By exploring the languages of schooling researchers and educators take a holistic view of language in order to identify learners’ needs in specific areas. The diagram below illustrates these areas of language use.
Of particular interest for languages of schooling projects carried out by the ECML are the areas ‘Language as a subject’ and ‘Language(s) in other subjects’. The former is often referred to as the ‘language of instruction’ or the majority language spoken in a geographical area; here the focus is on, for example, the teaching of German in Austria, the teaching of Swedish in Sweden. Since in today’s societies, many schools are multilingual and the range of learners’ first languages is wide, this means that the teaching of the majority language has to extend beyond teaching it as a first language and adopt elements of second language teaching.
The focus on the second area, ‘Language(s) in other subjects,’ recognises that language is seen as a tool through which students learn content matters in subjects like science, geography, history and mathematics. In order to succeed, learners need to have a solid command of the language used by teachers and textbooks to teach these subjects, which is different from the language used in everyday non-academic situations. Becoming literate in content subjects will empower learners to acquire and communicate knowledge.
As can be seen in the above diagram, languages of schooling sit at the heart of the school system and play a pivotal and decisive role in the learner’s education. It thus requires the development of a whole school language policy in which all teachers (majority language, foreign languages, second languages, subject teachers) have a role to play and to cooperate.
The work of the ECML in the area of languages of schooling is part of a major initiative of the Council of Europe. The Platform of resources and references for plurilingual and intercultural education is ‘an instrument enabling member states to develop their programmes relating to languages of schooling and all language teaching’. It offers ‘an open and dynamic resource, with systems of definitions, points of reference, descriptions and descriptors, studies and good practices’. In the category ‘Language(s) of schooling’ various reference texts and resources are available to download.
In the area of ‘Language as a subject,’ two projects Teaching the language of schooling in the context of diversity (Maledive) and Majority language in multilingual settings (Marille) have addressed the issue of how plurilingual education can have an impact on the teaching of the language of schooling. The projects explore ways in which plurilingual and intercultural approaches can contribute to enriching the appreciation of the national/regional language and literature and to the integration of all the learners in the class.
The development of whole school approaches is an important factor in promoting plurilingual education. The Think tank: Whole-school approaches to the language/s of schooling was devoted to this question and led to the setting up of the project A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling.
In the area of ‘Languages in other subjects,’ the project Language skills for successful subject learning (language descriptors) provides language descriptors for the subjects history/civics and mathematics. Pluriliteracies Teaching for Learning (PTL) shows teachers and materials developers ways of fostering deep learning by paying attention to the development of students‘ subject specific literacies as well as their conceptual understanding and automatization of subject-specific procedures.
Plurilingual and intercultural education
Developing the languages of schooling is inextricably linked to plurilingual approaches. Key issues are how to develop learners’ plurilingual repertoire and intercultural competences and how to embed a plurilingual approach in the language of schooling curriculum and integrate it with other learning contents.
Content and language integrated learning (CLIL)
The challenges of language teaching and content teaching are common to CLIL approaches and ‘language in other subjects’. Incorporating CLIL in a school curriculum needs to form part of a whole-school policy of languages of schooling.
Migrant education and employment
ECML projects in this area focus on how migrant learners' skills can be developed in the language of instruction as well their plurilingual competences.
A roadmap for schools to support the language(s) of schooling
View publication page
Developing language awareness in subject classes
Learning environments where modern languages flourish
15.03.2022Ireland: One school, many languages – Creating an environment where all languages are valued – A toolkit for schools
One school, Many Languages (January 2022) – this attractive brochure has been designed as a practical resource for primary school teachers. It contains links to lesson plans, videos, audio resources that can be used in the classroom and articles following the latest research and best practice.
The toolkit has been designed by Mother Tongues to disseminate some of the key points from the Supporting Multilingual Classrooms national workshop, delivered in Ireland on 27th and 28th September 2021 by the ECML experts, Chantal Muller and Prof. Terry Lamb. This event was funded by the European Union and the European Centre for Modern Languages.
In February 2022, The Irish Times featured Mother Tongues and the toolkit in an article:
“Speaking in mother tongues shows heritage is a class act – Embracing diverse languages inside the classroom gives all pupils a great advantage”.
Follow Mother Tongues on social media:
18.03.2021Online workshop in Poland on "Language of schooling in subject learning": a practical support for teachers in planning lessons and designing teaching materials
Online ECML training and consultancy training workshop "Language of schooling in subject learning: Identifying and integrating linguistic and subject objectives – hands-on training sessions"
Dates: 29 October 2020 and 12 February 2021
Local organisation: Centre for Education Development (ORE), Warsaw, Poland; Elżbieta Witkowska
Participants: 16 teacher consultants, methodology advisors, English teachers, teachers of non-language subjects (e.g. History, Geography) in primary and upper secondary schools
In these challenging times of COVID-19, the workshop was run in two online sessions by ECML experts: Guillaume Grave Rousseau and Jérôme Béliard. The target group represented various professional environments (such as teacher training institutions, primary and secondary schools with bilingual education classes), but the way the sessions were prepared enabled all participants to benefit from the content presented and the activities conducted in the workshop. The activities included a lot of group work during which everyone could share both teaching experience and good practice, learn how to integrate linguistic and subject objectives and how to implement these into classroom work. The teaching tools presented will also be invaluable for the participants while planning activities for their students especially now, when most schools are closed and teaching is held online. A variety of tools that help identify learners’ language needs in subject learning together with scaffolding techniques will serve as a practical support for teachers in planning lessons and designing teaching materials.
Due to the trainers’ expertise, the participants felt inspired by the new ideas presented and encouraged to implement them in their own teaching.
The workshops led by ECML are always of a very high standard and great value, so it is always worth applying for one!
Warsztaty organizowane we współpracy Europejskiego Centrum Języków Nowożytnych z Ośrodkiem Rozwoju Edukacji w Warszawie są zawsze doskonałą okazją dla uczestników do zdobywania nowej wiedzy i doskonalenia warsztatu pracy. Szkolenie Language of schooling in subject learning: Identifying and integrating linguistic and subject objectives – hands-on training sessions prowadzone przez trenerów ECML - Guillaume Grave Rousseau i Jérôme Béliarda ze względu na sytuację epidemiczną covid 19 odbyło się w formie dwóch sesji online 29.10.2020 oraz 12.02.2021 r. W spotkaniach wzięli udział przedstawiciele różnych środowisk związanych z edukacją: doradcy metodyczni, nauczyciele konsultanci oraz nauczyciele szkół podstawowych i ponadpodstawowych zaangażowani w tematykę nauczania dwujęzycznego. Sesje zostały zaplanowane tak, aby umożliwić jak najpełniejsze zapoznanie się z wiedzą na temat integracji edukacji przedmiotowej i językowej, jak również zaplanowano przestrzeń na dzielenie się doświadczeniem i dobrą praktyką. Eksperci, przygotowali dla uczestników materiały, które wykorzystywane były w trakcje wykonywania ćwiczeń, ale będą również pomocne w przygotowywaniu materiałów na własne lekcje stacjonarne, ale i te prowadzone zdalnie. Eksperci zaprezentowali tematykę w sposób przystępny, łącząc materiały teoretyczne z treściami praktycznymi. Uczestnicy mieli okazję pracować w grupach, dzielić się swoimi doświadczeniami i dobrą praktyką oraz poznać techniki i strategie pracy wspomagające nauczania treści przedmiotowych poprzez język angielski.
Dzięki doświadczeniu trenerów, uczestnicy poczuli się zainspirowani nowymi pomysłami i zachęceni do wdrażania ich we własnym nauczaniu.
03.03.2021Take part in the webinar "Covid-19 and language education: Making home schooling motivating and fun”
ECML webinar for parents/carers, teachers and others involved in supporting the home learning of children and young people, especially those whose first language is not necessarily the language of schooling
Dr. Déirdre Kirwan
The Covid pandemic continues to dominate our lives and although schools in some countries are open again, there are still many young people who are learning from home, on a full or part-time basis. Linking to the theme of learner autonomy from the previous ECML webinar, Covid-19 and language education: Two challenges, one response, this latest webinar will focus on resources for the home-schooling of children and young people and how these can be successfully adapted to meet the needs of learners whose first language is not the language of schooling.
Déirdre Kirwan, ECML expert within the project Inspiring Language Learning – why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3 to 12 years and co-author of Engaging with Linguistic Diversity: A Study of Educational Inclusion in an Irish Primary School (2019), will present a range of practical ideas, many of them from the ECML’s Treasure Chest of Resources for learners, parents and teachers, which help ensure that home learning:
Please note: the webinar will be held in English only
PLEASE REGISTER HERE