Designing for Complexity in Mother Tongue or First Language (L1)-Based Multilingual Education Programs
Keywords:Mother-tongue, Multilingual education, Complexity, Non-linear design, Early literacy, Theory of change, Sociolinguistics, Psycholinguistics, Language policy and planning
Mother-tongue or first language (L1)-based multilingual education programs are necessarily complex and may require a more nonlinear approach to program design. These programs operate within and act upon a range of psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, and sociopolitical issues that include language structure and literacy assessment, language policy and politics, and cultural and social behavior change linked to literacy expansion. The broad use of one-size-fits-all outcomes-based design approaches for L1-based multilingual education programs often result in designs that are retrofitted to new country settings and ill-suited to the context in which they are implemented. This paper looks at some of the many features that can be used to inform the development of L1-based multilingual education in the context of early literacy programming. Specifically, it examines the use of alternative approaches in the development of flexible theory of change design that integrate early literacy and L1-based multilingual education program design frameworks to more suitably address the sociolinguistic, sociopolitical, and psycholinguistic assumptions underpinning multilingual education approaches.
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