Language Identities

Understanding Language Identities

Seeking to understand perspectives, to gain knowledge of experiences and learn about how students’ view themselves enables us to better ensure our students can thrive in their learning community. The resources included below provide examples of ways in which teachers and families can explore the richness of languages of our young learners and empower them to see their language identity(ies) as an asset. Being multilingual looks different for everyone yet for everyone it can be a superpower!

Language Self Portrait

Personal Language Portrait

The above video and resources provided here explain more about the reflective process to create your language self portrait.


This template can be used for anyone (child or adult) to reflect on and express how they see themselves through their language(s).

Questions to pose and reflect on during the process.

  • Which used languages are associated with learning, with social life and with family? 
  • What feelings and attitudes about languages are we uncovering? 
  • Which language does a student perceive is strongest or preferred in different contexts, for example while reading, speaking or in the arts or mathematics? 
  • What literacy experiences are revealed and in which contexts? 
  • What personal goals do students have for their continued language learning? 
  • How are languages connected to different aspects of their identities?
  • What are the emotions strongly connected to language?

My Cultural Identities

Reflecting on layers of identity

This element involves students reflecting on who they are in relation to various aspects of identity explained in the video above. Students are encouraged to add whatever they value and is important to them and can create this identity map either on a pre made template as shown attached or through any medium they choose. Using artefacts is also a powerful means through which to encourage reflection on personal identity and share in a learning community setting.

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela