Views from Portuguese teachers on multilingualism and educational practices in multilingualclassrooms

Margarida Alves Martins, Otília Sousa, São Luís Castro, Julie Dockrell, Timothy Papadopoulos, Charles Mifsud

Abstract


Europe is a diverse and heterogeneous linguistic community that faces the challenge of educating anincreasingly multicultural and multilingual population. Language teachers are key players on this regardas they may foster multilingualism and contribute to students’ inclusion in their classrooms. Portugal isno exception and Portuguese schools and teachers are adapting to an increasingly multilingual society,a situation that is not entirely new but nevertheless presents new challenges. In the present article, weanalyse teachers’ conceptions regarding multilingualism in Portugal and the educational practicesdeveloped in multilingual classrooms. Participants were 505 teachers from all levels of educationteaching in multilingual classrooms. A questionnaire created by the multilingual group of the EuropeanLiteracy Network translated and adapted for Portugal was answered online. The results show a lowconcentration of immigrant children per class, the prominent role of English as a second language,teachers with an open attitude towards linguistic diversity, who are multilingual and aware ofmultilingualism, and value the language and culture of their students. They believe that being able tomaster different languages is an asset to the students' academic and cognitive development.

Keywords


Multilingualism, Teachers’ conceptions, Educational practices, Immigrants, L1, L2.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14417/ap.1622

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