Teacher Education about Multilingualism (Erasmus)
Israel’s unique geographical and political situation creates fertile ground for the study of multilingualism and multiculturalism which results in unique expertise in teacher training and language professionals to work with bilingual children in the classroom. In Hebrew speaking schools, teachers need to accommodate children who are speakers of multiple home languages, from Russian, Ukrainian and Polish to Tigrinya and Sudanese, reflecting the geographical proximity to countries from which many of the migrants /refugees to central Europe originate. In Arabic speaking schools, teachers need to cope with the bilingual properties of the Arabic diglossia, alongside the introduction of both Hebrew, the societal language, and English, as lingua franca, in the first years of elementary school, and all this in a context in which the different languages have different roles and prestige for the speakers and society.
BIU diverse linguistic tradition and relevant academic expertise in the study of children and adults from migrant cohorts creates fertile ground for examining the contribution of multilingualism and multicultural contact in the development of heritage languages, in an understanding of language acquisition and learning processes, language loss, identity and language use across the lifespan, in language impairments, in the languages of children, as well as in cognition and perception in general. These aspects of multilingualism are relevant in creating the opportunity to further explore possible advantages of multilingualism, as well as pressing social and clinical problems