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Taking a Multilingual Perspective
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In CLAVES, teachers encourage all of their students to use all of their linguistic resources to make insights into language and to communicate with each other. To be multilingual can definitely mean to speak different languages, but it also refers to the many different ways that we all use language. In other words, all of us engage in “languaging” that includes spoken languages and registers, but also includes non-verbal modes of communication, for example, gestures, movement, and drawing). The goal of languaging in a multilingual context is expression and meaning-making. Taking a multilingual perspective requires a broader commitment to respecting how we understand what language is and what counts as acceptable language use. In CLAVES, there is not one way to talk about text in school that is better than other ways. Teachers provide opportunities to extend knowledge of language and intentional meaning-making by centering, not marginalizing, children’s languages and ways of speaking that allow their students to best reflect what they know and who they are. In this sense, at the individual level, we are all multilingual because we all have different linguistic resources that we engage differently depending on the contexts in which we find ourselves. 

CLAVES instruction includes

  • Encouraging students to use all their languages and linguistic repertoires when they talk about text and language

  • Comparing and contrasting how language works across different languages

  • Having students become language teachers for others in the group

  • Acknowledging that language experiences are lived experiences and should be shared

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