Be(com)ing Plurilingual Allies and Activists:

Fostering Cultural and Linguistic Collaboration in the Classroom

Presenter: Dr. Gail Prasad

Time: 1:30 - 2:20pm MT

Dr. Gail Prasad

Dr. Gail Prasad

About the session

Linguistic diversity is a defining feature of classrooms today. Research demonstrates that experiences of social and/or linguistic exclusion position children at risk of developing anxiety related to emotional distress, as well as lowering their engagement in school (Mulvey, Boswell & Niehaus, 2018). How then can schools leverage students' diverse communicative repertoires to build ALL students' multilingual awareness and their social understanding of diversity? In this paper, I discuss a Research-Practice Partnership (Coburn & Penuel, 2016) with a US Midwest school district to investigate teaching for critical multilingual language awareness (Garcia, 2017; Hélot, Frijns, Gorp & Sierens, 2018; Prasad & Lory, 2019). I analyze classroom interactions and student work samples to demonstrate how diverse classrooms can be protected spaces in which to engage children from a variety of backgrounds in collaborative multilingual trans-disciplinary project-based learning such that all students can become plurilingual allies and activists.


About Dr. Gail Prasad

Dr. Gail Prasad is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research investigates teaching for critical multilingual language awareness, as well as teachers' and students' language and literacies practices in and out of linguistically and culturally diverse school contexts. She employs arts-based and creative multimodal methodologies to engage children and youth actively in representing their experiences as plurilingual actors in their schools and communities. Her research in Canada, the US and in France has been published in English and French.