Realising the Pedagogical Potential of Multilingual Pre-service Primary Teachers
This paper reports on a small, qualitative study undertaken by an early career researcher in an Australian university into the meanings which multilingual and bilingual pre-service teachers attach to their linguistic ‘funds of knowledge’ (Moll, Amanti, Neff and Gonzalez, 1992) in relation to their university studies, and to their emerging identities as teachers. Current pedagogical best practice in Australia indicates that drawing on students’ existing funds of knowledge in teaching and learning results in increased intellectual quality, such as higher order thinking skills, and higher academic outcomes. However, the participants in this study did not conceptualise their linguistic abilitiesas having any value in relation to their higher education. They also appeared to tacitly accept reported institutional and pedagogical practices,which marginalisedthese abilities both as tools for learning and for informing their developing identities as teachers. On the basis of these findings, broad preliminary recommendations are made as to how the learning experiences of bilingual andmultilingual pre-service primary teachers, and of their monolingual peers, may be improved at this university.The study’s findings point to the need for a larger-scale research study into this under-investigated aspect of pre-service teacher education in Australia.
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