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Language Awareness in Teacher Education

Cultural-Political and Social-Educational Perspectives

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Stephan Breidbach, Daniela Elsner and Andrea Young

Teaching language and teaching with languages is what is called for in contemporary classrooms, be they language classrooms or otherwise. When the learners’ plurilingualism and societies’ multilingualism have social, cultural or political implications, becoming aware of language matters is a necessity both for non-specialist teachers and language teachers alike. This book thus presents a variety of research-based perspectives on the cultural-political and social-educational domains of language awareness. Context, both historical, socio-economic, political and cultural has an undeniable impact on language attitudes and awareness, and the variety of different contexts contained in this volume – the Basque County, Catalonia (Spain), England (UK), Finland, Germany, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Portugal, Scotland (UK), and Turkey – testifies to this. As each chapter outlines the specificities and the impact of context upon language policies, attitudes and beliefs, the authors in this book focus on language awareness as a multi-faceted concept fit to play a major role in the reform processes of teacher education in the 21 st century.

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PART III: Language awareness as awareness of a multilingual society

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PART III Language awareness as awareness of a multilingual society Raising plurilingual awareness in teacher education Daniela Elsner It is assumed that, due to their experiences with former language learning, third language learners have language specific knowledge and competencies at their disposal that monolinguals do not have. But, what needs to be kept in mind is that only under specific conditions and with the support of their surrounding can multilingual learners benefit from these features, in terms of their cognitive and sociopragmatic development, and especially for further foreign language learning in institutional settings. The paper focuses on these prerequisites and lays open that the majority of EFL teachers in Germany do not know, how to support plurilingual learners e.g. by integrating existing languages into their foreign language teaching. As a consequence plurilingual learners do not account their prior language knowledge as something beneficial for further foreign language learning at school. Against this background the article will finally draw some methodological conclusions for the EFL classroom. 1 Introduction In the scope of a teaching unit I carried out a few months ago with pupils in the 11th grade in a German grammar school, I asked mono and plurilingual pupils how they feel when they speak English (as their L2 or L3) or Spanish (as their L3 or L4). Mahmut complained: I am feel not so good because I haven’t a good command of these languages. I am afraid when the peole speak the language fast because I don’t understand anything. Marc...

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