Transnational migration has in recent years not only intensified encounters between different traditions and sociocultural values, it has also had a significant impact on children’s language and academic development. This lecture focuses on language policies in schools and at home and outlines the linguistic and educational environments that are conducive to the social and academic development of children with more than one language.
While educational policies for supporting learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL) have been implemented in the UK, neither sense-making of the policies nor actual pedagogical practices in the classroom provide strong evidence that these children’s multilingual development is being adequately supported. Children’s home language is still considered an obstacle for integration into mainstream schools and for academic development.
Although multilingualism provides both socioeconomic gains and cognitive advantages, language policy at the family level tends to be strongly influenced by the educational policy. Examining language policies at both school and family levels will have important implications for multilingual children’s social and academic well-being as well as for their cultural and linguistic heritage.
Xiao Lan Curdt-Christiansen is Professor of Applied Linguistics in Education at the Department of Education, University of Bath. She previously held academic posts at the University of Reading (UK), National Institute of Education/Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), and McGill University (Canada).
Her research interests encompass ideological, sociocultural cognitive and policy perspectives on language learning with particular focus on children’s multilingual education and biliteracy development. She has examined language and literacy related issues in mainstream schools, heritage language schools, ethnic communities and transnational family contexts, on topics of curriculum policy, language-in-education policy and family language policy.
The venue has level access with double-width automatic doors. There are lifts inside the building.