Language teaching methodologies over the past decade have been gradually moving towards more plurilingual approaches to language teaching (Conteh & Meier, 2014; May, 2014; Taylor & Snoddon, 2013; Lau & Van Viegen, 2020). The call for a multi/plurilingual turn in language education marks the move from language separation to integration of languages in the classroom. In turn, this has been accompanied by the emergence of innovative action-oriented and task-based approaches (Author, 2019; Author, in press; van den Branden, et al., 2009). These important developments may raise ambivalent responses, especially in contexts embracing more traditional approaches to language teaching. To address this ambivalence, this article aims to present the successes of a plurilingual action-oriented approach and outline its innovative features. We present data from multiphase, mixed methods research study (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011) involving 140 participants (25 teachers; 115 students) from a range of culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms represented by nine languages. The results of the data analysis suggest a number of successful and challenging areas within the project. Defining the innovative features of the adopted methodology and examining ways they were implemented by teachers and embraced by students, we outline the most effective aspects of the research project. Building on a broad view of mediation that encompasses the Vygotskian concept (Lantolf et al., 2015) expanded through an embodied and enactive view of cognition (Love, 2014 ) and the cyclical intersubjective process that characterizes human agency (Author, in press; Raimondi, 2014), while taking into account a set of recently developed mediation descriptors (Council of Europe, 2020), we provided both a conceptual and practical frame for the innovative action-oriented tasks, connection of language and culture, and integration of online and in-class learning via the digital platform LITE (Language Integration Through E-portfolio). Finally, we discuss implications from the LINCDIRE project for teachers, administrators, and policy-makers.
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