Community languages, the arts and transformative pedagogy: developing active citizenship for the 21st century

Anderson, Jim and Chung, Yu-Chiao. 2012. Community languages, the arts and transformative pedagogy: developing active citizenship for the 21st century. Citizenship Teaching and Learning, 7(3), pp. 259-271. ISSN 17511917 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

There are good grounds for believing that linguistic and intercultural competence are more important than ever as part of a preparation for global citizenship and for life in multicultural societies. In this context community languages represent a valuable potential resource both for the individual and for society and yet they have consistently been marginalized within mainstream British education. Consequently there has been a failure to locate community languages clearly within a coherent policy framework on language and literacy and to recognize significant links to policies on inclusion, community cohesion and citizenship. With regard to pedagogy, community languages have been caught between foreign language and mother tongue models. Neither model meets the needs of a majority of background learners for whom English is, or rapidly becomes, the dominant language. This study locates itself within developments taking place in Britain and elsewhere to build pedagogies that meet this gap. During a two-year project, funded by The Nuffield Foundation, we investigated the importance of arts-based creativity for the teaching of Arabic, Chinese, Panjabi and Tamil in four London schools, two mainstream and two complementary (voluntary, community based). Key findings arising from analysis clustered around four broad areas: language and literacy, cognition, intercultural understanding, and personal and social development. In this article we reanalyse the data from a citizenship perspective and present findings under headings that identify key processes within the national curriculum programme of study for citizenship, namely: critical thinking and enquiry, advocacy and representation and taking informed and responsible action. In so doing we make transparent the deep connections between community languages, arts-based creativity and cosmopolitan citizenship. Informing this is a transformative approach to pedagogy that challenges traditional curriculum models, recognizes 'funds of knowledge' in the home and community and prioritizes learner agency and empowerment.

Item Type:



community/heritage languages creativity citizenship identity inclusion pedagogy

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies



Item ID:


Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2015 08:21

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2017 12:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Edit Record Edit Record (login required)