It is important to analyze and raise the points of plurilingualism and its role in diverse communities. This is relevant for the Kazakhstani context due to the implementation of the trilingual policy. Therefore, i would like to examine the interrelation between languages, cultures, and literacies in the framework of the context of education.
To begin with, the question “What are the interrelations between language, culture, and literacy practices?” has generated a great discussion among different scholars, including Meilan P. Ehlert and Leannne Boschmar (2014). On the one hand, Ehlert (2013) introduced the concept of plurilinguals in motion in order to strengthen and acknowledge the multilingual individuals with different linguistic, cultural repertoires. For example, according to Ehlert, this concept PIM strategically enables individuals to use their full cultural and linguistic backgrounds in a multilingual society.
Based on their social experience,a number of learners around the world can be associated with the concept of plurilingualism. According to Moore (2006) and Gajo (2011), bilinguals, plurilinguals, and monolinguals develop languages based on their social experiences. They call it a “plurilingual strategic box” or “plurilingual assets.”(Moore, 2006). These concepts relate to the problem solving approach in the process of language learning. I support the concept that facilitating an accumulation of? “plurilingual assets” in the educational context depends on the educative culture of learners and their experiences as well as on a proper planning of the curricula, including reflection on language learning in a diverse, multicultural classroom environment.
According to Cope and Kalantzis (2000), the challenges and practices of multiliteracies shift from the local to the global perspective, which in its turn means that learners should be able to discuss ethnic and regional dialects, and cultural practices, as well as be able to code-switch in the classroom environment (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000).The multiliteracies approach critically refers to the interrelation between cultures, languages, and literacies. To illustrate how this approach may work in our country, I would like to refer to the example of the implementation of the trilingual policy in Kazakhstan.
The Republic of Kazakhstan is a diverse, multilingual country which is currently working on the development of a new language policy. The diversity of learners can be seen as a resource which should be supported by all stakeholders who are involved in the educational practices. Learners as well as practitioners can use their full linguistic repertoire to support the language learning process by creating a dialogue as a learning platform aimed to develop the language learning process as well as a cultural exchange model to broaden knowledge and resources. For instance, language does not merely mean the use of words: words reflect the history, culture, and beliefs of a certain nation. Therefore, I would also like to refer to the critical examination and challenge of the content of different texts and discourses in the framework of building on the literacy learning theory These could also bring diverse learners to literacy practices in the socio-cultural domains such as journals and magazines, as well as being acquired from community members, family discourses, and digital resources.
To sum up, after analyzing the views shared and differences among the ideas discussed above, I believe that a greater awareness of plurilingualism in motion, i.e., the importance of language, culture, and literacy in a diverse society will help stakeholders understand the nature and the importance of plurilingualism in the formulation of a language policy, such as the trilingual policy in the Kazakhstani context.
What do you think about the integration of multiliteracies practices (culture, language, literacies) in the classroom? Is it possible to implement it within trilingual policy in Kazakhstan?
Cope, B. and Kalantzis, M. (2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures, Routledge, London.
Ehlert, D. (2013). Plurilinguals in Motion. Retrieved from the website of a non-profit group, Multilingual Forum Canada Society (MFCS; http://www.multilingualForum.org ) on April 18, 2014.
Ehlert, M. & Moore, D. (2014-in Press). Plurilingual Youth in Motion: Navigating and Reconfiguring the “Multi” in Languages and Identities – Six Chao Xian Zu [ethnic Korean Chinese] teenagers in Beijing, China, International Journal of Education for Diversities (IJE4D)
Moore, D. (2006). Plurilingualism and Strategic Competence in Context. International Journal of Multilingualism. Vol. 3, No. 2, 125-138.