The Sínia school in Vic (in central Catalonia) is a dual-track school that provides a socio-educational response for 415 students between the ages of 3 and 12 and their families, who represent 19 different nationalities and over 18 different language realities. Catalan is the L2 for most of the students and the L3 in other cases; this is an unusual situation compared with that of the rest of the schools in the city.
It has been shown that the learning of a language not only entails the internalisation of aspects of a linguistic type but that it also influences the building of one’s personal identity. To encourage this identity construction in a balanced way the school needs to facilitate an environment not only of respect but also one which promotes family identities where the interposing of cultures is experienced from a position of equality and not from hierarchisation; this is achieved by taking into consideration the primary relational structures with which the child and his/her family coexist. The recognition of the different cultures encourages the creation of socio-emotional bonds with the host culture, since the latter recognises and takes its own individual identity into consideration.
On the other hand, the deep-rooted nature of the cultural and language identity of the family is going to help us to attach importance to the need to encourage, in a natural way, greater parental involvement in the child’s education. This recognition and involvement enables the families to participate actively inside the classrooms, and the school to act as facilitators of knowledge and cultural and linguistic connectors.
This paradigm shift is encouraging the teaching staff to seek new references to better address our socio-cultural context. With the collaboration of the municipal social services, the “Plural” research group of the University of Barcelona and the work to structure the language supported by the CREDA service, we can re-establish the initial bases of the new project, a socio-educational project. As teachers, multilingual education raises for us new pedagogical, organisational, methodological and evaluative challenges.