Shivani Nag


The use of children’s language in multilingual education (MLE) classrooms creates possibility for the classroom discourse to become socioculturally sensitive and collaborative with more symmetrical power distribution between students and teachers. However, the various models of MLE do not exist as insulated systems of pedagogy. They are in consistent interaction with normative models of pedagogy. The current paper focuses on two theoretically varying MLE models in the state of Odisha (India) and aims to examine whether they are able to effect a transformation in the existing pedagogical models that are largely transmitive, assimilative and characterized by asymmetrical power distribution in the classrooms. Two schools following different MLE approaches were selected for the purpose of in-depth classroom observations and semi-structured interviews with the teachers. The analysis of the data using discourse analysis technique revealed that the MLE approach founded on a ‘transition based early exit model’ failed to create sufficient tensions in classrooms and was instead observed to get accommodated in the normative non MLE practices. MLE model based on a cultural historical activity theory approach on the other hand, was seen as creating sufficient tensions in the systems they interacted with, leading to a possibility for transformative change in classrooms.


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multilingual, language pedagogy, sociocultural resources, collaboration, power asymmetry in classrooms, tensions

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