IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


CANCELLED: Multilinguistic diversity: impact for education, health and society

12 June 2020, 9:00 am–5:00 pm

Wooden flags from around the world. Image: Karen Roe via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This event has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Roberto Filippi


Room CLO B01
Birkbeck Clore Management Centre
27 Torrington Square

A workshop for academics, researchers and educators to discuss the benefits and challenges of the multilinguistic diversity in our societies.

There is a growing interest on multilingualism and multicultural diversity. External factors such as migration lead to even greater diversity within populations. This workshop will address some of the key questions on this subject: 

  • Does promoting socio-cultural diversity enhance cognitive capacity and flexible behaviour across the lifespan? 
  • Are multilingual school children a resource or a challenge to deliver good learning outcomes in education? 
  • Are multilingual adults an economic resource or a drain for the workforce? 

In the UK diversity is represented in the more than 300 languages spoken every day. Despite theoretical and political attempts to celebrate diversity, we are living in times in which we experience divisions, cultural separations and misconceptions. 

Still today, for example, bilingual and multilingual school children in the UK are labelled as EAL (English as an Additional Language) pupils, which arguably implies a vaguely negative connotation or the categorization of multilingual learners as having some sort of ‘special needs’. 

Anecdotally, there are still cases in which educators discourage multilingual families to raise their children as multilinguals. Such behaviour should be rendered unacceptable, and it is the responsibility of the scientific community to provide research-based counter-arguments against such discouragement. 

This workshop puts together some of the leading scientists in the field with the aim to offer undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students a deep insight into the state-of-the-art science of multilingualism. 


Professor Peter Bright, Anglia Ruskin University
Dr Roberto Filippi, UCL Institute of Education
Dr Petros Karatsareas, University of Westminster
Dr Yarden Kedar, Beit-Berl College
Professor Chloe Marshall, UCL Institute of Education
Professor Antonella Sorace, University of Edinburgh
Professor Michael Thomas, Birkbeck
Professor Li Wei, UCL Institute of Education


Image: 'House of Flags' by Karen Roe via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)