Multilingual label quests: A practice for the 'asymmetrical' multilingual classroom

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Abstract

Research on multilingual classrooms usually focuses on contexts where both teachers and pupils share the same linguistic repertoire; what can be called ‘symmetrical’ multilingual classrooms. This paper sets out to investigate whether (and how) pupils’ multilingual resources can be used in classrooms where the teacher does not share pupils’ multilingual repertoire; what can be called ‘asymmetrical’ multilingual classrooms. It focuses on the case of an induction classroom for newly arrived immigrant children in France, where the teacher is a French monolingual speaker while eight languages are spoken among the twelve pupils. Drawing on a sequential analysis (Schegloff, 2007) of a set of interactions audio-recorded in that classroom, I show how the traditional teaching practice of ‘label quests’ (Heath, 1986) can be accomplished multilingually. These examples of ‘multilingual label quests’ suggest that multilingual teaching practices are possible in the asymmetrical multilingual classroom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-164
Number of pages23
JournalLinguistics and Education
Volume24
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Keywords

  • Multilingualism
  • classroom talk
  • France
  • Conversation analysis
  • Teaching practices
  • Code-switching

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