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Multilingual Education: Theoretical and Research Perspectives

General details of the subject

Face-to-face degree course

Description and contextualization of the subject

The course Multilingual education: theoretical and research perspectives focuses on multilingual education. It explores the theoretical tenets underlying languages in contact within the educational setting. It also deals with bilingualism and multilingualism as it relates to third language acquisition. In addition to that, factors affecting the development of communicative competence in three languages will also be considered. The course is offered in the first semester.


- To analyse and synthesize in a reflexive and critical way the available information on language teaching in multilingual contexts.

- To be able to synthesize and highlight information in order to present it orally in front of an audience.

- To analyse the importance of the sociolinguistic context in foreign language teaching in order to understand current European Union language planning policies.

- To be able to apply the MA contents to different professional contexts.


- To examine the influence of learners’ sociolinguistic variables on the use and the acquisition/learning of the English language.

- To examine the importance of the sociolinguistic context in foreign language learning.

- To examine current studies dealing with the influence of bilingualism and multilingualism on third language use.

- To critically analyse the impact of adopting various teaching approaches in order to assess their effect on language learning.


- To raise awareness about the naturalness of multilingualism.

- To underline the importance of education to promote and maintain multilingualism.

- To understand the psycholinguistic effects of being a multilingual.

- To define the variables to boost multilingualism in education.

- To comprehend the reality of teaching through minority languages.

- To recognize the variables and factors affecting foreign language teaching.

Teaching staff

NameInstitutionCategoryDoctorTeaching profileAreaE-mail
AZCARAY GARAY, AGURTZANEUniversity of the Basque CountryProfesorado AgregadoDoctorBilingualEnglish

Study types

TypeFace-to-face hoursNon face-to-face hoursTotal hours
Applied classroom-based groups101525
Applied computer-based groups61521

Training activities

NameHoursPercentage of classroom teaching
Autonomous activities45.00 %
Evaluation tests1.0100 %
Expository presentation of the contents and discussion5.0100 %
Group discussion4.0100 %
Individual work and/or group work20.0100 %

Assessment systems

NameMinimum weightingMaximum weighting
Practical tasks20.0 % 20.0 %
Work and explaining30.0 % 30.0 %
Written examination (theory)50.0 % 50.0 %

Ordinary call: orientations and renunciation


Students' performance will be assessed following these criteria:

1. Class presentation: (30%)

2. Class work: (20%)

3. Exam: (50%)

1. Class presentation (30%)

Students will have to prepare a 15-20-minute presentation on one of the topics of the course. The students must select a study on one of the topics, and explain it to the rest of the classroom.

Presenting students will have to prepare a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation to support their presentation. In addition to that, they must prepare a summary that covers the main idea of the article of their choice. While the students do their presentations in class, the rest of the students will have to take notes, as they must write in their own words the main idea of the presentations (on eGela).

2. Class work (20%)

Session reflections (20%)

After each theoretical session, the students will have to complete an assignment in which they have to summarise the main ideas of each session using their own words. If students just include text copy-pasted from the slides or materials, no points will be given.

Apart from these reflections (4-5, depending on the sessions necessary to introduce all the contents), the students must explain in their own words the main idea covered in the presentations done in the classroom by the students.

Only students who attend classes will get their homework assessed. Those who fail to attend the class, or who do not hand in the session reflections or presentation summaries on time, will get minus 0.5 points in this part per missed assignment/reflection.

During the course, students must also create a glossary with the important concepts discussed in class. They must add different entries to the GLOSSARY TOOL available on eGela and introduce a minimum of 3 concepts with the correct definition each. If students fail to do so, they will get 0 points in this part of classwork assessment.

3. Exam (50%)

The last day of the course the students will carry out an exam covering all the contents that have been discussed in the course.

The final grade will be an aggregate score of the presentation, session reflection and exam parts, BUT ONLY IF the final exam has been passed. In order to pass it, a minimum grade of 5 out of 10 is necessary. This is also the minimum grade to pass all the assignments/presentations/etc.

Information on the use of resources and materials in exams and assignments

Exam: The use of mobile or electronic devices, notes, books is not allowed

Home-assignments: the work submitted by the students must be their own work and must have been written completely by themselves. The students must identify and include the source of all facts, ideas, opinions and viewpoints of others through in-text referencing and the relevant sources should all be included in the list of references at the end of their work. Direct quotations from books, journal articles, internet sources or any other source must be acknowledged and the sources cited must be identified in the list of references.

Any sign of plagiarism will automatically lead to a 0.

Class attendance is COMPULSORY and students must come to all sessions. The students will automatically fail the subject if:

- They miss three or more sessions.

- They hand in only three or fewer session reflections and presentation summaries.

- They do not do their oral presentation.

Extraordinary call: orientations and renunciation

The student will carry out a final exam covering 100% of the grade.


1. Introduction to multilingualism: key concepts

2. Multilingualism in society

3. Multilingual education

4. Foreign language learning

5. The classroom as a multicultural space

6. Benefits of multilingualism

7. Multilingualism in the 21st century: adapting to new technologies


Compulsory materials

The material for the course (handouts for each thematic unit, Power-Point presentations and complementary readings) will be available in e-Gela. Compulsory readings will be available in pdf format.

A list with the oral presentations (titles of papers and student/pair presenting) will also be available in due course.

It is the students' responsibility to download this material.

Basic bibliography

- Azkarai, A. & García Mayo, M.P. (2015). Task modality and L1 use in EFL oral interaction. Language Teaching Research, 19, 550-571.

- Cenoz, J. (2008) Achievements and challenges in bilingual and multilingual education in the Basque Country. AILA Review 21: 13-30

- Huang, T., Steinkrauss, R. & Verspoor, M. (2020) Learning an L2 and L3 at the same time: help of hinder? International Journal of Multilingualism. DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2020.1779726

- May, S. (2013) Indigenous Immersion Education: International developments. Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education 1(1): 34-69.

- Muñoz, C. (2011) Input and long-term effects of starting age in foreign language learning. International Review of Applied Linguistics 49(2): 113-133.

- Raud, N. & Orehhova, O. (2020) Training teachers for multilingual primary schools in Europe: key components of teacher education curricula. International Journal of Multilingualism. DOI: 10.1080/14790718.2020.1718678


- Annual Review of Applied Linguistics - Applied Linguistics

- Bilingualism: Language and Cognition - ELT Journal

- International Journal of Bilingualism

- International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism - International Journal of Multilingualism

- International Review of Applied Linguistics

- Language Acquisition

- Language Learning

- Language Teaching Research

- Studies in Second Language Acquisition

- TESOL Quarterly

- The Modern Language Journal


- AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics):

- AESLA (Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada):

- AILA (Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée):

- ALS (Australian Linguistic Society):

- BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics):

- Centre for Applied Linguistics (USA):

- Ethnologue (The languages of the world)

- EUROSLA (European Second Language Association):

- HABE biblioteca/Liburutegia:

- Mercator. European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning: - National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition:

- Red ALExI:

- The European Commission Language division

- The Linguist List:

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