How to challenge our own attitudes

3.A.3. Explaining the course objectives, content and evaluation


Many (future) professionals express feelings of being ill-equipped to deal with complex multilingual classroom contexts and are thirsty for knowledge and strategies to help them to function effectively in their professional environments. Banks (2001) has proposed that to help students to become effective citizens, professionals working in multilingual/cultural contexts need not only to acquire and develop appropriate knowledge and strategies but should also learn to challenge and critically examine their own cultural and national identifications. Being supported and encouraged to challenge monolingual mindsets and discriminatory practised policies is a vital element of any professional development course which aims to bring about institutional change. Below you will find an example of course objectives, contents and evaluation methods used during the Home language / school language course, inspired by the European project TESSLA (Teacher Education for the Support of Second Language Acquisition).



  1. Raise awareness among student teachers of the rich linguistic and cultural diversity of their schools.
  2. Support student teachers to develop a critical awareness of language discrimination and the attitudes underlying it.
  3. Enable student teachers to critique the monolingual/monocultural habitus of schools and model strategies to transform it
  4. Equip student teachers with strategies to maximise the potential of children from ethnic minority backgrounds.


8 resource/input sessions with problem based learning activities and student collaboration.


  1. Introduction to the course, linguistic and cultural diversity globally & locally
  2. Linguistic policies, official documentation and terminology, National, European levels, portfolios
  3. Language learning (first, second, foreign), bilingualism and plurilingualism
  4. Benefits of bilingualism /plurilingualism
  5. Identity and home-school relationship
  6. Language sensitive teaching and plurilingual instructional strategies
  7. Children's literature, multiliteracy and intercultural education
  8. Student presentations & peer assessment


  1. Each group member is required to participate actively in weekly discussions.
  2. Group members will take it in turns to act as group secretary and to write up the group discussion minutes.
  3. Each group member will undertake regular reading assignments and feedback to other group members during discussion sessions.
  4. Each group member will participate equally in the final group presentation.
  5. Each participant will take part in the peer evaluation process.