The World in a Classroom: Language in Education in Britain and Canada

Series: Multilingual Matters (No. 87)
Although both Britain and Canada have a history of bilingualism, postwar immigration has created a far greater degree of linguistic and cultural diversity than was previously the case. The World in a Classroom is a comparative study of how British and Canadian schools have adapted to the needs of multilingual populations. It draws both on published research and on new data collected in Ontario schools. It considers attitudes towards linguistic diversity and the various philosophies which have shaped responses to children from minority communities. Special attention is paid to the ways in which provision for children learning English in school has changed overtime: the ways in which both curriculum and classroom management have attempted to meet the needs of a multilingual population; and the organisation of community (or heritage) language teaching. The material conditions and organisation of schools in Canada and Britain are often very different. However, there are also many points of similarity between developments in the two countries and the authors make a powerful case for the pooling of ideas and resources. In a world where multilingual classrooms are an increasing reality, their observations and conclusions are relevant to many other educational settings.