LINGUIST List 32.2737

Wed Aug 25 2021

Review: Applied Linguistics: Wernicke, Hammer, Hansen, Schroedler (2021)

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 30-Jul-2021
From: Sviatlana Karpava <>
Subject: Preparing Teachers to Work with Multilingual Learners
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Book announced at

EDITOR: Meike Wernicke
EDITOR: Svenja Hammer
EDITOR: Antje Hansen
EDITOR: Tobias Schroedler
TITLE: Preparing Teachers to Work with Multilingual Learners
SERIES TITLE: Bilingual Education & Bilingualism
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2021

REVIEWER: Sviatlana Karpava


Preparing Teachers to Work with Multilingual Learners, edited by Meike Wernicke, Svenja Hammer, Antje Hansen, and Tobias Schroedler, provides an overview of the current international research in the area of multilingualism and teacher education. The book is a collection of 11 chapters that present the outcomes of the international project entitled Multilingualism and Teacher Education (MultiTEd).

In the introductory chapter, ‘Multilingualism and Teacher Education: Introducing the MultiTEd Project’, the authors, Meike Wernicke, Antje Hansen, Svenja Hammer, and Tobias Schroedler provide the background to the book and provide an overview of the chapters; the book was based on the international MultiTEd project, and the authors attempt to answer the question of why multilingualism and cultural diversity are important for teacher education and educational policies by taking socio-economic, historical, institutional, ideological, political, and geographical factors into consideration, as well as the diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds of immigrant and minority language students. The authors suggest that multilingualism should be valued and considered to be an asset in teaching and learning, even though there are various existing theoretical frameworks and practical approaches (Otheguy et al., 2019), and educational programmes and interpretations of individual and societal multilingualism with regard to (pre-service) teachers’ and students’ perspectives, identities, skills, knowledge and resources, contextualisation, empowerment, and mobility.

In Chapter 2, ‘What is Multilingualism? Towards an Inclusive Understanding’ by Tobias Schroedler, the issues of multilingualism, plurilingualism, linguistic diversity, and their complex conceptualisations and definitions on societal and individual levels, are investigated with regard to their origins, evolution, status, political issues, diverse disciplinary approaches, teacher education, and other academic teaching in different sociopolitical and geographical contexts, including language policy and planning. Multilingualism and its various dimensions are investigated in disciplines such as (socio)linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and applied linguistics with a focus on communication, mutual intelligibility, complexity, varieties and dialects, as well as autochthonous, minority and immigrant languages, sociolects and accents, translanguaging and code-mixing (Paulsrud et al., 2017), language revitalisation, power and social justice, awareness, language ideologies, pragmatic values, cognitive processes, and the challenges, needs, and opportunities associated with the development, maintenance, and use of multilingualism.

Chapter 3, ‘One School for All? Multilingualism in Teacher Education in Sweden’ by BethAnne Paulsrud and Adrian Lundberg, examines the issue of inclusive education in Sweden, which caters to the needs of recent migrants, second-generation immigrants, and speakers of official minority languages (Lundberg, 2019). The authors discuss the need for teacher training and education in order to prepare teachers to work with multilingual students, and provide an overview of the sociolinguistic and sociopolitical situation in Sweden and its linguistic diversity with regard to regional, minority, and immigrant languages. They describe multilingualism and mother-tongue instruction in Swedish schools, as well as the systems used in preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, and vocational teacher training institutions, in addition to education, curricula, and teacher placement. The authors found that there was flexibility in terms of the presentation of multilingualism in course programmes, syllabi, seminars, and the delivery of lectures at universities across the country.

In Chapter 4, ‘Multilingualism in Finnish Teacher Education’ by Tamás Péter Szabó, Elisa Repo, Niina Kekki, and Kristiina Skinnari the focus is on pre- and in-service teacher education and multilingualism, language awareness, and multilingual pedagogy at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of education in Finland. The authors pay attention to multilingualism resulting from the societal changes in the country, linguistic diversity, and primary and early childhood teacher education, and refer to the teacher education programmes that are called ‘Language Aware Multilingual Pedagogy’ (LAMP) at the University of Jyväskylä, as well as the ‘Multilingual pedagogy and second language learning’ course at the University of Turku. They describe educational policies and ideologies in the country, and provide examples and a critical analysis of different educational contexts, courses, and modules with regard to multilingual education, plurilingualism, discourses and challenges, linguistic awareness, metalinguistic skills, literacy, and the development of multilingual competence (Jaspers, 2019).

In Chapter 5, ‘Multilingualism in Teacher Education in Germany: Differences in Approaching Linguistic Diversity in Three Federal States’ by Lisa Berkel-Otto, Antje Hansen, Svenja Hammer, Svenja Lemmrich, Tobias Schroedler, and Ángela Uribe, the authors describe a diverse situation with regard to increased migration, refugee movement, multilingualism, linguistic and cultural diversity, education policies, and pre-service teacher education in Germany. They compare teacher education programmes in terms of the organisational parameters and lesson content in three different federal states, namely North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg, and Lower-Saxony. They present an overview of the sociolinguistic situation in the country, as well as of discourses and policies pertaining to linguistic diversity, migration-induced multilingualism, challenges in language education for students with a migrant background, the need to validate students’ heritage languages in the education system, via linguistically responsive teaching (Woerfel & Giesau, 2018).

Chapter 6, ‘Multilingualism in Teacher Education in Croatia’ by Lucia Miškulin Saletović, Klara Bilić Meštrić, and Emina Berbić Kolar, is devoted to the investigation of multilingualism and teacher education in Croatia. The authors define the concept of multilingualism and present a historical background to the sociolinguistic situation in Croatia, as well as its cultural and linguistic heterogeneity regarding minority, migrant, and majority languages, dialects and standard varieties, language policy and ideology, and discourses on multilingualism in education and foreign language teaching (Šimičić & Bilić Meštrić, 2018). The authors describe the teacher education system in the country as having different programme levels and study programmes and their relevance to multilingualism, pedagogy and teaching, as well as the presence and type of multilingual orientation. They compare teacher education in the social sciences and humanities, as well as in the areas of natural, technical, and medical sciences, and provide relevant examples. The authors reveal significant differences in the study programmes in terms of the type and presence of multilingual content.

Chapter 7, ‘Approaches to Diversity: Tracing Multilingualism in Teacher Education in South Tyrol, Italy’ by Barbara Gross and Lynn Mastellotto, addresses the issues of teacher education, multilingualism, and linguistic and cultural diversity in Italy. The authors provide an overview of the sociolinguistic situation in the country, and its linguistic diversity in terms of the presence of the majority language, standard Italian, and regional, minority, heritage, migrant and foreign languages in everyday use, school curricula, and the language policy. The focus of the chapter is on multilingualism in education and in (pre-service) teacher training in Italy, particularly in the South Tyrol, the northern Italian border territory, where the four languages that are taught are German, Italian, Ladin, and English. The authors reveal the tension between the local and global dimensions of multilingualism at the levels of schooling, language policy, norms, values, and educational programmes. The language education system includes majority and minority language and additional foreign language teaching. Teacher education in Italy is based on the principles of sustainability and inclusivity, and on the promotion of multilingualism, language diversity, interculturalism, and translanguaging (Ibrahim, 2019).

In Chapter 8, ‘Multilingualism and Primary Initial Teacher Education in the Republic of Ireland: Policies and Practice’, Chiara Liberio and Carlos Rafael Oliveras focus on multilingualism and initial teacher training in Ireland with regard to language and educational policies, the preservation of Irish, and the linguistic and cultural diversity resulting from increased migration into the country. The authors provide a historical overview of multilingualism in Ireland, and of the role of Irish in society and in the schooling system (Walsh, 2016). They comment on the diversity in the new primary school curriculum based on the principles of language integration, the development of literacy and language awareness, the communicative approach, and integrated content and language learning. In addition, they describe educational programmes on English as an additional language that require more guidance in terms of instruction, the curriculum, and teacher training. Foreign language education is encouraged, which is in line with the EU policy on multilingualism and plurilingualism, although more support for the teaching of mother-tongue and immigrant languages is required. In addition, the authors describe the Initial Teacher Education Programme’s guidelines and their major features of inclusive and intercultural education, as well as the implementation of the guidelines.

Chapter 9, ‘Preparing Teachers for Multilingual Classrooms in English Canada’ by Meike Wernicke, discusses multilingualism, linguistic and cultural diversity, and teacher training in Canada. The sociolinguistic situation in Canada is characterised by official French-English bilingualism. In addition, many indigenous, heritage, minority, and immigrant languages are spoken in the country. With regard to education, monolingual approaches (English or French) to language teaching are quite popular depending on the geographical area, as is English as a second language, in which the emphasis is on integrated language and content instructional approaches, as well as multilingual approaches to literacy and second language education. The chapter focuses on multilingualism as a resource for learning and teaching, teacher education, contextualisation, critical language awareness, translanguaging, classroom discourses, and multilingual identities. Besides, the authors describe the plurilingual, linguistically and culturally responsive pedagogies of the educational programmes in Canada, with English as an additional language, and the relevant challenges, opportunities, and needs (Goodman & Tastanbek, 2020).

Chapter 10, ‘Multilingualism and Teacher Education in the United States’ by Jessie Hutchison Curtis, addresses the issue of teacher training and multilingualism in the USA by considering such factors as migration, education, curricula and the language policy, the cultural and linguistic heterogeneity in the country, and the needs of the minority and low-income communities. The author describes the theoretical frameworks of multilingualism and bilingualism that have affected teacher education and have made it meaningful, with a focus on a diversified society, socialisation, and empowerment (Villegas et al., 2018). The chapter is focused on education policy that is based on equity, bilingual, multilingual, and multicultural education. The authors provide an overview of dual languages, immersion, English as a second language programmes and multilingual schooling in linguistically diverse communities. They are concerned about the development of multilingual and multicultural language awareness, assessments, the involvement of families and communities in the educational process. They write about teacher education that should aim to promote the success of each student in the USA. In particular, they provide an example of the community-based teacher education, which is related to experiential learning, critical reflection, and intercultural citizenship education, at a public university in New Jersey, which is situated in the mid-Atlantic coastal region and has many immigrant students.

In Chapter 11, ‘Diversity in Teacher Preparation for Multilingual Contexts’, Svenja Hammer, Antje Hansen, and Meike Wernicke discuss the MultiTEd project and its outcomes, provide a critical analysis and overview of the book and of each contribution, which describe different approaches to multilingualism in teacher education in different social and geographical regions across the world. One of the common issues in all the countries that participated in the project was the key role of the majority language in mainstream education and literacy development, with minority, regional, heritage, and/or immigrant languages being on the periphery due to historical, socio-economic, political, and ideological factors, as well as deficiency-based discourses and elitist ideologies. Teachers need to take an active stance with regard to multilingual and multicultural education, inclusion, and linguistic diversity in class (Early & Kendrick, 2020). The MultiTEd project allowed researchers, practitioners, teachers, and educators to share their views, experiences, and best practices regarding multilingualism, multicultural awareness, and social justice orientation. Working together they were able to compare educational contexts, language policies, teaching methods, and approaches in their countries and to identify the direction for future research on multilingualism in teacher education.


This volume is an important contribution to the research on multilingualism and teacher education. It presents the results of the international project Multilingualism and Teacher Education (MultiTEd), with contributors from different countries in Europe and North America. Each chapter provides a theoretical framework and the practical implementation of multilingual education in a different context by taking historical, geographical, socio-economic, political, and ideological factors into consideration. The emphasis is on inclusive teaching, linguistic and cultural diversity, contextualisation, language awareness, and literacy development. This book is essential reading for students of applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, sociology, psychology, language acquisition and education, researchers, practitioners, teachers, educators, and members of the general public who would like to know more about the recent developments in the areas of multilingualism and teacher education.


Early, M. and Kendrick, M. (2020) Inquiry-based pedagogies, multimodalities, and multilingualism: Opportunities and challenges in supporting English learner success. Canadian Modern Language Review 76 (2), 139–154.

Goodman, B. and Tastanbek, S. (2020) Making the shift from a codeswitching to a translanguaging lens in English language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly. doi:10.1002/tesq.571

Ibrahim, N. (2019). Children’s multimodal visual narratives as possible sites of identity performance. In P. Kalaja and S. Melo-Pfeifer (Eds.), Visualising Multilingual Lives: More than Words. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Jaspers, J. (2019). Authority and morality in advocating heteroglossia. Language, Culture and Society 1 (1), 83–105.

Lundberg, A. (2019). Teachers’ beliefs about multilingualism: Findings from Q method research. Current Issues in Language Planning 20 (3), 266–283.

Otheguy, R., García, O. and Reid, W. (2019). A translanguaging view of the linguistic system of bilinguals. Applied Linguistics Review 10 (4), 625–651.

Paulsrud, B., Rosén, J., Straszer, B. and Wedin, Å. (Eds.) (2017). New Perspectives on Translanguaging and Education. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Šimičić, L. and Bilić Meštrić, K. (2018). Arbanaški na raskižju: vitalitet i održivost jednog manjinskog jezika. Zagreb: Srednja Europa.

Villegas, A., Saiz de la Mora, K., Martin, A. and Mills, T. (2018). Preparing future mainstream teachers to teach English language learners: A review of the empirical literature. The Educational Forum 82, 138–155.

Walsh, T. (2016). The national system of education, 1831–2000. In B. Walsh (Ed.), Essays in the History of Irish Education (pp. 7–43). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Woerfel, T. and Giesau, M. (2018) Sprachsensibler Unterricht. Köln: Mercator-Institut für Sprachförderung und Deutsch als Zweitsprache (Basiswissen sprachliche Bildung).


Sviatlana Karpava is a lecturer in Applied Linguistics in the Department of English Studies at the University of Cyprus. Her main research interests are applied linguistics, first and second language acquisition, bilingualism, multilingualism, sociolinguistics, teaching, and education.

Page Updated: 25-Aug-2021