IN-SERVICE PRIMARY TEACHERS' PRACTICES AND BELIEFS ABOUT MULTILINGUALISM: LINGUISTICALLY SENSITIVE TEACHING IN THE BASQUE AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY
Keywords:in-service primary teachers, language beliefs, Linguistically Sensitive Teaching, minority language, multilingual education
European schools have seen a considerable increase in the number of multilingual students (Bergroth et al., 2021). Teaching languages separately restricts the use of students' entire linguistic repertoire; however, new lines of research have pointed out the usefulness of multilingualism and the potential benefits of pedagogical translanguaging (Leonet et al., 2017). In this context, Linguistically Sensitive Teaching (LST) allows teachers to make multilingualism visible in their classrooms (Llompart & Birello, 2020). This qualitative research study was conducted in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC), where Basque and Spanish are official languages. In most cases, English is taught as a Foreign Language. Even though the minority language is not the student's first language in many cases, most students' families choose Basque as the language of instruction (Basque Government, 2020). This study analyses in-service primary teachers' perspectives on multilingual education in a government aided semiprivate school. Data were collected through linguistic landscape analysis, observations, and a focus group discussion. Two researchers observed one hundred six primary multilingual students and eight in-service language and content teachers for three weeks. Teachers who participated in the study were at least bilingual and fluent in Basque and Spanish and some (4) were also fluent in English (B2–C1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for languages). The findings reveal that in-service primary teachers are aware of the utility of putting LST into practice, and they are willing to teach and flexibly use languages. In addition, they believe in transferences across languages and highlight the value of using language to learn content. Although in many cases, multilingual strategies are appropriate for adapting to the current situation, those strategies are not systematized, creating a climate of insecurity. The results suggest the need for more linguistically sensitive education and training.