Advanced search

Language passports: Revealing the Contrast in Teacher Beliefs and Pupils’ Practices

Author
Organization
Abstract
The contrast between the rigid school policies and monolingual beliefs on the one hand and the linguistic reality of multilingual pupils became clear in a Flemish study in primary and secondary education. Focus-group-discussions with multilingual students from primary schools in Flanders reveal the covert prestige of their multilingual repertoires. The schools stipulate in their written policies that they expect a positive engagement towards the school language; yet this engagement is not mutual since it is not the case towards all the languages the students use. In addition, translanguaging (even at the students’ free time) is perceived as a symptom of poor language proficiency and school agents interpret it as a sign that multilingual students do not adhere to the monolingual policy of the school. In the focus-group-discussions the students indicated they often switch between languages automatically and unwittingly. These translanguaging practices are part of their identity, but students express a concern that it will impede on their acquisition of the school language. In this presentation we focus on one specific case of a primary school in a Flemish city with more than 40% of the pupils speaking another language than Dutch at home. In this particular case, it is illustrated that language policies and practices are given form by many actors: the school leader, the team of teachers, and both their perceptions, the school composition of the pupils and the specific legal regulations. In this case the headmaster is a strong advocate of multilingualism, something that is rarely observed in the interviews we conducted with headmasters and teachers in Flanders. However partly covert, her beliefs seem to conflict with the more overt monolingual teacher practices. The conflict between the overt and covert policies in one specific case indicates how complex the processes needed for change really are. As the headmaster indicates during the interview, looking at the whole linguistic repertoire of pupils as an asset in their learning process seems to be a long way to go.
Keywords
Education, Multilingualism

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Van Avermaet, Piet, Fauve De Backer, and Lilith Van Biesen. 2016. “Language Passports: Revealing the Contrast in Teacher Beliefs and Pupils’ Practices.” In Sociolinguistics Symposium 21.
APA
Van Avermaet, Piet, De Backer, F., & Van Biesen, L. (2016). Language passports: Revealing the Contrast in Teacher Beliefs and Pupils’ Practices. Sociolinguistics Symposium 21. Presented at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 21.
Vancouver
1.
Van Avermaet P, De Backer F, Van Biesen L. Language passports: Revealing the Contrast in Teacher Beliefs and Pupils’ Practices. Sociolinguistics Symposium 21. 2016.
MLA
Van Avermaet, Piet, Fauve De Backer, and Lilith Van Biesen. “Language Passports: Revealing the Contrast in Teacher Beliefs and Pupils’ Practices.” Sociolinguistics Symposium 21. 2016. Print.
@inproceedings{8060232,
  abstract     = {The contrast between the rigid school policies and monolingual beliefs on the one hand and the linguistic reality of multilingual pupils became clear in a Flemish study in primary and secondary education. Focus-group-discussions with multilingual students from primary schools in Flanders reveal the covert prestige of their multilingual repertoires. The schools stipulate in their written policies that they expect a positive engagement towards the school language; yet this engagement is not mutual since it is not the case towards all the languages the students use. In addition, translanguaging (even at the students{\textquoteright} free time) is perceived as a symptom of poor language proficiency and school agents interpret it as a sign that multilingual students do not adhere to the monolingual policy of the school. In the focus-group-discussions the students indicated they often switch between languages automatically and unwittingly. These translanguaging practices are part of their identity, but students express a concern that it will impede on their acquisition of the school language.
In this presentation we focus on one specific case of a primary school in a Flemish city with more than 40\% of the pupils speaking another language than Dutch at home. In this particular case, it is illustrated that language policies and practices are given form by many actors: the school leader, the team of teachers, and both their perceptions, the school composition of the pupils and the specific legal regulations. In this case the headmaster is a strong advocate of multilingualism, something that is rarely observed in the interviews we conducted with headmasters and teachers in Flanders. However partly covert, her beliefs seem to conflict with the more overt monolingual teacher practices. The conflict between the overt and covert policies in one specific case indicates how complex the processes needed for change really are. As the headmaster indicates during the interview, looking at the whole linguistic repertoire of pupils as an asset in their learning process seems to be a long way to go.},
  author       = {Van Avermaet, Piet and De Backer, Fauve and Van Biesen, Lilith},
  booktitle    = {Sociolinguistics Symposium 21},
  keyword      = {Education,Multilingualism},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Murcia, Spain},
  title        = {Language passports: Revealing the Contrast in Teacher Beliefs and Pupils{\textquoteright} Practices},
  year         = {2016},
}