Guide Linguistics at School: Language Awareness in Primary and Secondary Education

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The Europass Language Passport 69 , an electronic version of the standard Language Passport for adults, was jointly developed by the Council of Europe and the European Union. It can be completed on line or downloaded. The ELP also contains a detailed Language biography describing the owner's experiences in each language and which is designed to guide the learner in planning and assessing progress.

Finally, there is a dossier where examples of personal work can be kept to illustrate one's language competences.

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Portfolio models vary according to countries and educational contexts. They are all examined by a European Validation Committee which accords an accreditation number. Note: Models are not available from the Council of Europe. Research evidence suggests that Content and Language Integrated Teaching CLIL is an effective way to support language and subject learning, with benefits for education and other outcomes.

The basic principle of CLIL is that all teachers are also language teachers. Content and Language Integrated Learning refers to a programme characterized by dual language immersion at primary and secondary education. The main principle of CLIL is that both languages are not only used as vehicles for communication but also for transmitting curricular content.

The pedagogical goal is therefore supported by the authenticity of the communicative situation. CLIL capitalizes on one language that is already known and one language that is being learned. The pupils learn to communicate in daily conversations and academically in both languages. To do so, they learn the new language by focusing on the subject that is taught instead of focusing on the language itself.

A CLIL science lesson on ecosystems, for example, will convey knowledge on the subject matter, but also check any previous knowledge students hold in the subject, practice the relevant language and vocabulary, before consolidating and applying this new knowledge in class. Practical tools for teachers to implement CLIL include i. In practice, one non-language subject must be taught in a foreign language in the final year at Licei and Instituti Tecnici.


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In the latter, the subject must be chosen from the specialist areas. In the final three years of Licei linguistici, two different nonlanguage subjects must be taught through two different foreign languages. The Ministry of education has defined the competences and qualifications teachers need to teach CLIL classes. They concern the target languages, the non-language subjects and issues relating to methodology and teaching approaches. In order to help potential CLIL teachers acquire the appropriate knowledge and skills, the education authorities are financing specific continuing professional development activities.

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For instance, in , within a new school reform, they launched a National Teacher Training Plan which established a wide range of training programmes in CLIL methodology, which also included teachers from primary, lower secondary and vocational schools. In essence, translanguaging stems from the idea that children may be able to transfer skills from one language to another with minimal support.

Translanguaging encourages learners to use their full linguistic repertoire in the school context. In order to transfer skills to a new language, children require support, a positive environment and encouragement to do so. The use of translanguaging in the classroom implies that teachers will value the multilingual resources of children, in an attempt to go beyond a strict separation of languages.

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For example, for languages from the same family, such as French, Spanish and Italian, comparing languages might prove beneficial to learning. The essential hallmark of this strategy is that it makes strategic use of the entire linguistic repertoire of children in order to maximize communicative as well as cognitive potential development. Let's compare our languages — example of translanguaging project in France. In France, in classes for newly arrived pupils, language learning is based, either consciously or unconsciously, on a comparison between the existing language system and the language pupils want to learn.

Starting from this fact, this method is aimed at helping newly arrived student discover the French language by comparison with other languages including their own while working jointly with other students. In class, each student is both teacher and learner. Hence, each student feels recognised and valued for who they are and what they already know This project was awarded the European Language Label in Technology can massively support broadening the language offer, provide opportunities for language exposure, and be very useful for supporting those languages which are not taught in schools.

In this context, developing critical thinking and media literacy and an appropriate use of technology are essential. Due to the fast pace of technological change, innovative teaching approaches and strategies are being developed to successfully integrate new technologies into language teaching. Some approaches using new technologies are web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual education opportunities and digital collaboration.

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Although there is a consensus among researchers that the use of digital tools is useful for improving language learning, the field still lacks sound evidence. According to some studies, pupils prefer using digital methods over traditional ones, and digital tools positively influences their engagement in the language learning process Considering that pupils can easily review difficult lessons and exercises in online learning, this may reduce anxiety that can occur in traditional classroom settings and generate positive attitudes towards language learning In order to make language teaching and learning more effective, a wide range of digital tools and methods are introduced in the classrooms.

The previously mentioned European Commission report footnote 67 a, p. Examples of digital tools for language learning. Studies show that digital tools, such as computer-assisted pronunciation training, in particular automatic speech recognition ASR , chats, digital game-based learning, text-based computer mediated communication CMC are beneficial for the development of a language proficiency.

Electronic dictionaries are effective tools for students to speed their search for new words without interrupting the reading process The eTwinning 79 project focuses on taking advantage of information and communication technology ICT to enhance cooperation between schools, through internet-based twinning links. The aim is to develop joint projects using the tools and the secure internet spaces made available for them through the European eTwinning portal.


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Pupils, aged 10 - 19, learn how to write collaboratively, with both their classmates and partners abroad, and publish articles on-line. It supports writing and reading skills in a foreign language, the ability to communicate efficiently with both classmates and partners abroad and to develop intercultural skills. One of the most promising tools in this regard is Computer-based learning environments CBLEs , which offer multilingual support CBLEs are based on a code-switching approach. In the virtual learning environ-ment, pupils can do science subject tasks in the target language and, if there is a need of clarification, they can switch to a language they understand better.

One of such virtual environments, E-Validiv, has been implemented in Belgium.

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The goal of this project is to teach fourth and fifth grade students about topics in different science education subjects nature, technique, time and space, soci-ety, etc. It offers all content for pupils in two different languages: Dutch, which is the language of schooling in Flanders, and one of the six other languages, namely English, French, Italian, Polish, Spanish and Turkish.

New media provide new opportunities for the learning and teaching of languages in a number of ways:. The challenge for schools is to find innovative ways to use the new opportunities to make language learning and teaching more effective and more interesting, while maintaining the qualities and values of more conventional teaching.

Teachers play a key role when it comes to achieving quality and equity in school education. There is broad evidence that their quality has a major impact on learner achievement and motivation There is no EU-wide analysis of the availability of qualified teachers in the most frequently taught languages or the number of students enrolled in initial language teacher education.

Language Learning Theories

A recent study on language teachers' own perception of their competence showed that their competence derives from a combination of university studies, teacher experience and stays abroad. Visits abroad play an important role in developing prospective foreign language teachers' oral language skills.

The teaching of language is an important element across all subjects Teachers of all subjects need to understand and recognise the various ways language is used in the classroom and the vital role language plays in learning and understanding subject content. Acquiring a good command of academic language goes hand in hand with the development of subject knowledge and understanding. Besides, a good command of academic language is essential not only for academic success, but also in later life for democratic participation in society. By communicating about their evolving understanding in increasingly sophisticated ways, students internalize these understandings and ways of acting and thinking.

All teachers need to have good knowledge about language and language learning, diagnosis and support.

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Re-thinking teacher initial education and continuous professional development programmes is necessary to equip teachers with knowledge and competences to support multilingual education. To prepare subject teachers to become language-aware and take their language responsibilities within their subject teaching, through initial training and in-service training, entails specific needs. This includes: understanding what their learners face when they are dealing with the respective subject-matter in school, when they acquire new knowledge, reflect about and incorporate it, when they try to jointly construct meaning with peers and communicate about it.

It aims to prepare all student teachers to learn about language didactics and to deal with the identification of language educational challenges in the teaching of subject knowledge. This aims to favour bilingual pupils' linguistic development and academic attainment in linguistically diverse classrooms, and overall improve language competence of all students. The module focuses on the development of inclusive educational and didactic practice in which Danish as a second language is a dimension of the learning processes in all subject teaching in primary and lower secondary school education.

Working with bilingualism, second language acquisition and inter language analysis, language as a learning tool in school subjects, language tutoring, intercultural education as well as the analysis of learning resources and evaluation in a second language perspective for student teachers to be able to integrate language didactic reflections in their theory and practice when teaching main subjects.