North American cities are multilingual cities and they deserve the education that better reflects their diverse composition. Appropriate curriculum, pedagogies, and policies need to be revised that better fit the current population of the North American cities.
Students, teachers, administrators and communities are not fully aware of the rich linguistic and cultural capital they have and they can build upon.
Appreciation of other languages and cultures is often merely superficial and remains at the level of idiosyncratic events like festivals, but does not permeate community and family life, or schools / universities activity. This is particularly evident when it comes to aboriginal languages and cultures. There is a need for all communities to connect in order to close the gap.
Languages are taught in several schools as separate subjects, something at odds with reality, where students use and mix languages in their classes, the community and their families to make meaning.
Methodologies in language teaching have mainly focused on teaching the linguistic aspects of the languages and have forgotten the cultural, emotional, artistic ones, let alone the real life usage of languages and their connection to other languages. We strive for a more action-oriented approach that reflects the students’ reality and future possibilities.
Usually the driving reason for the language choice is demographics and economics, with very little attention to the intrinsic value of expanding individuals’ linguistic and cultural repertoire, in view of building more welcoming and diverse communities. Also, languages other than the official ones are taught as part of “extra” additional classes, heritage language classes, after school programs and therefore not included in the curriculum.
Knowledge of the difference between multiculturalism and plurilingualism is still in its infancy in the academic bodies in North America. There still is resistance against, or lack of interest for, the concept of plurilingualism and all its connotations among scholars. There has been little or no empirical evidence in North America in regards of the use of plurilingual approaches in the classrooms.
There is not a clear interface or tool that facilitates students’ languages learning effective and transparent assessment and self-assessment, nor a digital environment to help learners navigate their cultural and linguistic trajectories. Technological tools that support and engage students in the use of their diverse linguistic and cultural repertoires are necessary.
Knowledge of aboriginal pedagogies is not discussed in the formal schools in North America and effective methodologies for language education is not included systematically when it comes to the teaching of aboriginal languages. LINCDIRE strives to bridge this gap in languages/culture education and provide the resources to accomplish this goal.
The role of emotions, empathy, personality and identity has been underestimated in language education and yet they play a vital part in learning, and can help or hinder academic commitment and success in school. LINCDIRE makes easy for students to be motivated to develop projects where their personalities and identities can be recognized and valued.