A Plurilingual Approach to ELT in Primary School: Towards an Ecological Perspective

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This paper aims to demonstrate that using a plurilingual and ecological approach to English language teaching can achieve better results in primary school independently of the mother tongue of the student. This article is based on the initial results of our international research carried out in three very different countries (Norway, China and Spain). While the author´s research project involves 328 participants, we will present the results of the first phase of the experiment, including 133 students. In this paper, we propose a plurilingual communicative approach to English teaching as a foreign language, making a distinction between languages for communication and languages for identification. This research examines the current teaching policies in the participating countries, and analyses cross-cultural and cross-linguistic perspectives in English language teaching while promoting the positive use of the mother tongue as a connecting tool in the students’ communication system. The subjects of this study were divided in control and experimental groups, in which they received traditional and plurilingual approach respectively. After the classes they completed a test and were then supplied with a Likert scale questionnaire focused on understanding their attitude and motivation towards mother tongue and English language learning. Based on observation and results obtained, we can conclude that a plurilingual approach that uses L1 as a tool in English teaching improves English learning, as well as develops an ecological understanding of languages.

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