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Diversity in the English classroom: The importance of multiword vocabulary

Victoria Murphy

Increased migration and globalization of commerce has led to a significant rise in the proportion of pupils from diverse linguistic backgrounds in the classroom. This increased diversity means that learning a foreign language can amount to the development of an L3 for some children. In this talk I will present some of the international research evidence that has focused on the language and academic achievement of children from different linguistic backgrounds. I will then specifically examine the development of their L2 literacy skills and illustrate the importance of vocabulary knowledge in both reading and writing. The role of multiword vocabulary will be highlighted as an often neglected, but critical, aspect of vocabulary knowledge in developing literacy skills. Finally, I will discuss some misconceptions about vocabulary teaching and learning in the classroom and highlight the need for a wider range of vocabulary learning activities.