THE USE OF DIGITAL TOOLS IN PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS’ PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT TOWARDS LINGUISTIC DIVERSITY IN PRIMARY EDUCATION
Keywords:digital tools, language attitudes, language awareness, professional development, plurilingual education
As language diversity in education gradually increases, several challenges for primary school teachers arise. According to previous studies, there are not many adequate teacher training programs that prepare teachers in linguistically diverse classrooms and, therefore, teachers that teach pupils with linguistically/culturally diverse backgrounds highly depend on their own engagement with plurilingualism. This shows the need for initial plurilingual(-oriented) pre-service teacher training and in-service teachers’ continuing professional development that focus on acquiring language awareness and obtaining strategies for promoting and recognizing linguistic diversity in the classroom. In addition, most teachers feel the need for further professionalization and tools to help them manage and acknowledge the diversity in their classrooms. Through a pre-post-intervention design, this study examined a) the effects of digital tools for teacher professionalization for plurilingual education on pre-service teachers’ attitudes and knowledge, and (b) how AR-games can be used to further language awareness and openness towards plurilingualism of pre-service teachers and their pupils. The participants reported that the digital tools contributed to their knowledge of linguistic diversity in the classroom, as well as ways to implement plurilingualism in their teaching practices and further language awareness.