Applied Linguistics Lunchtime Seminar Series: Prof. Holger Hopp, Dr Jenny Jakisch & Sarah Sturm

7th June 2021 : 12:00 - 13:00

Category: Public Seminar

Research Group: Applied Linguistics

Speaker: Professor Holger Hopp, Dr Jenny Jakisch and Sarah Sturm

Location: Teams

Convener: Faidra Faitaki

Audience: Public



‘Plurilingual teaching and its effects on foreign language development

Professor Holger Hopp, Dr Jenny Jakisch and Sarah Sturm (Technische Universität Braunschweig)

Research indicates that plurilingual teaching, i.e. integrating the learners’ (home) language repertoire into the teaching of a foreign language (FL), can improve FL achievement (Busse et al., 2019; Leonet et al., 2019). Against this background, we will present findings of a project in which a plurilingual approach to teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) was implemented in four primary schools (year 4) in Lower Saxony, Germany, for 6 months. In each school, the English lessons of one group (intervention group) were extended by integrating the participants’ home languages whereas in the other group (comparison group) regular “monolingual” EFL lessons were conducted.

In our talk, we will present the research design as well as the teaching methods and materials that were used in the intervention group. We will also discuss how the young learners experienced the plurilingual lessons. Furthermore, we will show which effects the different teaching approaches had on the participants’ English achievement (vocabulary and grammar) and metalinguistic awareness by presenting data from longitudinal pre- and post-tests.

The data indicate that both monolingual and plurilingual participants gain FL competence during the 6-month intervention. However, the intervention group did not show differential learning gains compared to the comparison group. When testing for specific grammatical phenomena that were subject to instruction in the plurilingual lessons (e.g. questions), we found that the intervention group outperformed the control group. We conclude that addressing specific learners‘ plurilingual resources may support them in learning a foreign language. In our talk, we discuss the results and the potentials of plurilingual foreign language teaching.

References: Busse, V., Cenoz, J., Dalmann, N., & Rogge, F. (2019). Addressing Linguistic Diversity in the Language Classroom in a Resource‐Oriented Way: An Intervention Study With Primary School Children. Language Learning, 31(1), 1–38.

Leonet, O., Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2019). Developing morphological awareness across languages: translanguaging pedagogies in third language acquisition. Language Awareness, 79(2), 1–19.


Holger Hopp: Holger Hopp is a professor of English Linguistics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany). In his research, he investigates child and adult L2/3 acquisition and processing as well as heritage language acquisition and attrition. He uses several psycholinguistic methods to determine the directionality, scope and degree of cross-linguistic influence in bi- and multilingual speakers of different ages.

Jenny Jakisch: Jenny Jakisch is lecturer and researcher at the department of English and American Studies, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Her PhD dealt with the role of English language teaching (ELT) for fostering multilingualism. Her current research interests include teacher education, classroom management and inclusive ELT.

Sarah Sturm: Sarah Sturm is a research assistant and PhD student at the department of English and American Studies, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Her research interests include multilingualism, teaching English as a foreign language (with a focus on young learners) and learning strategies. In her PhD project, she is investigating the use of language learning strategies by young multilingual foreign language learners.