Chapter published in:Language and Social Interaction at Home and School
Edited by Letizia Caronia
[Dialogue Studies 32] 2021
► pp. 153–188
Promoting communication practices about school activities in multilingual families
The low academic achievement of children with an immigrant background is a well known problem in the European context as elsewhere; multilingualism is not a drawback per se, as widely shown in the relevant literature, but the access to bilingual educational programs including both the family and the majority languages emerge in these contexts as a crucial requirement for an adequate development of academic abilities. Bilingual education programs are scarcely available in Italian schools, partly because of the children’s diversified linguistic background. From these premises, the project “Con parole mie” (In my own words) aimed at exploring an alternative way to enhance bilingual education, in promoting multilingual communication practices about school activities within the families during homework sessions. Thanks to the cooperation with teachers in the design and implementation of interactional tasks, and the tutoring role of bilingual speakers, the dialogue sessions show promising opportunities for the enhancement of children “competence-in-performance” (Weigand 2010) concerning schooling communicative practices in both the home and the school language.
Keywords: bilingual education, parental involvement, multilingual communication, homework practices, academic language, immigrant children
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