I am a qualified English as a second language teacher turned researcher. Over more than 20 years of teaching English in different countries, I grew curious about the other languages my students brought with them to our classroom, and the role that they might play in learning.
Dynamic multilingual development; dynamic multilingual education; translanguaging; heteroglossia; narrative analysis; sociolinguistics; language planning and policy.
My Ph.D. project Opportunities for developing multilingual literacies: mother tongue instruction in Sweden and a community language school in Australia looks at two contexts in which 'mother tongues' or 'community languages' are studied or used in other ways in educational settings. Using methods from linguistic ethnography, the study aims to identify and analyse some of the opportunities these environments offer for the development of multilingual literacies.
In Sweden, I visited schools and classrooms where Turkish, Kurdish, Urdu and Arabic are taught through the elective subject of 'Mother Tongue Instruction', as well as classrooms where 'Multilingual Study Guidance' is conducted with recently arrived students. In Australia I explored the linguistic ecology in which a community language school teaching Vietnamese is embedded.
The study takes an ecological approach to the environments and draws on the Continua of Biliteracy (Hornberger, 1989; Hornberger & Skilton-Sylvester, 2000) in addressing one principal research question: How are opportunities for the development of multilingual literacies created in the setting? Results indicate that teachers, students and parents in all the investigated settings draw on complex linguistic resources in teaching, learning and to develop multilingual literacies. This generates tensions between conceptualisations and regulations framing languages and language education and the more fluid linguistic practices in the same setting.