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Call for Proposals – Learning and Teaching of English in the Multilingual Classroom – English Teachers’ Perspectives, Practices, and Purposes – Special Issue

As linguistic diversity and multilingualism are on the rise around the globe, English language classrooms are becoming linguistic third spaces (Gutiérrez, Baquedano-Lopéz, and Tejeda, 2000) where multilingual learners and teachers interact. For learners, adding yet another language to their linguistic repertoires entails activation of their existing linguistic resources (May, 2013), engagement of performative competence (Canagarajah, 2013), and possible shifts in linguistic identity (Pavlenko and Blacklegde, 2004). Teachers, on the other hand, are increasingly expected to implement pedagogical approaches that recognize diverse linguistic and cultural practices as valuable resources (Bonnet and Siemund, 2018), engage learners’ whole language repertoires (Cenoz and Gorter, 2014), promote additive multilingualism, and forge opportunities for meaningful and equal participation and language development for all students (García and Flores, 2012; Leung and Valdes, 2019).

While the multilingual turn in language education has been embraced by researchers and academics, empirical findings from classroom research continue to suggest that teachers working in multilingual settings find it difficult to implement pedagogies that meet the needs of linguistically diverse, multilingual learners (Alisaari, Heikkola, Commins, and Acquah, 2019; de Angelis, 2011; Rodríguez-Izquierdo, Gonzàlez Falcón, and Goenechea Permisán, 2020; Webster and Valeo, 2011). Recent research studies reported the lack of appropriate pedagogical training in how to optimize the student learning experience in similar settings (Rasheed, Zeeshan, Zaidi, 2017; Raud and Orehhova, 2020). For instance, the wide spectrum of mother tongues encountered in multilingual classrooms that teachers have little to no knowledge about often hinders the implementation of flexible languaging approaches, thus constituting a barrier to a multilingual development. Teachers, however, are important agents of change, and a full transition to multilingually-oriented teaching practices cannot be enacted without them. In the classroom, it is often teachers who decide to what degree they want to implement existing language policies, and, as a result, their actions can either support or suppress multilingual practices of their students (Hornberger and Cassels, 2007).

Because of the key role educators can play in optimizing the learning experience of multilingual learners, there is a need for more studies in different classroom environments that would shed light on how the students’ linguistic repertoires could be effectively integrated in the teaching of English as an additional language (Koonj, Memon, and Shah, 2020; Shin, Dixon, and Choi, 2020). In many parts of the world, English is the first foreign language children learn in school; yet, for many learners, it is not the second language they acquire, but instead a third or additional language (Bonnet, Jacob, Schäfer, and Schmidt, 2018). Research on the acquisition of English in multilingual contexts to date has focused on a range of issues, including the competence of multilingual users to acquire the languages they know, acquisition throughout the life span, the opportunities and challenges presented by multilingualism, cross-linguistic influences in multilingual language acquisition, the relationship between the multilingual individual and the multilingual society, and the impact of power relations on acquisition. However, despite the growing body of research in this area, more studies are needed on English teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism and the pedagogical practices they enact to foster multilingual development of their learners.

This Special Issue aims to compile papers that examine English teachers’ perspectives, practices, and purposes on the current challenges in linguistically diverse classrooms. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following: early language learning, adult language learning, multilingual competence with English as an additional language, multilingual literacy in the English language classroom, pedagogical approaches to teaching English in multilingual contexts, translingual practices in multilingual English classrooms, multidisciplinary approaches to multilingual teaching the integration of mother tongue(s) in multilingual education, and multilingual assessment. We are particularly interested in a global perspective and welcome contributions from all geographical locations.

We request that, prior to submitting a manuscript, interested authors initially submit a proposed title and an abstract of 400–600 words summarizing their intended contribution.

Please send it to the Guest Editors ([email protected][email protected][email protected]) or to the Languages Editorial Office ([email protected]).

Abstracts will be reviewed by the Guest Editors for the purposes of ensuring proper fit within the scope of the Special Issue. Full manuscripts will undergo double-blind peer-review.

The tentative completion schedule is as follows:

  • Abstract submission deadline: 31 December 2020
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: 31 January 2021
  • Full manuscript deadline: 31 August 2021

More information:

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