Preparing Teachers to Foster Multilingual Literacy

Preparing Teachers to Foster Multilingual Literacy

Evghenia Goltsev (University of Cologne, Germany) and Stefanie Bredthauer (University of Cologne, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2722-1.ch024
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Having been overlooked for a long time, the importance of literacy competence for successful participation in education is currently gaining attention and practical implementation in many countries. However, despite the linguistic diversity of the classrooms and the so-called multilingual turn in research, the fostering of literacy skills often continues to focus on the monolingual perspective of the majority language, thus overlooking vast multilingual potential. This approach is rooted at different levels of the educational systems. For teachers, who play a key role in promoting literacy development, this is partially due to respective monolingual orientation in teacher education and a lack of (systematic) implementation of applicable methods and examples. This chapter addresses this issue by presenting a synopsis of possible approaches of preparing teachers to foster multilingual literacy. Although all this is done using Germany as an example, the elements can be transferred to other contexts and formats of teacher training courses.
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Theoretical Background

As a basis for the presentation of the field-tested approaches from seminars at the University of Cologne, the questions of why multilingual literacy should be promoted in the classroom and to what extent (prospective) teachers in Germany have been prepared for it so far is now addressed.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Translanguaging: An approach that allows and incorporates written and oral usage of different languages in the classroom.

Self-Experience: An experience that has been reflected upon and thus becomes conscious. An encounter with new perspectives in this context can even lead to changes of one’s own reflected experience.

Language-Portrait Method: A method that allows capturing of one’s linguistic repertoire. It is implemented by marking one's own languages on a human silhouette with different colors.

Linguistic Landscaping: Tracking different language representations – for example, on street signs or graffiti in the city. By documenting language use in public spaces, the multilingualism profile of a city becomes clear.

Language Education as a Subject Area of Teacher Training: A special approach at German universities to focus on language in teacher training. It can be represented as a separate module, integrated into other courses as a cross-sectional topic, or taught as an independent subject.

Multilingual Individuals: People who have the ability to use two or more languages for the purpose of communication.

Multilingual Pedagogy: A didactic approach or a scope of approaches that focuses on the development of the whole linguistic repertoire of multilingual individuals.

Intercomprehension: An approach that focuses on the use of competences in already learned languages in order to understand other languages.

Eveil aux Langues: An approach that develops attitudes of tolerance and openness to linguistic and cultural diversity.

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