Making plurilingual/pluricultural education accessible by integrating imaginative, ethical, citizenship and critical perspectives using teacher made materials

Presenters: Melina Porto; Silvana Barboni; Adriana Helver

Affiliation: Universidad Nacional de La Plata and Conicet (National Research Council), Argentina

Chosen format: Presentation


In this presentation we will show how a plurilingual/pluricultural agenda can be enacted in English language education in real classrooms. We suggest that the cornerstone of this agenda is the integration of imaginative, ethical, citizenship, and critical dimensions, which can be enacted through creative, arts-based and outdoor learning experiences. We will describe and illustrate our argument with a case study involving the development of teacher-made, locally produced, critical post-method materials, which were used in primary and secondary schools in the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina in contexts that can be characterised as vulnerable or difficult. We will describe these materials and how one teacher used and adapted them in her classroom.

We will begin by describing the process of design of four English Primer Readers published by the Ministry of Education of the Province of Buenos Aires in Argentina. We will show the guiding principles followed by the author, an English language teacher, in response to contextual circumstances and policy challenges. We will focus on some of the main decisions made regarding this plurilingual/pluricultural agenda when developing teacher-made, locally produced, critical post-method materials. We will then describe an outdoor learning experience in a public secondary school in Argentina that stimulated student community engagement in a disadvantaged context. A progressive pedagogy was enacted through work with alternative discourses, multimodality, the creative arts, and an out-of-school visit to the Ecological and Cultural Park William Henry Hudson in the city of Florencio Varela. The case will show a starting point to build up plurilingual and pluricutural competences by fostering students’ strong identification with their surroundings and their engagement in civic action in their community.

The English Primer Readers are freely available at:


Melina Porto is a researcher at the National Research Council (CONICET) in Argentina, Professor at Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP) (Argentina) and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of East Anglia (UK) (2019-2024). She was Visiting Academic at the University of East Anglia from 2012 to 2018. She holds an MA ELT from Essex University (thesis supervised by Henry Widdowson), a PhD from Universidad Nacional de La Plata (thesis supervised by Michael Byram) and a postdoctoral degree in Humanities and Social Sciences (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina). Her research interests include intercultural language education, intercultural citizenship, pedagogies of discomfort, service learning and ethics, among others.

Silvana Julieta Barboni is an ESOL Teacher and Registered Public Translator from Universidad Nacional de La Plata in Argentina. She holds an MA in TEFL from the University of Reading, UK. She is Doctor in Education from the Institute of Education of the University of London (2014). She has work experience teaching English to children, teenagers and adults and coordinating English Departments in several public and private schools. At the moment she works as a Senior Lecturer in ESOL Education and Teaching Practice at Universidad Nacional de La Plata where she also carries out research activities and mentors Masters and Doctoral students in ESOL education from different parts of the world. She is also involved in alumni activities at the Institute of Education, University of London and works as an ESOL specialist reviewer in international journals of education.

Adriana Helver is a Translator of English graduated from Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP) in Argentina. She works as a teacher of English in secondary schools in Florencio Varela and is in charge of the Chair English Teaching Practice at Instituto Superior de Formación Docente N° 24 in Quilmes, Province of Buenos Aires. She holds an MA in Language and Literature Teaching from Universidad Nacional de Rosario in Argentina. She is about to complete doctoral studies at UNLP.