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Higher School of Economics

Introduction to Multilingual and Multicultural Education

Higher School of Economics via Coursera


The processes of globalization are highly complex and influence the multi-layered structures of societies: economic, socio-cultural, political, linguistic and education aspects among others. A remarkable increase in global migration flows, especially over the last decade, required from the host countries to pay particular attention to the provision of equal education opportunities.

Children of migrants, frequently not being (fluent) speakers of the official/national language(s) of the host country, need, and above all, have the right, to get access to good quality education. In addition, in today’s highly competitive labour-market, learning global/international languages (e.g. English) is seen as a necessity. How and at what age should children start learning an additional language (or languages)? Do bilingual/multilingual children perform better at school than their monolingual peers? Which language/education policies are successful and which are not? What challenges students and teachers face in a multilingual/multicultural classroom? What measures do educators, schools, communities need to take in order to make the multilingual and multicultural learning space more effective? The course Introduction to Multilingual and Multicultural Learning makes an attempt to provide answers to these and other related questions with reference to the latest research and discussion of different case studies.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- critically evaluate various teaching practices in multilingual and multicultural settings;
- critically evaluate various language policies and planning programmes implemented in multilingual education settings;
- obtain valuable insights to better understand the learning needs of students in a multilingual/multicultural classroom;
- apply the knowledge you will have gained in this course, in multilingual/multicultural classrooms;
- obtain essential skills to deal with immigrant/minority language students.

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  • Multilingual & multicultural education: introduction, historical development, concepts, dimensions
    • This module will introduce you to the basic concepts of diversity in education, describe the way multilingual education developed throughout the history, and present its dimensions.
  • Diversity and education: culture and language in a global world
    • This module will present you the historical background of multilingual education in the UK, USA, and Canada and show the way it is realized in the modern era.
  • Multilingual & multicultural education for young children
    • This module will introduce you to the basic ideas of Early and Late Second Language Learning, as well as give an insight into language immersion programmes for young children.
  • Policy and Planning in multilingual & multicultural education
    • This module will show you the correlation between power and ideology and language policies and analyze the factors that contribute to the formation of language policy and planning in education.
  • The teacher and the student in multilingual & multicultural education
    • This module will analyze the role of a teacher in a multilingual and multicultural classroom, evaluate teacher education in Europe and in North/South America and distinguish between different models of bilingual education.
  • Practice in multilingual & multicultural learning space
    • This module will analyze the role of parents and community in multilingual learning.
  • The education of ethnic and cultural minority groups
    • This module will help you understand the complexities of minority group education and present educational programmes that contribute to equal education opportunities.
  • Opportunities, challenges and paradigms in multilingual & multicultural education
    • This module will assess paradigms and prognose future directions in multilingual/multicultural education.
    • The time has come to see how much you have learned during the course.

Taught by

Denis Zubalov

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