Book Review: Theoretical and applied perspective on teaching foreign languages in multilingual settings: Pedagogical implications
Shahzad-ul-Hassan Farooqi 1 *
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1 Majmaah University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
* Corresponding Author


Inclusivity is an idea much cherished in the modern theory of multilingualism and encouraged in its pedagogical practices. Language teaching is no longer an isolated endeavor in a static monolinguistic classroom environment, rather it involves adopting a holistic approach towards linguistic capabilities and cultural identities, using them to establish a congenial teacher-learner relationship. Along these lines, Theoretical and Applied Perspective on Teaching Foreign Languages in Multilingual Settings: Pedagogical Implications is a timely work that presents a comprehensive introduction to the research in the emerging field of multilingual practices in foreign language (FL) learning and teaching. It addresses the question of how to foster an inclusive environment for the acquisition/teaching of a foreign language by utilizing learners' heritage and sociolinguistic resources.  It also connects the research with viable linguistic/instructional practices in order to strengthen the teaching-learning process in multicultural and multilingual globalized classrooms.
The volume is composed by a plethora of writers from varying linguistic, social, and racial backgrounds and edited by Anna Krulatz, Georgios Neokleous and Anne Dahl. The edited book encompasses theoretical, methodological, and empirical perspectives on the multilingual turn in foreign language education and is the outcome of over three years of collaborative work across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America. In every chapter, the authors explore theoretical and pedagogical implications across different contexts and spaces, delving into the challenges and opportunities facing teachers and learners in the process of promoting multilingualism. Expressing an appreciation of students’ diverse linguistic abilities and acknowledging the effective role of multilingualism, this collection aims to credit teachers’ agency to allow a rhetoric of differences while resisting the dominant monolingual ideology. Language education, which has been predominantly influenced by monolingual bias in the past, is now undergoing a paradigm shift towards multilingualism and translanguaging practices that value learners’ multicompetencies and repertoires (Conteh & Meier, 2014; May, 2019). 
Broadly, the authors present a comprehensive report of their findings in practical research on topics such as the role of translanguaging in the foreign language classroom, the role of learners’ own languages in learning new languages, appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity in inclusive foreign language pedagogies, and teachers’ and learners’ attitudinal approach to multilingualism. The book can be beneficial for all international institutions—linguistically diverse campuses hosting students from varying social and linguistic backgrounds.
 As the issue of multilingualism is rapidly gaining attention in the current climate of globalization and linguistic connection, new dimensions of it are emerging which need to be tackled and addressed theoretically as well as practically. Multilingualism also needs to be incorporated in languaging practices both inside and outside of the classroom. Blackledge and Creese (2007) are of the view that new multilingualisms are emerging, because students create meaning with reference to their “diverse linguistic repertoires”. Multilingualism is a process through which learners construct, challenge, and evaluate  their world views. It is need of the hour to understand the social and cultural dynamism of multilingualism and this book represents a significant advance in this regard.
The edited volume includes nineteen chapters schematically divided into four parts, namely: Towards a Multilingual Paradigm in Foreign Language Education (part one), Languaging Practices in Multilingual Classrooms (part two), Teacher and Learner Perspective (part three), and Innovative Multilingual Pedagogies in Foreign Language Classrooms (part four). Part one, which contains three chapters, explains the shift towards the multilingual paradigm in foreign language education and highlights the importance of teacher’s knowledge and multilingual preparedness, responsive teaching and learning, and intercultural awareness in a multilingual context. Part two delineates languaging practices in multilingual classrooms with special reference to English language teaching [ELT]. It also enumerates various means used to integrate multilingualism and translanguaging in the Netherlands along with Indonesian cultural perspectives.  Part three sheds light on teachers’ and learners’ attitudinal approaches towards linguistically diverse classroom settings specifically in France, Germany and Sweden. Giving credit to linguistic, social and cultural identities to create an inclusive classroom environment is the hallmark of translanguaging. This part emphatically underlines the need for a holistic approach while meticulously enumerating languaging practices of various linguistic communities including Cyprus, the US, Norway and Japan.
Part four is a robust and in-depth treatment of research reports, which highlight functioning pedagogies based on multilingual approaches in foreign language education. These approaches foster an inclusive language learning environment by granting students an opportunity for plurilingual experience and cultural immersion, which enhance the relish and delight of language learning while mitigating linguistic and cultural isolation. This part also speaks to opportunities and challenges likely to be faced by teachers while implementing pedagogical practices that emphasize multilingual inclusiveness. Hence, the book encompasses variety of areas of multilingualism, including modern research, beliefs and attitudes, practices and its likely challenges.  The primary objective of the book is to help us “embrace the multilingual turn in language education.”
People who may benefit from this edited volume include teachers, researchers and even students who are set to achieve their desired language learning targets in multilingual scenarios. Owing to its in-depth discussion and profound analytical approach, the book thoroughly outlines language teaching and learning practices which may be helpful in the modern global multilingual context, including the modern concept of pedagogical translanguaging.  Teachers as well as students can embrace the strategies stated in different chapters and use the book to maximize their learning experience. The book is inspiring for teachers who want to keep themselves abreast of the paradigm shift in foreign language teaching in multilingual classrooms and desire to take advantage of learners’ linguistic repertoires.
Upholding the value of multilingual approaches, Chapter 1 delineates the dynamics of the paradigm shift in language teaching in multilingual scenarios. Language education can be revamped by implementing linguistically responsive approaches.
In Chapter 2, the writer underlines the need to open up language teaching spaces including EFL classrooms for implementation of multilingualism. The chapter calls for a holistic approach towards teaching and learning along with the reorientation of institutional policies with multilingualism.
Chapter 3 presents an interpretive framework for using picture books to promote intercultural awareness. Although the framework is specific to the Vietnamese cultural context, the basic premise behind this is that multicultural texts can be instrumental in enhancing learners’ intercultural understanding. Moreover, the teacher who is well equipped with cultural knowledge is in a better position to help learners relate symbols of other cultures to their own.
The thematic focus of part 2 is languaging practices in multilingual classrooms. Chapters in this section demonstrate how previously learned languages can be helpful in learning new languages and how learners and teachers can draw upon learners’ resources in the pursuit of linguistic competence.  In this regard, Chapter 4 cautions against limitations of monolingual approaches in multilingual classrooms while underlining the importance of proper teacher training and the provision of adequate teaching resources. Chapter 5 presents multilingual activities that were developed for a multilingual secondary education project in the Netherlands.  The results showed the potential of a multilingual model and called for inclusion of translanguaging approaches in language learning and teaching practices. Ethnographic research contained in Chapter 6 that investigates the roles of Cypriot Greek, Standard Modern Greek and English in linguistically diverse classrooms of Cyprus.  The study concludes that instructive and performance-oriented functions were carried out using English and Standard Modern Greek, whereas Cypriot Greek was used for casual and informal interactions.   Chapter 7 is yet another example of introducing multilingualism in the Indonesian educational setting. Here, we see the challenges that multilingualism is facing due to monolingual bias and how multilingual linguistic practices are restricted by socio-cultural limitations. The chapter calls for the ultimate elimination of sociopolitical, cultural and individual differences for proper implementation of a multilingual approach.
Part 3 is a detailed review of the research concerning how teachers and learners feel, think and act towards multilingual pedagogies in their classrooms. Teachers and learners are major stakeholders in any language policy, so their attitude towards a particular methodology is very important. No language policy can succeed without open minded acceptance. This part exhibits how implementation of diverse policies can yield desired results in different classroom environments including Japan, Portugal, France, Germany and Sweden.  It is vital in today’s egalitarian societies to give space to linguistic, social and cultural identities so as to promote inclusivity inside classrooms. Translanguaging is an emerging concept which underlines the need for a holistic approach towards multilingualism. It frames diversity as strength, not as an impediment in language teaching. In Chapter 8, Georgios Neokleous discusses a study carried out about attitudes of teachers and learners towards translanguaging in an  English as an Additional Language (EAL) course in Cyprus. It concludes that incorporating diverse linguistic repertoires benefits the language learning process. It underlines the need to review and renew approaches to language teaching and give more space to multilingual pedagogies so that teachers can have more liberty to design and choose pedagogies according to their specific teaching environment. Chapter 9 is an effort by Ylva Falk to explore attitudinal variance among teachers of French and German in L3 classrooms in Sweden. Results exhibit a welcoming attitude towards multilingual pedagogies, however, both French and German language teachers differ in their approach as to how much English or in certain cases Swedish can be allowed in L3 classrooms. Chapter 10 is an impressive qualitative study carried out by Will Travers at a US university. It highlights that a teacher’s multilingual competence, and his/her ability to incorporate the linguistic diversity of students in the learning process is a valuable asset which can help in language learning.  Chapter 11 and 12 are in depth and detailed case studies which, besides exhibiting the positive attitude of teachers towards multilingualism, explore challenges in linguistically diverse classrooms. Chapter 13 is Mieko Yamada’s investigation of Japanese pre-service teachers’ own English learning experiences and how they perceived the future challenges in multicultural and multilingual Japanese society.  The book provides pithy and concise accounts of well written studies with logical conclusions and it gives practical and lucid suggestions for English teachers. 
Languages are like universal structures, knowing one can lead to better understanding of the other.  Part 4  Innovative Multilingual Pedagogies in Foreign Language Classrooms  not only highlights new pedagogical approaches to teach foreign languages but also underlines the need to focus on enhancing linguistic competence in other languages that students know, because their plurilingual repertoires and multilingual knowledge can help in learning of another language. For example, chapter 14 is based on application of Framework of Reference for Pluralistic Approaches to Languages and Cultures [FREPA] by Antoinette Camilleri Grima to a class of Additional Language in Malta . “Pluralistic approaches to languages and cultures” refer to those approaches which use several teaching / learning activities incorporating different varieties of languages or cultures (Candelier et al., 2012). In this study a pluralistic approach is adopted for teaching Maltese language to immigrants who already knew different languages. Focusing on new vocabulary, class discussions and grammatical gender in Maltese language students are allowed to correlate knowledge of their own languages with Maltese language. Results showed that such activities helped learners in understanding dissimilar gender, as well as other aspects of social and cultural realities. In Chapter 15 Manon and Elisabeth present yet another study carried out in Austria where they apply two approaches that focus on metalinguistic and crosslinguistic awareness  of students. The chapter concludes that students who use their linguistic repertoires, multilingual strategies, and crosslinguistic abilities have better communication skills. In Chapter 16, MaryAnn Christison and Adrian Palmer present a longitudinal study spanning over four years in Thailand. The study calls for incorporation of immersion education in multilingual contexts. Concept of Immersion education, incepted in Canada in 1960s (Cummins, 1998), however, it has become a popular approach of multilingualism which ensures secure classroom environment in which students receive part of their instruction through the medium of a language that they are learning as a second, foreign, heritage, or indigenous  language (L2) (Lyster, & Genesee,  2012). Chapter 17 delineates a study in which task-based plurilingual modules were used by integrating curricular language with minority and heritage languages in Italian region. The study highlights the efficacy of task-based teaching as well as inclusive learning by creating multilingual spaces in classes. Chapter 18 is an experimental study based on an essay writing task of three groups: (a) the translation group, (b) the English-only group and (c) the translanguaging group. The target language in which essay is to be written is English while the translation group could write in Norwagian language and then translate in English, whereas and translanguaging group had the liberty to discuss ideas in any language of their choice. The results showed that the text produced by translation group had better communicative ability of the students. Chapter 19 explains the implementation of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages [CEFR] (Council of Europe, 2001) in separate classes in Norwegian institution where German and English are taught as Foreign Languages [FL].
Although I believe that the book has a lot to offer to the students as well as teachers and it is a contribution of paramount importance to the latest discussions and researches of multilingualism, however, it merits to mention here that the book deals bilingualism, multilingualism, plurilingualism, tanslanguaging as well as immersion education at somewhat same level. Little has been talked about their separate problems and challenges. For example, in a world where the idea of native teacher is cherished considerably, translanguaging faces practical challenges of viability. Secondly, the book has been compiled with overarching perspective of English language teaching. In this regard, chapter 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 16, 18, 19 specifically treat issues related to the teaching of English as second language. However, the book also contains a robust discussion about challenges of multilingualism faced by linguistically diverse communities like European countries, immigrant destinations like Malta and Thailand besides raising awareness about giving space to heritage and indigenous languages. In short, I strongly believe that this is an effective book which provides useful and critical insights into multilingualism and its various dimensions.


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