C3 – Bilingualism & Intercultural Education
(C3 – Bilingualism & Intercultural Education)
Bilingualism is a widespread phenomenon, which affects populations all over the world. Therefore, it is important for teachers to know not only the main characteristics of the bilingual speaker’s language and cognitive abilities, but also the role of school in the context of intercultural education.
The first part of the module deals with issues relating to individual bilingualism. In particular, it presents the criteria according to which the different types of bilingual speakers are categorized, the most common environments of bilingualism and their characteristics, with reference to the Critical Period Hypothesis. Moreover, it discusses the positive effects of bilingualism on the development and use of the executive functions of inhibition and selective attention. Finally, it examines the role that school plays in the development of bilingualism. Particular emphasis is placed on the educational environment of the bilingual child and how this influences the development his writing skills.
The second part of the module focuses on intercultural education. Firstly, it clarifies the key terms of intercultural education and its impact on modern forms of education. Secondly, it considers the phenomenon of bilingualism in multicultural classrooms and its exploitation in the teaching practice. Finally, it analyzes the selected instructional practices that aim at enhancing the knowledge of Greek as a second language (L2). After reviewing the theoretical framework that reflects the linguistic ability of bilingual students, we present teaching approaches and teaching suggestions for the development of basic interpersonal skills. Finally, we address the concerns raised as well as the possibilities which open up in language teaching when individual cultural considerations are taken into account.