• University of Glasgow

Plurilingual Classrooms in Action

Develop your understanding of learning and teaching languages to explore the transformative role of languages in education.

1,065 enrolled on this course

Room full of diverse people speaking to each other

Plurilingual Classrooms in Action

1,065 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 4 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Create great teaching opportunities in your culturally diverse classroom

Today’s cultural diversity means there can be several languages in a single primary school classroom. That can pose a teaching challenge, but it also offers some great learning opportunities.

On this four-week course from the Scottish Council of Deans Languages Group in conjunction with the University of Glasgow, you’ll learn how to maximise the advantages these situations offer whilst celebrating and supporting the languages within your classroom.

Witness the transformative power of plurilingualism and pluriliteracies

Plurilingualism and pluriliteracies refer to the ways in which languages can be learned and used not only to communicate but also to make meaning in thematic or subject areas. With a focus on multimodality and relevant language resources, pluriliteracies take account of how school children - with scaffolding - can use other languages as well as their first to broaden and deepen their understanding of the world.

Harness the learning power of language and cultural diversity

You’ll also learn how to use different language exchanges as scaffolds for more linguistic teaching, evaluating the aims of 21st-century language learning and developing your knowledge of language learning strategies.

By the end of the course, you’ll have a firm grasp on current language pedagogy and will feel confident in delivering effective, engaging lessons.

Develop shared resources along with language pedagogy

Throughout the course, you’ll also get to collaborate on resources and develop your own ideas.

You’ll be actively engaged from the moment you start, creating a better learning experience for you and ensuring you are able to create better language learning strategies and experiences for your students in turn.

Logo of NFfL

Download video: standard or HD

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds I catch a train into the city center. I see signs in Gaelic. I have a conversation in Spanish with my work colleague in the evening. I watch a Scandinavian detective drama while my daughter blasts out music by her favorite Korean pop group. My son spends time on an app learning Portuguese as he begged me to book a holiday there. We’re surrounded by language and languages. We live in a culturally diverse society. Our children learn in a culturally diverse classroom. So what does this mean for us as teachers? How can we ensure that this linguistic and cultural diversity is recognized, valued and promoted in our classrooms?

Skip to 0 minutes and 48 seconds This course will look at some of the key theoretical concepts related to plurilingual we will consider policy and legislation, as well as examine how a pluriliteracies approach can be transformative for all learners. The National Framework for Languages in Scotland was created with all of this in mind and is the basis for this four week course. We will reflect and connect, explore and explain. Join us on this four week journey towards a full understanding of language learning and teaching in the 21st century.


  • Week 1

    Plurilingualism and pluriliteracies

    • Welcome to the course

      This set of steps will introduce you to the teaching team and inform you what is involved in the course.

    • What is plurilingualism?

      Professor Do Coyle from the University of Edinburgh discusses plurilingualism and pluriliteracies.

    • Plurilingualism in language teaching and learning

      Here we will consider why plurilingualism is fundamental to language teaching and learning.

    • What are pluriliteracies?

      Here we will examine what we mean by a pluriliteracies approach to language learning and teaching.

    • Pluriliteracies in action

      Here we will consider some examples of a pluriliteracies approach in the classroom.

    • Review and reflect

      Here we review what we have covered this week.

  • Week 2


    • Recognising language and cultural diversity in our lives

      This week we will examine how to celebrate and support linguistic and cultural diversity.

    • Language and Identity

      Here we will examine what frames our identity and sense of who we are.

    • Recognising the importance of valuing linguistic and cultural diversity

      Here we will consider the role different languages play in the lives of individuals.

    • Valuing linguistic and cultural diversity in classrooms

      Here we will examine how we can value diversity in our classrooms.

    • Review and reflect

      Here we will look back at what we've covered this week.

  • Week 3

    Policy and Legislation

    • What is progress in language learning?

      In this section we will look at the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and examine how it may help us to monitor our level of language and progress in our learning.

    • What types of 'competences' do we need in language learning?

      Here we will consider what different types of knowledge and skills may be needed as we consider language learning and teaching holistically.

    • How does our previous learning experience influence us today?

      Here we will consider how the way we learned languages in the past may impact on how we teach them in the present.

    • Alternative perspectives in policy

      Here we consider the ACTFL's policy structure as well as Scotland's 1+2 policy.

    • Review and reflect

      Here we will look back at what we've covered this week.

  • Week 4

    Transformative Pedagogies

    • Transformative Pedagogies

      Transformative practices challenge individuals to consider how they see themselves and others, and how they might engage in and contribute to society.

    • Taking storytelling further

      Here we will consider storytelling in more detail.

    • Participation in the languages classroom

      Here we will consider how pupils can develop agency through the use of languages in the daily life of the classroom.

    • Review and reflect

      Reflecting on what we have covered this week.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Investigate the dynamic concept of plurilingualism.
  • Investigate how the role of pluriliteracies impacts on classroom learning.
  • Explore how to celebrate and support different languages within the classroom.
  • Reflect on the linguistically and culturally diverse society we live in today.
  • Evaluate the aims and approaches to language learning in Scotland, Europe and beyond.
  • Engage with current educational policy and model how to ensure progression in language learning.
  • Assess the transformative power of plurilingualism and pluriliteracies for all learners.
  • Develop an awareness of the transformative power of plurilingualism and pluriliteracies for all learners.
  • Evaluate classroom resources and develop an understanding of how to put policy into practice.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for students training to be primary school teachers, and for qualified teachers who want to develop their knowledge and understanding of language learning.

Who will you learn with?

I am a former secondary languages teacher and now a lecturer in Initial Teacher Education at the University of Glasgow.

Do is a former language teacher and currently Professor of Language Education & Classroom Pedagogies at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Inge Birnie is a senior lecturer at the University of Strathclyde. She is interested in supporting all language learning and teaching for children age 3 - 12 including minority languages

I joined The School of Education at U of G in 2016 after spending twelve years in a comprehensive secondary school in the outskirts of Edinburgh (Scotland) where I taught Spanish and French.

Dr. Colin Christie is a lecturer in Education at the University of Aberdeen and teaches across a range of courses at different levels relating to primary, secondary and further education.

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Ways to learn

Buy this course

Subscribe & save

Limited access

Choose the best way to learn for you!

$104/one-off payment

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews


Fulfill your current learning needDevelop skills to further your careerSample the course materials
Access to this courseticktick

Access expires 12 Jul 2024

Access to 1,000+ coursescrosstickcross
Learn at your own paceticktickcross
Discuss your learning in commentstickticktick
Certificate when you're eligiblePrinted and digitalDigital onlycross
Continue & Upgrade

Cancel for free anytime

Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$104/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 12 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #NFfL to talk about this course on social media.