Introduction: The Multilingual Edge of Education
In this volume, we raise the need to invest in new educational perspectives in which multilingualism is valorized and used strategically in settings and contexts of instruction and learning. While the title of the book, ‘The multilingual edge of education’, undeniably alludes to the way in which the multilingual repertoires of pupils in mainstream classrooms are often perceived as an insurmountable problem, it equally underlines more current perspectives in which multilingualism is viewed as possessing cutting-edge potential for transforming linguistically heterogeneous classrooms into more inhabitable, more equitable and more efficiently organized spaces for teaching and learning. Is the multilingual edge an abyss, or do we look to multilingualism for giving learners the edge over the challenges faced by the educational contexts in which they participate today? The chapters in this book are written by an international group of contributors who present findings from empirical studies on different educational approaches which draw on students’ multilingual repertoires as a pedagogical resource for learning and teaching. The authors document a variety of classroom practices, while engaging with students’ and teachers’ experiential voices, local and national policy contexts and so on, so as to explore the potential of multilingualism as learning capital, which, once capitalized upon, can enrich and support educational processes in diverse sociolinguistic contexts.