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Monolingualism – Bilingualism – Multilingualism

The Teacher's Perspective

Series:

Hanna Komorowska and Jarosław Krajka

The book brings together sociolinguistic, neurolinguistic, and educational perspectives on language acquisition and learning in the classroom and at home. First and second language acquisition studies, classroom research findings, Polish, European and international legislation, as well as statistical reports on foreign language learning and teaching show how learners proceed from monolingual to bilingual or plurilingual competence. The book provides an overview of the major issues in the field from the teacher’s perspective, equipping teachers with theoretical underpinnings related to language education, and inviting reflection on individual choices in promoting bi- and multilingualism.

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Introduction

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Language acquisition and language learning have enjoyed a great deal of interest throughout the years, with much theoretical and empirical research into its many aspects. Theories of language acquisition have flourished, with a number of books (VanPatten and Williams 2015) describing as many as ten different frameworks. This might indicate there is no room for further reflection upon how languages are acquired and learnt.

However, in the recent years a number of factors have appeared that influence the shape of foreign language education: international mobility, migrations, refugees, revival of interest in the rights of ethnic minorities, revitalization of dead or dormant languages, and legislation at the international, European and national level regulating the issue of linguistic human rights. All of these redefine the landscape of language education to a considerable degree.

With the changed sociopolitical context in mind, a more holistic view on the language acquisition and learning process is needed. Foreign language teachers can no longer view language in isolation from the social context in which it is going to be used. At the same time, language education at school becomes more multilingual and plurilingual in nature, while the traditional picture of monolingual and monocultural EFL context with the teacher and all students sharing the same mother tongue and background culture becomes obsolete.

The aim of the present book is to bring together a number of perspectives that influence language acquisition and language learning in the classroom and at home, in...

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