Multilingualism as a Fact, a Right, and a Teaching and Learning Resource for Developing Intercultural Awareness and Honouring Diversity in International Baccalaureate Programmes


Recent rapid globalization has resulted in a shift in classroom demographics; increasingly, a community of learners consists of students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds and often many of them must access the curriculum in a language other than their mother tongue. In some contexts this has been construed as a problem. However, recognising the fact of multilingualism, valorising it as a right, and embracing it as a resource in fostering intercultural awareness can transform the context into a positive environment for learning. Such a response to multilingualism is part of an International Baccalaureate (IB) education. The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers high quality programmes of international education to a worldwide community of schools. There are more than 900,000 IB students in over 140 countries.The IB stance document on language and learning Language and learning in IB programmes (IBO 2011) states that multilingualism is a fact, a right and a resource and furthermore that all teachers are language teachers with some pedagogical responsibility for its development. As part of informing teacher understandings of their role in this paradigm, the IB stance document identifies six language domains as being important in the nurturing of multilingualism in an educational context. Pedagogical principles of good practice relevant to language and learning development in all domains are also described. This presentation examines the language domains in some detail and links them to effective practice for teaching and learning across the curriculum in multilingual contexts.

Author Information
Carol Inugai Dixon, International Baccalaureate, Netherlands

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2013
Stream: Language Learning

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