Canada is a country of linguistic contradictions: it has official English/French bilingual policies despite the presence of over 70 Indigenous and 140 immigrant languages (Statistics Canada, 2017). Its fast-growing pace of multilingualism and high levels of immigration and refugee claimants, however, is pushing educators and researchers to reconceptualize language education that is inclusive and culturally responsive. One key challenge identified in past research, is to equip pre- and in-service language teachers to implement critical multi/plurilingual pedagogies while monolingual discourses are often prevalent in educational settings. In this presentation, I will briefly describe the recent demographic changes in Canada and why educators in this context are shifting to plurilingual education. Then, I will show results of two empirical studies I conducted in two linguistically distinct Canadian contexts: one with language learners and in-service teachers in an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program in Toronto, where English is the dominant language; and another in a Teacher Education program with pre-service English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in Montreal, where French is the dominant language. Results of these studies reveal that most pre- and in-service teachers shifted their views of “language,” and aligned critical plurilingual pedagogies with values of equity, diversity, inclusion and decoloniality. Challenges were primarily found in hierarchical power relations in schools. While I call for the inclusion of critical plurilingual approaches in teacher education programs for the sustainability of multi/plurilingualism, these may vary depending on contextual factors.
Angelica Galante is an assistant professor in language education at McGill University and president of the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics. Her research examines language pedagogy in multilingual settings, social factors in language development, and plurilingual and pluricultural competence. Galante is the director of the Plurilingual Lab where she conducts and mobilizes research. Her work can be found in journals such as TESOL Quarterly, Applied Linguistics, International Journal of Multilingualism, and System. She is also the co-author of the book Activating Linguistic Diversity in the Language Classroom (Springer) and the Plurilingual Guide: Implementing Critical Plurilingual Pedagogy in Language Education.