Generating bi/multilingual texts as a way to meet learning objectives in primary English classrooms

Year: 2021

Author: Turner, Marianne, Keary, Anne, Tour, Katrina

Type of paper: Symposium

It has been widely acknowledged in the research literature and policy documents that students’ home language practices can be leveraged as a key resource for their learning.  However, these practices can often be conceptualised as the translation of words and phrases through student use of a bilingual dictionary, or as a one-off celebration of students' linguistic and cultural heritage. It can be challenging for teachers to embed students’ language resources in class in a systematic way that links to wider learning objectives. This presentation reports on a research project with a professional learning component that sought to respond to this challenge. The project involved seven primary teachers from four Victorian schools. The teachers, who were all working with language-background-other-than-English (LBOTE) students, participated in professional learning  delivered by the research team. They then developed and taught a lesson sequence in the subject area of English and/or EAL. The lesson sequence was based around students’ home language practices and involved the production of bi-/multilingual texts. In this presentation, we will provide examples of the activities leading to the texts (written and/or oral) that aimed to meet the learning objectives of the English and EAL curricula. We will also discuss the different approaches of the teachers, and students’ overall engagement, with a specific focus on the  learning of English and the role of home languages.