Intercultural Learning in Plurilingual Contexts

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  • Title: Intercultural Learning in Plurilingual Contexts: How to Do It in the Context of Inclusive Education of Deaf Adults
  • Author(s): Joaquim Melro
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities
  • Keywords: Intercultural Learning, Deaf Education, Diversity, Culture, Inclusive Education
  • Volume: 30
  • Issue: 1
  • Date: May 24, 2023
  • ISSN: 2327-0128 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2627 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Melro, Joaquim. 2023. "Intercultural Learning in Plurilingual Contexts: How to Do It in the Context of Inclusive Education of Deaf Adults." The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities 30 (1): 53-69. doi:10.18848/2327-0128/CGP/v30i01/53-69.
  • Extent: 17 pages

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In Portugal, intercultural education in plurilingual contexts is a main topic in policy documents, particularly in those regarding inclusive education. Schools should promote an education that meets the educational needs of all students and respects their multicultural backgrounds. These ideals are particularly important to Deaf students. However, moving from principles to practice is no easy task. Deaf students belong to a cultural minority and speak a minority language (Portuguese Sign Language). They face cultural and language barriers because they are taught in a second language. Those barriers do not facilitate their academic learning and their social inclusion. Taking an interpretative approach, we developed a case study to understand the social representations and feelings of Deaf adult students (N = 11) from a mainstream school in Lisbon. The other participants were their teachers, the researcher, and other educational agents. This study aimed at finding out how Deaf students experience their inclusion process in this school. Data collecting instruments included interviews, questionnaires, observation, documents, and tasks inspired by projective techniques. The data were processed by means of a narrative content analysis from which inductive categories emerged. We discuss some students’ accounts. The empirical evidence allows us to understand how the mediation of an oral language and of this school’s culture is distressing for these students’ actions and feelings. Learning in a culture and a language other than their own means that many barriers must be overcome. Instead of highlighting the wealth of diversity, many of this school’s practices try to promote homogeneity while forgetting the requirements of a curricular interculturality.