5 - Combining the language of instruction and the multilingual reality

The concept of differentiation is central when you want to address the existing diversity through your teaching methods.

The difference between convergent and divergent differentiation is important: do we let students work towards the same goals, possibly each in a different way (convergent), or do we let students work towards their own goals (divergent)? It is important to keep the common curriculum in mind and work purposefully.

It is important to work from a diversity paradigm, not from a deficit mindset. Every child is different and has different prior knowledge, support needs, or preferences in the classroom. That is not a problem. That is reality.
Therefore, it is important for teachers to know how they can differentiate during their lessons in both convergent and divergent ways.

Combining the language of instruction and the multilingual reality involves:

  • a strong vision of language acquisition processes;
  • a powerful learning environment;
  • a clear evidence-based vision of multilingualism;
  • a strong assessment policy.

A sound school language policy pays attention to the language of instruction as well as the multilingual reality. Combining these two implies a strong vision of the aspects mentioned above. Alongside these aspects, a strong assessment policy is needed, if only for the fact that we are worried about what happens in the moments of transition.