Lecture by Nathalie Auger, March 30, 2015


The Multilingual/Multicultural Challenge in Language Education in France and Europe after Charlie Hebdo


Nathalie Auger, University of Montpellier, Frances

Considering Europe as a plurilingual and multicultural area including family languages (migrant and regional languages) is fairly new. The Council of Europe has produced recommandations for equal treatment for all languages and cultures and allow new perspectives in language teaching including intercultural education since 2010. But France, historically, as a state-based nation constructed around the political model of monolingualism , has long ignored or refused to take into account the presence of other languages (regional and migrant languages), other standards, other cultures considering them as a danger to the unity of the country. The underlying model of monolingualism goes a long way in explaining why more than 75 languages are used in France, but less than a dozen are taught in school . This monolingual/ monocultural ideology does not take into account the fact that different standards of French and languages can be required in different communication situations in social life (families, work, school). Though, I would like to draw up an inventory of contexts and opportunities with regard to the place and the role of languages and intercultural perspectives in the school in France and in Europe.
Over the last 10 years, a corpus of qualitative research in France and in Europe has emerged, leading to new educational proposals, which take into account plurilingualism and plurinormalism in different contexts. The three areas targeted for research, analyzed in chronological order are: 1) the Newly Arrived Children (NAC) in France 2) classes in Europe where French is taught through subject material (CLIL in ConBaT + Council of Europe project), 3) gypsies pupils. These learning situations have in common to develop teaching practices and axiological representations of languages which are part of the actual debate on terrorism in France. The different representations and practices existing in the different contexts of teaching and learning can be mutually enlightened. To encourage using languages and cultural resources various activities were implemented that could potentially forge links between languages and cultures and support the learning of languages (DVD “comparing our languages”, rewarded with a European label of innovation in language education) and allow work on representations of languages in school.

Monday, March 30, 2015
3 – 5 pm, B4 Dwinelle Hall