What is a multilingualism activist? Multilingual moves: Changing the mindset of teachers and policy makers

Macleroy, Vicky and Anderson, Jim. 2021. What is a multilingualism activist? Multilingual moves: Changing the mindset of teachers and policy makers. In: Ana de Medeiros and Debra Kelly, eds. Language Debates. (1) Boston & London: Hodder and Stoughton & John Murray Learning, pp. 173-184. ISBN 9781529372250 [Book Section]

No full text available
[img] Text
EDU_Macleroy_2021.pdf - Accepted Version
Permissions: Administrator Access Only
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (140kB)

Abstract or Description

Languages teaching in the UK is in crisis and has been for over 20 years now. Government policy, driven by a backward-looking, nationalistic perspective and a narrowly conceived curriculum has failed to meet the challenge in anything but a tokenistic way. Our research in schools has revealed a lack of coherence and commitment in government approaches to language learning. It has also shown a failure to engage seriously with the intercultural dimension, to nurture our precious multilingual resource and to harness the power of digital media.

Does it have to be like this? We believe not. In claiming language learning can be different we argue the case for multilingualism activists who offer a fresh perspective attuned to current challenges and opportunities in an increasingly interconnected, multilingual world. Multilingual activism is about changing the mindset of language teachers and policy makers and in this chapter we introduce a project, now in its eighth year to illustrate one way that this can be done in schools. The Critical Connections: Multilingual Digital Storytelling Project has brought together teachers and students of foreign and community/heritage languages, EAL and English mother tongue at schools (mainstream and complementary) in the UK and in six other countries to create and share digital stories made in bilingual version. As well as crossing borders in terms of the curriculum (linking language learning with ICT, the arts, humanities and citizenship), the project has shown how learning can occur out of school (in the home, community and online) as well as in school. It has also confirmed how storytelling can provide an engaging focus for language development and for making sense of the world at different stages of learning.

Item Type:

Book Section


multilingual activist, critical connections project, language learning, multilingual digital storytelling

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies > Centre for Language, Culture and Learning
Educational Studies


25 November 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Jan 2022 17:36

Last Modified:

07 Jan 2022 15:13



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)