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DoDiMu Practices of « doing » (socio-cultural) difference and dealing with multilingualism in the classroom: perception, reflection and change through video-based learning in communities of practice


April 2024 – July 2025


Cultural diversity awareness multilingualism/plurlingualism inclusion

Education level involved

Teacher education (pre- and in-service teachers) for high schools and primary schools


Practices, differences, inclusion, plurilinguallism, video-based learning

Heterogeneity and differences play a role in schools and classrooms all over Europe: On the one hand, they are part of everyday life and, on the other hand, they represent a relevant challenge for teachers (Idel, Rabenstein & Ricken, 2017; Tillmann, 2014). Due to globalization, national and international conflicts, teachers are often confronted with allophone or alloglot (Gouaïch, 2018) students living in a “difficult” social environment. As a result, they must constantly adapt their practice to the plurilingual and pluricultural context of their class.  Dealing with different forms of heterogeneity and difference presupposes that differences themselves are perceived and that one’s own production of differences in the form of practices (Reh & Rabenstein, 2013) is reflected upon (Budde & Eckermann, 2021).

Project context

The term “heterogeneity” has been the subject of intense public and academic debate for several years. Due to its openness, it is able to bundle different challenges that schools and the school system are currently confronted with. However, this openness is also the weakness of the term, which can be characterized by vagueness and is often overloaded (Budde, 2012). There is a consensus that dealing with heterogeneity is a professionalization requirement or a current research topic in the context of professionalization that needs to be mastered or dealt with intensively (Gebauer, McElvany & Klukas, 2013; Hirschauer & Kullmann, 2010; Sturm, 2013).

In the public as well as in the academic debate, two categories of difference in particular are currently receiving special attention: socio-cultural and achievement heterogeneity (cf. also the described arenas of discourse in Budde, 2012). Basically, two observational perspectives on heterogeneity or difference (Emmerich & Hormel, 2013; Weisser, 2005) can be distinguished in research: An essentialist perspective that views heterogeneity along social categories of difference as something that is brought to school (externalized) and derives didactic challenge (opportunity/ burden) from it (Budde, 2017; Derrida, 1990; Sturm, 2018; Walgenbach, 2014). To be distinguished from this is a sociological perspective in which heterogeneity is (also) (re)produced in schools (e.g., Diehm, Kuhn, Machold & Mai, 2013; Emmerich & Hormel, 2013; Gaststädt & Rüger, 2021; Merl, 2019; Rabenstein, Reh, Steinwand & Breuer, 2014; Wagner-Willi & Sturm, 2016) and thus can be defined as relative, socioculturally embedded, socially constructed, and partial (Sturm, 2013). It is also in the context of this second perspective that the study of practices in teaching is situated.

Taking into account the diversity within a class and the plurilingual student requires that teachers are trained and equipped. If we consider its definition, plurilingualism, is about « effective practices between individuals and in two or more languages » (Nussbaum, Moore and Borras, 2013). Students arrive in school with their linguistic repertory, which can represent a barrier to learn the language of schooling. It therefore represents a socio-educational challenge for our educational systems. Training teachers in the didactics of plurilingualism is becoming a necessity in « a socio-professional and civic perspective » (Gajo, 2006). It is no longer a question of « ‘only’ promoting a diversification of the supply and demand for languages in school contexts. The problem is to manage a plurality that is indeed there and gives rise to tensions and possible conflicts within territories where reversals of relations of domination or new assertions of old minorities have taken place » (Coste, 2008).

Currently, research on practices (Reh & Rabenstein, 2013) for producing and dealing with heterogeneity in school and classroom contexts is mainly conducted through ethnographies (e.g., Budde, 2014) or videographies (e.g., Sturm & Wagner-Willi, 2015). One advantage of video analyses is to be able to reconstruct, in a sociological sense of knowledge, action-guiding knowledge (Mannheim, 1964; referred to as incorporated knowledge in Bourdieu (1976)) that determines teachers’ everyday action practices. Videography, consisting of conversation analysis and image analysis, provides a methodological approach to this action-guiding knowledge. Verbal utterances as well as nonverbal elements can be recorded and evaluated in this way (for content-analytical evaluation of image/video data see Tuma, Schnettler & Knoblauch, 2013).

Project objectives

The aim of the project is to identify and reflect on practices of creating (socio-cultural) difference and dealing with plurilingualism together with teachers and students in video recordings from real lessons in order to enable them to act with confidence in their own lessons and to deal more consciously with diversity and inclusion. So, plurilingualsim in (future) classrooms should be supported and cultural diversity awareness should be promoted.

Methodological perspective

Within the first workpackage (WP 1) exemplary lessons will be videographed at the four participating schools (data: classroom videos). The respective nationally applicable standards for data protection as well as ethical considerations are taken into account and adhered to when creating the videos. In a first step, following the documentary method (Bohnsack, 2013), these videos will be evaluated by the participating researchers with regard to practices of creating difference and dealing with plurlingualism. To this end, the teachers’ didactic and plurilingual praxeologies can be detailed and analyzed in order to determine the conditions and constraints that exist for their diffusion and thus contribute to their improvement and development. The creation of synoptic tables could contribute to the understanding of these praxeologies.

In the Community of Practices (WP 2 and WP 3), the classroom videographies will be used as an opportunity for analysis and reflection. Ethical considerations also play a role at this point, and participants sign privacy statements. The work in the Community of Practices will be logged and special working phases (e.g. reflection rounds) will be recorded (video or audio) (data: discussion videos). These videos are then to be evaluated in turn for.

All in all, no video data will be released to the public or used beyond the context of the community of practice or in subsequent courses.

Project leaders

  • SYRING Marcus (University Tübingen)

Other partners

  • TRETOLA Jessyca (Aix-Marseille Université, INSPÉ, ADEF) : co-leader

  • GOUAÏCH Karima (Aix-Marseille Université)

  • ZOUGS Muriel (Aix-Marseille Université)


  • DAVIN Fatima (Aix-Marseille Université)


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