Multilingualism and Education
Multilingualism as a resource in education was the topic of discussion as researchers and educationists from 14 different countries gathered for the Multilingualism and Education conference at UiO last week.
Knowing and speaking more than one language is more important than ever in today's globalized society. Still, teachers experience insecurity about how to work with and make use of their students' linguistic diversity in teaching contexts, and students from primary school through higher education possess linguistic skills which they never get the chance to make use of in the classroom or in an examination situation.
With all the challenges and opportunities that multilingualism presents in education, the conference Multilingualism and Education sought to explore the intersection of different perspectives on this topic through presentations, discussion panels, and posters.
Multilingualism's place in education is a much debated issue in today's globalized society. School is usually a meeting ground for students with various linguistic backgrounds, who meet other multi- or monolingual students daily. How their multilingualism is viewed and utilized in the educational system is affected by educators, schools, policy-makers, and other students alike. Scandinavian schools are no exception, and these were the foci of this symposium, which brought together over 200 teachers and researchers. Also, publishers Cappelen Damm, Akademika, and Fagbokforlaget had stands with a wide variety of textbooks for sale.
Plenary presentations were given by Professor Nancy H. Hornberger (University of Pennsylvania, USA) and Professor Hilde Sollid (UiT – The Arctic University of Norway). PDFs of their talks can be found here:
Nancy Hornberger: Researching and teaching (with) the continua of biliteracy