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Bilingualism-Multilingualism: Understanding and debunking popular myths

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Course Information


Term 2 (Monday, 7-9pm)

Please note: if you select the staff or student price option, you must use an online store account that has been set up with your University email address and fill out your University staff or student ID number when prompted as part of the questionnaire data section.

Unfortunately, you can only select the staff or student price option if you are a full time/ part time student of the University or staff member. This discount is not available if you have taken a Lifelong Learning evening course before.

Course Code


Course Dates

15th January 2018 – 19th February 2018

Places Available


Course Leader

Anna Papanikolau
Course Description

Course overview

Don’t bilingual children ever mix their languages up? So when and how do we start teaching our children two languages?


The aim of this course is to try to answer such questions by examining how children learn a second or third language simultaneously or successively.


The course is designed to help parents and teachers to explore factors that affect language development in bilingual/multilingual children, understand the degrees and types of bilingualism, discuss how age affects things, assess the role of the first/dominant language and investigate the role of literacy in one or both/more languages.


Aims and learning outcomes

This module aims to:

  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the language and learning needs of /multilingual learners.
  • Enable you to develop more effective practices with bi/multilingual learners.


On successful completion of this module, you will:

  • Become familiar with theoretical issues of bi/multilingualism debated in both the popular press and the scientific literature
  • Have a good understanding of the complex questions surrounding bi/multilingualism and the complex factors involved in bi/multilingual acquisition across the lifespan
  • Be able to appreciate the effects of bilingualism on cognition and cultural awareness
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the language and learning needs of bi/multlingual learners of English as an additional language
  • Understand the role of internal and external factors in bi/multilingual language acquisition
  • Identify issues for multilingual learners in relation to cultural and linguistic identity, both at home and at school, and examine how this may impact L2/L3 learning and academic achievement
  • Develop awareness of effective practices and strategies for helping bi/multilingual children to enhance languages acquisition and bi/multiliteracies


Summary of teaching and learning methods

This course will be taught in weekly two-hour sessions. At the start of each session a brief lecture, PowerPoint presentation or a short reading will be used to introduce and explain complex issues of bilingualism and multilingualism. The session will then more closely resemble a seminar with group discussions and individual analysis of given resources.

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