UNIT 5.2. Case study


‘Our languages’


Purpose or aim

Illustrate the benefits of drawing on sociolinguistics and employing participatory approaches in the teaching of all literacies (including digital literacies)



This resource presents a series of teaching materials for English language teachers wanting to explore the theme of ‘languages’, offering a range of suggested participatory tools, activities and texts that can be used and adapted in the classroom. The project draws on two major areas of study. Firstly, participatory pedagogy, an approach inspired by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire that builds a critical understanding of the world and supports students to take action for social justice. Secondly, we draw on sociolinguistics, the study of how language interacts with society, and in particular the sociolinguistics of migration. 


Benefit to teaching literacies

Participatory approaches:  Literacies – including digital literacies –  are ways of doing things or getting things done in the real world using reading and writing. What the learners want or need to do or get done is therefore highly important for teachers to know and to focus on –  participatory approaches enable exactly this.

Sociolinguistics: Sociolinguistics focuses on how language is actually used in the world, as opposed to the often structural approach taken in many language teaching contexts.  Sociolinguistics information is often crucial for learners who are beginning new lives in a new country, and learning to participate in new social and literacy practices.


Key lessons learned

Participatory approaches can help define relevant topics and content  to work on. Sociolinguistic can provide key insights and support learning.