The Language Friendly School – a network of schools that welcome all languages – supports school communities in achieving realistic goals that aim to include plurilingual learners in education.
Most recently, the Language Friendly School had the opportunity to discuss the processes of implementation and the changes that have occurred since adopting Language Friendly approaches at eight Language Friendly Schools across the Netherlands and in Canada.
What drives administrators and teachers to opt for a Language Friendly approach?
The administrators and teachers who were interviewed* for this project hold varying levels of familiarity with linguistic and cultural diversity.
Some advocated for the Language Friendly School approach in an attempt to reconcile their own experiences as young children who faced challenges due to linguistic differences and lack of representation in education. Others saw the need in their communities as a result of the growing number of linguistically and culturally diverse migrant families in their schools.
Significant improvements in student and parent participation
One of the most striking results of these interviews is that teachers and school administrators have seen significant improvements in student and parent participation and engagement in the life of the school.
The Language Friendly School created opportunities for communication between students, their families, and community partners. Participants shared many innovative teaching practices developed by teachers and members of the school as a whole, including students. All have a common goal: to facilitate exchange and celebration of diversity in education for better learning and a more inclusive environment.
Analysis of the interviews presents important insight into what changes can be made to support plurilingualism in traditionally monolingual settings.
The final report will provide a more detailed explanation of both the pedagogical and structural changes that have already been applied, as well as those that have yet to be implemented at the participating schools. We will also explore in greater detail the behavioral and attitudinal changes of all members of the school community in response to the move toward more intentional practices that support linguistic and cultural inclusivity in education.
* Interviews were conducted by Priscilla Boyce (Rutu Foundation) and analysed by Dr Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman and Reshara Alviarez (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto).