Jessica Ball 

University of Victoria, Human and Social Development, CANADA;

Mariam Smith

Learning Loop Inc., SWEDEN;


Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal.  Volume 2022-2(8). LINGUISTIC CONTEXTS AND DIVERSITY IN EDUCATION, pp. 6-21



This article explores the potential of multilingual education (MLE) and culturally sustaining pedagogy to promote school inclusion and success of children who speak a non-dominant language is explored. This potential is examined with reference to the authors’ formative evaluation of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s implementation of a five year Multilingual Education National Action Plan (MENAP). The plan and its subsequent Multilingual Education Action Plan (MEAP) have enabled Indigenous children to be taught using one of five Indigenous languages during the first three years of school. Our interpretation of findings reinforces a conceptualization of MLE as a means to transmit culturally diverse ways of knowing, doing, and being so that children become multilingual and multicultural. This requires a more-than-language approach to MLE whereby nondominant language speakers partner with educators to generate culturally sustaining curriculum content, learning activities and teaching resources that immerse children in the knowledges, thinking, and skills of their own cultural community.

Keywords: Multilingual education, Cambodia, culturally sustaining pedagogy, multiculturalism, Indigenous children 


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