University of Oulu

How breaking the monolingual habitus may improve the sense of belonging of linguistically diverse students

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Author: Schwenzer, Jan Fabian1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
Pages: 24
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Schwenzer, 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-29
Thesis type: Bachelor's thesis
Tutor: Jokikokko, Katri


It is not uncommon to have classrooms with students from many different language backgrounds. In educations systems shaped by a monolingual habitus those students often end up in situations where their individual language practices are not valued. The ideas of a monolingual habitus are based on coloniality and a self-understanding that imagines one’s own language practices as the desired norm. This literature review found that the sense of belonging of linguistically diverse students (bilinguals, multilinguals and emergent bi/multilinguals) can be positively impacted when breaking that monolingual habitus.

Important for sense of belonging are among others the feeling of being accepted and valued, having agency, being motivated and confident, succeeding academically and having good relations with peers and teachers. Breaking the monolingual habitus shows acceptance of students’ language practices. The backgrounds and language practices of all students can be valued. Students may achieve the agency to impact their environment and participate in class more, if they are not being stomped by being denied permission to use their whole linguistic repertoire. Breaking the monolingual habitus makes it easier to build on students’ knowledge and make concepts understandable for them. Strategic inclusion of students’ second or third languages may benefit peer connections. Students of monolingual backgrounds may show more awareness and acceptance towards languages if they are used to them. Additionally, including students’ second or third languages can improve language learning because of an increased metalinguistic understanding. Learning a new language faster can make developing peer connections easier for emerging bilinguals. The inclusion of those languages can also benefit teacher relationships, since the teacher may show increased understanding and sympathy towards the students’ language practices. The teacher may also recognize the knowledge and abilities of students more easily, if the students are not halted by supposed wrong language practices.

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Copyright information: © Jan Fabian Schwenzer, 2022. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.