3) What can I do to set up my classroom environment to support the learning of Multilingual Learners?
Environments should support rich language development through hands-on, inquiry-based, content-rich learning. It is important to create a culturally and linguistically responsive learning environment that shows Multilingual Learner (ML) children that their language and cultural backgrounds are valued and helps them feel comfortable.24 ML children should be able to “see” themselves in the classroom. Interventions that integrate ML-specific classroom materials, such as the ones listed below, with dual language-specific instructional strategies, have been shown to be effective in promoting ML children’s learning.25 These materials should not only be present, but also must be actively used in instruction and easily accessible to children. An environment where multilingualism and diverse cultures are valued is important for all children.
3B) Provide books and materials in the home language that depict the cultural and linguistic background of children in a positive light. Make sure children of each language and cultural background can see themselves represented in the classroom.
3C) Display and provide culturally relevant materials, including family pictures and cultural items from children’s homes. Include families in helping to select books, objects, and materials to display in the classrooms.
Individual strategies across the different instructional topics are interconnected and should be implemented together, in a purposeful and connected manner throughout instruction, and not in isolation. Make sure to also consider your classroom or school’s language model when implementing the strategies and adapt accordingly.