Languages Of Sydney: The People and the Passion
The project showcased in this book examines beliefs, values and meanings regarding language learning and linguistic identity. Initial teacher education students map language experiences to body silhouettes and to record, through narratives, how their attitudes and perceptions are affected by their own language and cultural background. More
This project is dedicated to all language teachers and learners around the world. When politics seems to be uncertain and languages education seems to be a luxury available and accessible only to some learners, it is even more important to provide the simplest tools for all stakeholders to think and talk about languages.
In today’s multicultural classrooms, educators are increasingly entrusted with the education of plurilingual students whose linguistic identities have rarely been foregrounded in classroom interactions. In order to address the ways of knowing and learning of our diverse student population, it is imperative that educators recognise and incorporate the linguistic and cultural heritage of the students in their classes. One way to examine beliefs, values and meanings regarding language learning and linguistic identity is for participants to map language experiences to body silhouettes and to record, through narratives, how their attitudes and perceptions are affected by their own language and cultural background. To this end, this action research project required student-teachers, who were undertaking a unit of study on multiculturalism and education, to reflect on what meanings are constructed, the cultural/linguistic influences on these constructions, and how these constructions guided their thoughts, behaviours and worldviews implicit in their linguistic identities. Hence, this action research project worked with students as reflective practitioners to document their experiences with language – both languages that are part of their heritage and those which they undertook as part of their formal learning requirements. This project includes a toolkit that can be used with learners of any age, cultural, linguistic and educational contexts. The ideas presented in the tool kit can act as an extension of the body silhouettes to further extend student expression of shared language and cultural experiences.
The authors are language / literacy professionals who are themselves migrants to Sydney. They have brought their language and cultural heritages with them to Australia and marvel at the diversity of languages and people who learn, speak and use these languages. They believe that the people and their passion about languages and cultures combine to make Sydney a great metropolis.