The Multilingual Turn: Implications for SLA, TESOL, and Bilingual Education, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Multilingual Turn

Implications for SLA, TESOL, and Bilingual Education, 1st Edition

Edited by Stephen May


240 pages

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pub: 2013-07-30
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Drawing on the latest developments in bilingual and multilingual research, The Multilingual Turn offers a critique of, and alternative to, still-dominant monolingual theories, pedagogies and practices in SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education. Critics of the ‘monolingual bias’ argue that notions such as the idealized native speaker, and related concepts of interlanguage, language competence, and fossilization, have framed these fields inextricably in relation to monolingual speaker norms. In contrast, these critics advocate an approach that emphasizes the multiple competencies of bi/multilingual learners as the basis for successful language teaching and learning.

This volume takes a big step forward in re-situating the issue of multilingualism more centrally in applied linguistics and, in so doing, making more permeable its key sub-disciplinary boundaries – particularly, those between SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education. It addresses this issue head on, bringing together key international scholars in SLA, TESOL, and bilingual education to explore from cutting-edge interdisciplinary perspectives what a more critical multilingual perspective might mean for theory, pedagogy, and practice in each of these fields.


“This important contribution to educational linguistics… adds a much-needed social perspective to the theory of SLA, English language teaching, and bilingual education. It takes a useful and needed step in moving beyond the monolingual and psycholinguistic biases of researchers in SLA and TESOL.”

Bernard Spolsky, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

"Boundary-breaking, with wonderful width as well as originality, this book is at the cutting edge. The star-studded list of chapter authors are THE experts in their fields of study.”

Colin Baker, Bangor University, UK

“The critical approach to SLA, TESOL, bi- and multilingual education raises much needed questions about the usefulness of subject-bounded approaches to second language teaching. The case for multidisciplinary frameworks is well-made.”

Naz Rassool, The University of Reading, UK

Table of Contents



Introducing the “Multilingual Turn”

Stephen May

Ch. 1. Disciplinary Divides, Knowledge Construction, and the Multilingual Turn

Stephen May

Ch. 2. Ways Forward for a Bi/multilingual Turn in SLA

Lourdes Ortega

Ch. 3. Moving beyond “lingualism”: Multilingual embodiment and multimodality in SLA

David Block

Ch. 4. Theorizing a Competence for Translingual Practice at the Contact Zone

Suresh Canagarajah

Ch. 5. Identity, Literacy and the Multilingual Classroom

Bonny Norton

Ch. 6. Communication and Participatory Involvement in Linguistically Diverse Classrooms

Constant Leung

Ch. 7. Multilingualism and Common Core State Standards in the US

Ofelia García and Nelson Flores

Ch. 8. Who’s teaching whom? Co-learning in multilingual classrooms

Li Wei

Ch. 9. Beyond Multilingualism: Heteroglossia in Practice

Adrian Blackledge, Angela Creese, and Jaspreet Kaur Takhi


Stephen May


About the Editor

Stephen May is Professor of Education in Te Puna Wananga, and Deputy Dean Research in the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Ethnicities and Associate Editor of the journal Language Policy.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY / English as a Second Language