As a result of different variables characterising our current times (such as, globalisation, information and communication technologies), the use of English as an international Lingua Franca has spread like never before. Consequently, English teaching and learning has become intrinsic to the primary school curriculum worldwide, which in turn has had important consequences on the learner’s perceptions and beliefs. Meanwhile, the role of the native speaker in language learning is being challenged by movements such as the Multilingual Turn (May, 2019) and plurilingualism is becoming key in education. Our study stems from the dichotomy of the simultaneous dominance of English as a key language and the new perspectives on plurilingualism.
In order to acquire an overview of the impact of English language on a global scale, we carried out a study focused on China, Spain and Norway. After a thorough study of the curriculums in each of the contexts, we studied the students’ perceptions through a questionnaire divided in different aspects: demographic data, use of English inside and outside the classroom, motivation and attitude towards English and the Mother tongue, and the perceptions and beliefs of the students on the process of language learning. In this paper, we focus on the relationship between English as a Lingua Franca and Plurilingualism from the students’ perspective. From our analysis we identified that, the students mainly consider English as the most important language in the world and yet, the schools pride themselves in providing a multilingual perspective. Through the students’ answers on multilingual views, the mother tongue and English, we observe that the current approach to English teaching in the curriculum results in contradictory views. The outcomes of the questionnaires also reinforce the need to teach English from a Lingua Franca perspective within multilingualism to respect the ecology of language, so that the students do not confuse the internationality of English with a symbol of status.
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