Multilingual CALL: Multilingual Language Learning with Digital Media in Primary and Secondary Classrooms
Frankfurt, February 17-18, 2016
Learners of a second or foreign language are not homogeneous with regard to their linguistic backgrounds and their degree of fluency in different languages. Students often have skills in more than one language, including languages previously studied at school, as well as heritage and minority languages. These skills can range from basic conversational skills to fully developed cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). Teachers are expected to diagnose the different needs of all pupils and cater for them in the mainstream classroom. CALL – computer assisted language learning – can potentially contribute to this.
Online interactions that bring together speakers of different languages, for example telecollaboration and virtual tandems, can add depth and complexity to a language learning setting. Who speaks which language to whom and when? Why? Is code-switching permissible? Many decisions regarding language choice are made by teachers and learners alike, but which “language choice designs”, which “language choice strategies” are most beneficial for learners?
Despite these relevant questions, very little research has been conducted on multilingual CALL. Usually, issues of multilingual language practices in CALL are mentioned only in passing, often based on the assumption that they constitute a problem that needs to be addressed. Sometimes, unspoken assumptions about a monolingual ideal in language instruction (cf Gogolin 1994, Butzkamm 1973) permeate CALL designs – but these assumptions are rarely empirically tested or theoretically challenged.
This conference aimed to increase the awareness of the existence and functions of multilingual materials and multilingual language use in CALL contexts and to contribute to a critical assessment on widespread assumptions regarding monolingual/multilingual practices in CALL.
Butzkamm, W. (1973) Aufgeklärte Einsprachigkeit: Zur Entdogmatisierung der Methode im Fremdsprachenunterricht. Heidelberg: Quelle & Meyer.
Gogolin, I. (1994) Der monolinguale Habitus der multilingualen Schule. Münster: Waxmann.