A SYNTHESIS OF THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS ON MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION FOR SCHOOL LEADERS.

Author:Kirss, Laura
  1. Introduction

    Over the last 45 years, the number of migrants in the world has tripled--there are around 244 million people living in a country other than their country of birth (International Organization for Migration 2017). In addition to increasing intensity of overall migration, migration patterns are diversifying, e.g. rise in the number of countries of origin, changing migration channels, etc. (Meissner and Vertovec 2015). Moreover, migration is affecting a larger scale of countries. Migration flows are not only directed towards the so-called traditional migration destinations (e.g. USA, Germany) (International Organization for Migration 2017), but are shifting towards non-typical receiving countries as well. For instance, Central and Eastern European countries that have thus far been mostly unattractive destinations have experienced remarkable increases in foreign-born population, including refugees (European Commission 2017; OECD 2017). This transformation in migration, also termed 'super-diversity' (Vertovec 2007), has important implications on policy--country policies and regulations need to accommodate the issues arising from the heterogeneity of populations.

    Education is one of the public policy areas that is commonly affected by migration. Not only are children moving together with adult migrants but a large proportion of children are moving on their own. E.g. by 2016, the number of unaccompanied and separated children applying for asylum in Europe had risen six-fold from 2010 to 66 thousand annually (UNICEF 2017). In OECD countries, the share of students with an immigrant background has risen by six percentage points on average with Luxembourg, Switzerland and Ireland at the top with 15-20 percentage point increase (Forghani-Arani, Cerna, and Bannon 2019). Despite the fact that education is perceived to be the critical domain of integration, the role of school leaders in this process has not been under great attention (Devine 2013). Still, Faas, Smith, and Darmody (2018:459) have recently concluded that school leadership has been recognized as "an important concept internationally in addressing increasing migration-led diversity". Also, the emergence of a research field called 'Culturally Responsive School Leadership' is an evidence of increased attention to the field (see for example Johnson 2012).

    Devine (2013), researching practicing leaders in newly multi-ethnic schools in Ireland, demonstrates the tensions school leadership is experiencing under the 'new' situation: on the one hand, they have to negotiate the community dynamics from inside and outside schools and on the other, accommodate national-level policies on diversity. School leaders find themselves in a situation where they need to balance outside pressures while still holding on for a particular vision for their school. Consequently, it is relevant to ask: Are school leaders properly equipped to address the increased diversity at schools? What conceptual frameworks are available to help them systematically analyse the changed situation at school and guide them in the revision or adaptation process of current education? There seems to be a critical knowledge gap in this aspect.

    What knowledge is available on multilingual education for a school leader who is in need of addressing the linguistic diversity in his/her school? Firstly, the effectiveness research on multilingual education in different contexts has demonstrated that teaching and learning in multiple languages works for minority students (Admiraal, Westhoff, and Bot 2006; Baker, Basaraba, and Polanco 2016; Cenoz 2008; Dicks and Genesee 2017; Lo and Lo 2014; Reljic, Ferring, and Martin 2015; Thomas and Collier 1997; Troike 1978; Valentino and Reardon 2015; Wright and Baker 2017). Secondly, the most effective programmes tend to be those that offer two-way developmental bilingual education followed by those offering one-way developmental bilingual education together with second language taught through academic content (Thomas and Collier 1997). Thirdly, a key factor in the effectiveness of multilingual programmes has been shown to be the use of students' first language (Guglielmi 2008, 2012; Thomas and Collier 1997) but also learning strategies matter (Ardasheva 2016). The PRISM model developed by Thomas and Collier underlines the importance of simultaneous development of both language skills (L1+ L2) complemented by academic and cognitive development in all languages together with the social and cultural processes to support student learning (Thomas and Collier 1997). Fourthly, descriptive research is available on the different models of organising multilingual education (e.g. Busch 2011; Garcia 2009; Wright and Baker 2017), also reviews of specific regional and country-specific studies are offered (e.g. Baetens Beardsmore 1992; Helot and Cavalli 2017; Judith Purkarthofer and Jan Mossakowski 2011; Sierens and Van Avermaet 2017). Finally, there is a line of research focusing on case studies of highly effective multilingual schools (e.g. Alanis and Rodriguez 2008; Berman et al. 1995; Garcia et al. 2013; de Jong 2002; Smith, Coggins, and Cardoso 2008) that provide best practice examples to other schools. However, none of these lines of research have comprehensively or systematically dealt with the issue of how school leaders could approach the decisions and choices regarding multilingual education. The knowledge available seems to be rather fragmented and dispersed. Neither do the available studies provide assistance on how to account for different factors surrounding multilingual education and decide on the most suitable approach. More specifically, the available studies do not assist school leaderships in their analysis, review, evaluation, and revision of multilingual education. Baetens Beardsmore has referred to this issue in 1997 by drawing attention to the need of integrated assessment of the fragmented and isolated variables explaining successful programmes (cited in Marsh 2012).

    Therefore, our article argues that there is a need to integrate and synthesize the current available knowledge and different lines of research into a conceptual framework that would comprehensively enable school leaders to analyse, review, evaluate, and revise the multilingual education situation at their schools. Departing conceptually from a heteroglossic language ideology that recognizes the co-existence of multiple and varying types of languages and proficiencies (Garcia 2009) and values of plurilingualism (Piccardo 2017) this article takes the first steps in addressing the existent research gap by proposing a preliminary conceptual framework on multilingual education to help school leaders address linguistic diversity and revise current approaches if necessary. More specifically, by systematically analysing the current available theoretical concepts of multilingual education and synthesizing on their strengths and weaknesses, a new integrated conceptual approach is being offered in the form of a guidance tool. The article also discusses the characteristics that such a comprehensive analytical framework should entail.

    Our article defines multilingual education as "the use of two or more languages in education provided that schools aim at multilingualism and multiliteracy" (Cenoz 2009:4). The term 'multilingual' is preferred over 'bilingual' in order to correctly reflect the current actual practice in the academic field where most time bilingual education tends to refer to multilingualism (Garcia and Lin 2017). The term 'multilingual education' includes the US equivalent of 'dual-language education' (Tedick 2015) but does not incorporate the more elusive and unclear term of content and language integrated learning' (CLIL) used in Europe (Cenoz, Genesee, and Gorter 2014) because CLIL could also be applied in monolingual education for teaching foreign language. Our definition is also reflected in the search terms used in the literature review.

  2. Evaluation of current theoretical frameworks on multilingual education

    Prior to searching relevant literature on theoretical frameworks on multilingual education, an analytical frame was established on characteristics we intended to evaluate in them. On the one hand, we kept in mind the school leaders' perspective that initiated the analysis (e.g. usefulness forpractical situations, systematic approach, inclusive education needs); on the other, our work was guided by conceptual framing from the fields of education, social research, and management because all of these fields deal with aspects of policy guidance, monitoring and evaluation that are instrumental in forming policy and practice.

    Firstly, to begin with the synthesis of frameworks, the concept of inclusive education (Loreman, Forlin, and Sharma 2014) was used for the basis with its different levels of analysis (macro, meso and micro levels defined) together with the systematic approach to education (input, process and output indicators listed), outlining different elements (resources, climate, participation, practice, etc.), and the inclusive education approach. Then, it was complemented with the ideas of the indicator development in the areas of special needs education (EADSNE 2009) and social policy (Noll 2002) where the criteria focus on aspects of informativeness, consistency, sensitivity, non-redundancy, comprehensiveness, and parsimony. These criteria are considered central for a guidance tool to be applicable and useful for policymakers as well as school leaders. Additionally, the classical S.M.A.R.T approach of indicator development (Doran, 1981) was used, as it also outlines critique of monitoring tools to be functional and effective for policy. S.M.A.R.T.--refers to Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-related (Doran 1981).

    Based on these approaches, six evaluation criteria are listed to guide the analytical process of reviewing current multilingual...

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