Reflection based on Chapter 2, Flersprogethedsdidaktik i fremmedsprogsundervisningen, from the book Fremmedsprogsdidaktik. Mellem fag og didaktik (Daryai-Hansen, P., Søndergaard Gregersen, A., Jacobsen, S.K., Von Holst Pedersen, J., Svarstad, L.K. & Watson, C., 2018)
Opposing to the traditional singular approach to language teaching/learning, the research within foreign language didactics has shifted its paradigm to a more holistic and additive understanding of the individual’s plurilingual competencies, but we haven’t yet succeeded to intergrade that within the classrooms. Pluralistic approaches do enable the students to use their individual language repertoires when acquiring a new language. The students will go from being able to draw on intuitive- and epilinguistic knowledge to a conscious metalinguistic knowledge (Moore, 2014, p.46).
Within the plurilingual view on language learning, there are 3 approaches:
- The Integrated Language Didactic
- Linguistic Awareness Through a Pluralistic Approach
- Intercomprehension Between Related Languages
The purpose of the integrated language didactic approach is to strengthen the students’ communicative competencies. The integrated language didactic focusses on teaching activities that build bridges between Danish, the foreign languages within the curriculum and the first languages of the students. Within this approach is used a systematic incorporation of the students’ existing linguistic prerequisites in comparison with English and Danish e.g. finding similarities and similar words across languages. As 10% of our Danish students have a different first language than Danish, it’s very important to customise the learning environment to the individual students. The approach can also be used within other subjects than language e.g., by letting the students gather knowledge on a subject in other languages than Danish.
Linguistic awareness through a pluralistic approach focusses on strengthening the students’ linguistic awareness and linguistic recognition. This approach incorporates other languages to a more explicit degree in the sense that, there’s not just room for using the student’s prerequisites within assignments or activities, but the teaching of foreign languages itself will consist of multiple relevant languages and varieties of language such as dialects. The approach uses material which is highly content-oriented and, that offers the students to reflect upon language comparisons, but also learning strategies used within the specific tasks and hereby gain linguistic awareness.
Intercomprehension between related languages is an approach that focusses on how the comprehension within one known language rubs off when learning a new language. This approach supports the student’s ability to reading- or listening comprehension. The students will work with languages related to the language they are actually being taught in order to draw upon their general prerequisites and context-based knowledge from the whole class. Meaning that their lexical-semantic- and syntax-morphological knowledge comes into play. The purpose of including other (but related) languages, than the one they are being taught, is to develop the students’ communicative receptive competencies within languages. But at the same time, they are gaining a linguistic awareness of the language that they currently being taught along with the recognition of language they wouldn’t normally meet within the school.
Whether a teacher is using one or the other plurilinguistic approach, the student’s awareness of language can be developed according to the following 5 central knowledge-levels as introduced by Moore (2014):
- Knowledge of language learning and language learning strategies (language acquistion)
- Knowledge of the coherence between language and social context (metapracmatic)
- Knowledge of discourses (matediscursice)
- Knowledge of texts (metatextual)
- Knowledge of language in general (metalinguistic), which can be divided into metalexical-semantic, metamorphological-syntax, metaphonoligical and metaortographic
Moore, D. (2014): Sproglig opmærksomhed – en tilgang til at tyrke sproglæring fra den tidlige barndom. Sprogforum, 59: 41-48