Workshop: Christine Hélot



Christine Hélot, University of Strasbourg

"Tell me how you talk": Language diversity at primary level in France


The workshop will start with the projection of a documentary film (Feltin, 2008, 50mn) entitled « *Tell me how you talk* » which relates the stories of teachers, parents, students and researchers in France involved in a school project linking home and school knowledge and building on students' and their parents' plurilingual repertoires. Comparing the film to their own experiences of intercultural education in their respective educational contexts, participants will be asked to reflect on the reasons why schools should support home languages and how it can be done. Several theoretical notions will be presented briefly to frame the discussion such as learners' voice, power relationships in the classroom, and empowerment and the role of parents.

The main question the workshop will address is how to develop plurilingualism and intercultural projects from the start of schooling, based on all the home languages children bring with them to school. Various examples of pedagogical activities will be proposed to participants using children' s literature in different languages and language awareness approaches.

The ultimate aim of the workshop is to challenge teachers with the idea that they can be agents of change in their own schools, exploring how in their daily work they renegotiate and recreate their own language policies through the pedagogical choices they make with regards to the diversity of languages spoken by their students (and their parents).