Think tank: Whole-school approaches to the language/s of schooling
The online questionnaire produced a total of 107 complete responses from 33 different countries, including 7 non-ECML member states. Nearly 20% of the respondents were teacher trainers, closely followed by academic researchers (18%). Most encouraging was to see that in addition to these two key ECML target groups, responses were received from parents, language teachers, teachers of non-linguistic subjects as well as head teachers. This is an endorsement of the ECML’s decision to focus this think tank not only on the language/s of schooling but specifically on whole-school approaches. Moreover, teacher respondents came from all sectors from pre-primary to upper secondary.
The moderation team and participants were selected.
Moderation team: Marisa Cavalli, ECML Consultant; Eli Moe, Norway and Gunther Abuja, Austria.
Participants: 17 in total: language experts from sixteen different European countries, three of whom were present in their capacity as representatives of International non-governmental organisations (ALTE – Association of Language Testers of Europe; FIPLV - Fédération Internationale des Professeurs de Langues Vivantes, EPA – European Parents Association), as well as a representative from the European Commission.
Think tank meeting 13/14th September 2016
The moderation team planned and coordinated the 2-day think tank meeting which took place at the ECML in Graz on 13/14th September 2016 and focused on the following four interrelated aspects of the language/s of schooling:
- The rationale for whole-school approaches (key arguments/why and for whom)
- Whole-school language policies and strategies (what and how at institutional level)
- Learning and teaching methodologies
- The practical aspects of/barriers to cooperation and how these could be overcome'
Participants were presented with key findings from the online questionnaire as well as an overview of existing Council of Europe resources.
You can download the Powerpoints from the think tank meeting here:
The meeting resulted in a list of recommendations for the ECML secretariat, which were combined into a concrete work-plan, subsequently adopted by the ECML Governing Board at its meeting on 12/13th October 2016.
Questionnaire key findings
ECML introductory presentation
ECML activities languages of schooling
Council of Europe resources
The recommendations of the think tank will now be taken forward as follows:
- The creation of a new thematic area on the ECML’s website dedicated to the language/s of schooling to help practitioners find relevant material easily (October –December 2016)
- A new two-year project (to begin in 2017) entitled “Whole-school approaches to the languages of schooling” to develop a web-based “roadmap” for schools which would include some of the following:
- a diagnostic tool which helps schools understand why the topic matters (awareness-raising videos and questions) and what their own needs are;
- guidelines for different target groups: parents, head teachers, language teachers, subject teachers etc. including the suggestion of a school portfolio to allow for progress to be recorded and goals set;
- examples of classroom interventions and of collaboration between teachers of different subjects: support for assessment and quality assurance – all based on the principle of self-assessment;
- a section on possible assessment practices used in this context to highlight challenges and examples of good practice;
- examples of challenges and solutions;
- links to relevant resources (ECML, LPU and other) with examples of how these can be used in practice.
- The development of a new module on whole-school cooperation in the language/s of schooling to expand the existing modules on offer within the joint ECML-EU training and consultancy initiative, “Supporting multilingual classrooms” which would be made available from 2019 onwards.
The ECML is delighted to announce that several think tank members have already put themselves forward as potential project team members. The exact make-up of the new project team will be announced early in 2017. We hope the team members will be able to continue to draw on the expertise and commitment of all those who took part in the online questionnaire and/or the think tank itself, through the creation of an online community of practice.