This paper discusses contradictions in discourses and practices in connection with plurilingualism in the public education system of multilingual Switzerland. First, a historical review presents under what condi- tions the plurilingual paradigm has found its way into Swiss curricula. Second, some examples are taken from L2 course books to illustrate how curricular ideas have been translated into practical material. Third, it is shown what contradictory ideologies persist despite these efforts to incorporate plurilingual ideas into teaching practice. This is done on the basis of a recent case, which was about banning all languages but the official (German) during recess times at a primary school. The analysis reveals what kind of normative monolingual discourses remain strong. Shedding light on these contradictions allows the illustration of ten- sions between the plurilingual paradigm and monolingual norms, with which the educational context is confronted.