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Heritage languages in plurilingual secondary school cohorts: Exploring students’ diverse linguistic repertoires.

Liggins, Sophie (2022) Heritage languages in plurilingual secondary school cohorts: Exploring students’ diverse linguistic repertoires. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

PhD Thesis Sophie E C Liggins FINAL COPY.pdf

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The three studies in this thesis each look at a different aspect of harnessing linguistic diversity in secondary schools in England. The first study examines the characteristics of a sample of heritage language (HL) speakers in a mainstream context. Data is crucial to responsive pedagogies but accurate representation of the languages spoken in schools is not prioritised in official data collection. The sample was explored in order to find out what linguistic survey data reveals about the characteristics of HL speakers and how such data can be applied to other plurilingual secondary school cohorts. Findings highlight a current misrepresentation of the linguistic diversity of schools. A wide range of HL proficiencies is exhibited and a number of contributing factors emerge, which should be considered by schools and policy. The second study examined student responses to a programme of activities which promoted plurilingual awareness, encouraging HL use in a mainstream setting. The study considers ways in which student responses can inform practitioners when harnessing learners’ linguistic repertoires. Findings indicate that activities such as discussions about language and identity, and language portraits, are important in developing translingual approaches that encourage and support HL use. While such pedagogies can have diverse impacts for different students, legitimatising plurilingual practices is a crucial first step in embracing plurilingual pedagogies in the mainstream. The third study takes into account that while most of the research in the field focusses on theory and strategies for implementation, what students think about the approach has been neglected so far. The study explores HL students’ perceptions of plurilingualism and how these perceptions shape the potential for plurilingual pedagogical approaches in ideologically monolingual environments. The findings show that pedagogies need to be responsive, and a range of activities need to be available which suit the wide variation of receptions that they may have.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Sophie Liggins
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2022 15:03
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2022 15:03

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