A LangCrit analysis of teachers’ beliefs about language learning and language diversity
Keywords:LangCrit, Teacher Beliefs, Teacher Education, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners
Research has suggested that teachers’ beliefs about multilingual learners directly impact their instructional practices, and teacher educators have called for more explicit focus on addressing beliefs related to language learning and multilingual learners in teacher training programmes. Drawing from LangCrit theory, we analysed 15 early-career teachers’ beliefs about language learning. All participants were enrolled in a teacher education programme and taking a state mandated course focused on teaching multilingual learners. At the start of the course, after completing modified versions of the Beliefs About Language Learning Inventory (BALLI) and the Language Attitudes Teacher Survey (LATS), participants were asked to identify survey items that represented truths or myths of bilingualism and to reflect on their own beliefs about the topic and how those beliefs were formed. We utilised positioning theory and LangCrit theory to make meaning of participant responses. Findings suggest that participants were likely to select similar items for reflection. Additionally, their responses connected to their personal experiences of language learning in their own lives or previous classroom experiences. In line with LangCrit theory, participant responses connected their individual stories to broader discourses and emphasised socially bounded hierarchies and the dominance of English as a teaching goal. However, responses rarely addressed how language diversity is related to race or racism. Implications for teacher beliefs, particularly with regard to teacher education and policy, are discussed.
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