Employing OER to prepare teachers for multilingual classrooms: possible prospects and challenges

Omidire, Margaret F
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The multilingual nature of classrooms across the globe is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Language in education, multilingualism in education and dealing with the associated challenges is still a source of concern for many departments of education. This is rightly so since language is at the core of education and research has linked academic achievement to proficiency (or lack of proficiency) in the language of teaching and learning. It is important to continue to research avenues of reducing the challenges of language in classrooms. // The broad aims of this study, which is still in the development stage, are to explore how the multiplicity of languages represented in classrooms can be used as an asset in teaching and learning. An aspect of this is to explore the different practical ways of supporting teachers in such situations. The participants are intermediate phase (Basic 4-7) teachers and learners from two schools located within remotes communities in South Africa; whose access to the internet might be limited or restricted. One of the sub-questions is: How can OER be used effectively to support teachers in multilingual classroom? We also intend to investigate the value of such support from the perspective of both the teachers and the learners involved. It is anticipated the project will commence in the first quarter of 2014. There has however been a review of literature on the use of OER as a resource for teachers in multilingual classrooms. // This paper is a description of the findings of the preliminary literature review. The study revealed that a lot of OER is available for teaching language, specific aspects of literacy, for development of academic writing skills and building vocabulary. There is however not a lot of materials in terms of support and resources for teachers in the multilingual context. It is anticipated that this paper will initiate a conversation regarding the needs of the teachers concerned. It is vital to for us to support teachers to employ the language resource in their classrooms to facilitate learning rather than viewing the languages as a barrier to learning. There is definitely a place for OER in the discourse and that position has to feature prominently because of the importance of language in education. // Paper ID: 175

Promoting Open Educational Resources,Open Educational Resources (OER),Teacher Education,Languages