Teaching and learning in a multilingual Europe: findings from a cross-European study

J. E. Dockrell*, T. C. Papadopoulos, C. L. Mifsud, L. Bourke, O. Soler-Vilageliu, E. Bešić, S. Seifert, B. Gasteiger-Klicpera, A. Ralli, I. Dimakos, S. Karpava, M. Martins, O. Sousa, S. Castro, H. Knudsen, P. Donau, B. Haznedar, M. Mikulajová, N. Gerdzhikova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

School classrooms within the EU are multilingual learning environments. The diversity of pupils in classrooms raises significant challenges for teachers, but to date, there are no data from large-scale surveys that compare views within and across European countries. A bespoke questionnaire was designed to examine views of current classroom learning environments with respect to the multilingualism. The questionnaire was piloted and subsequently completed by 2792 teachers across different European countries. Eleven countries provided sufficient data for analyses. Results from structural equation modelling showed that teachers’ attitudes could be reliably measured across Europe with the use of carefully devised questionnaire, whose loading and factor structure remained invariant across countries. Teachers’ views about multilingualism were most challenged by the numbers of children in their classes, not the percentage of multilingual pupils in the class. Countries differed in how they perceived multilingualism, with their differences leading to distinctive country clusters. Gender and education level (elementary vs. secondary) differences were also observed irrespective of country. These findings enhance our understanding of the role that the characteristics of teachers and their classrooms play in a multilingual setting across diverse European settings. The practical relevance of the results and new opportunities for teacher training are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2021

Keywords

  • Europe
  • Learning
  • Multilingualism
  • Schools
  • Teaching

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