chapter  1
13 Pages

Understanding multilingualism

This chapter looks at multiculturalism and seen how views about its advantages or disadvantages change over time as conditions within the country change. It provides some of the myths and misconceptions that have grown up around this complex issue and at the perceived hierarchy of languages. The chapter deals with some examples of policies developed by schools and settings to reflect their own concerns and interests. The more enlightened attitude to multilingualism received another boost when there was a directive from the European Commission, urging member states to ensure that children were given mother- tongue teaching in schools. A university lecturer visiting a teaching student in a multilingual primary classroom asked the teacher how multilingual children were supported in learning English and was told that the main object was for children to learn a lot of words, particularly names of objects.