Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar’s Dudley Reynolds has co-edited a practical guide to language teaching in a multilingual classroom. Along with co-editors Kashif Raza and Christine Coombe, Reynolds compiled essays of practical ideas from around the world for developing curricula, teaching materials, and activities to support multilingual classrooms.
Reynolds is a teaching professor of English and senior associate dean for education at CMU-Q. The newly released Handbook of Multilingual TESOL in Practice is a follow-up to the 2021 release of Policy Development in TESOL and Multilingualism: Past, Present and the Way Forward, also edited by Reynolds, Raza and Coombe.
Reynolds notes that traditionally, languages are taught by excluding other languages in the classroom. A multilingual approach uses all of the tools available to students, including native languages, to get meaning across and improve understanding.
Reynolds notes that this approach is more inclusive: “Rather than taking a deficit approach where we suppress other languages, we value students’ knowledge and encourage them to share what they know with others.”
“The field of teaching English to speakers of other languages, or TESOL, is ready to move from ‘this is a good idea,’ to ‘this is how we can put this idea into practice.”
Reynolds has been a faculty member at CMU-Q since 2007, and has strong connections with the TESOL community in Qatar. In 2019, he wrote Language Policy in Globalized Contexts for the WISE 2019 summit, and led discussions with educators about the challenges of language learning in Qatar.
He found that the question of language learning is particularly relevant in the Middle East, where English has been taught at the expense of Arabic.
“In Qatar, educators and policy-makers want to find a way to teach English while respecting and preserving their Arabic heritage. This is a challenge that educators have around the world, in many different linguistic contexts. I think we are moving towards a deeper understanding of how a multilingual classroom can achieve both of those learning outcomes.”
Handbook of Multilingual TESOL in Practice incorporates ideas for curriculum development, classroom instruction, materials creation, assessment, and teacher training. The book is a collection of chapters written by leading researchers in multilingualism and TESOL from around the world.