Developing a multilingual identity in the languages classroom: the influence of an identity-based pedagogical intervention

Forbes, K., Evans, M., Fisher, L., Gayton, A. , Liu, Y. and Rutgers, D. (2021) Developing a multilingual identity in the languages classroom: the influence of an identity-based pedagogical intervention. Language Learning Journal, 49(4), pp. 433-451. (doi: 10.1080/09571736.2021.1906733)

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It is natural to assume the languages classroom to be a key site for the construction of learners’ linguistic and multilingual identities. Yet, an underlying assumption exists that this will occur regardless of whether teachers explicitly raise learners’ awareness about the nature of language and how language is implicated in their lived experience. We argue, therefore, that a new dimension of languages pedagogy is necessary in order for learners to understand their own and others’ linguistic repertoires (whether learned in school, at home or in the community) and so to recognise their agency in being able to claim a multilingual identity. In this paper, we present a rationale for and explore the effect of an innovative programme of participative multilingual identity education which was implemented by teachers in languages classrooms across four secondary schools in England over the course of one academic year. Data were collected through questionnaires administered before and after the intervention and sought to trace the formation of students’ multilingual identity. Evidence from this study suggests that while more traditional interventions focusing on raising awareness about the benefits of languages can be beneficial, effects can be enhanced by an additional ‘identity’ element, i.e. actively promoting reflexivity.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council [grant number AH/N004671/1].
Keywords:Linguistics and Language, Education, Language and Linguistics
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gayton, Dr Angela
Authors: Forbes, K., Evans, M., Fisher, L., Gayton, A., Liu, Y., and Rutgers, D.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Language Learning Journal
Publisher:Informa UK Limited
ISSN (Online):1753-2167
Published Online:09 April 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Language Learning Journal 49(4): 433-451
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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