Cross-cultural routes and new literacies

By Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman

Le Pichon-Vorstman, E. (2018). Cross-cultural routes and new literacies: children newly arrived in education. CRECS Ten Minute Window, 6(4).

The profound societal changes brought about by recent migration movements have created the need to rethink approaches to language teaching. The European framework of competences, aiming at active citizenship, is particularly eloquent: the use of the concepts of “mother tongue”, “bilingualism”, “foreign language”, “second language”, which all refer to a fixed order of language acquisition, reflects a monolingual approach to education. They refer to well-defined geographical areas. Yet it is precisely these areas that are currently being transformed by increased mobility and diversity. These movements have also profoundly altered students' language and academic biographies and their understanding of education and themselves. Enrichment or impoverishment? What roles should languages play in a school system that struggles to grasp the complexities of creating transcultural memories?

See the video on CRECS YouTube Channel.

Keywords: Research, Educational Services, Social Exclusion

About the author

Dr. Emmanuelle Le Pichon-Vorstman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the University of Toronto, OISE. Previously, she worked for 10 years in the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication at the University of Utrecht, in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on plurilingualism in education. Since 2009, she has led several national and international projects on the inclusion of minority students in education. She has worked as a consultant, researcher, evaluator and reviewer for several international organizations and journals, and she has participated in policy analysis, including for the European Commission (NESET II, Sirius, Erasmus +) and the Migration Policy Institute (Washington DC, May 2015).

Further readings:

Auer, P. (2007). Monolingual bias in bilingualism research – or: Why bilingual talk is (still) a challenge for linguistics. In: Monica Heller (ed.), Bilingualism: A social approach. Houndmills: Palgrave, pp. 319–339. Herzog-Punzenberger, B.;

Le Pichon-Vorstman, E.; Siarova, H. (2017). Multilingual education in the light of diversity : lessons learned. NESET II report, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. Hornberger, N. H. (2004). The Continua of Biliteracy and the Bilingual Educator: Educational Linguistics in Practice, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 7:2-3, pp. 155-171, DOI: 10.1080/13670050408667806

Le Pichon-Vorstman, E., Baauw, S., Cole, D., Dekker, S., Steffens, M. (in press). Transcultural itineraries and new literacies: how migration memories could reshape school systems. In : Luisa Passerini, Gabriele Proglio and Milica Trakilović, The Mobility of Memory across European Borders. Migrations and Diasporas in Europe and Beyond. Berghahn Books.

May, S. (2013, ed.). The Multilingual Turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 240.


Project EDINA Co-funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union

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