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Developing language awareness in subject classes

In order to succeed, learners need to have a solid command of the language used in class, which is different from the language used in everyday non-academic situations. The project will provide subject teachers with practical procedures to identify the needs of their learners and to support them. Read more

Working languages of the project: English, French
Project term: 2016-2019
Shortcut: www.ecml.at/languageinsubjects


Who will benefit from this project?

The ultimate beneficiary of the project will be learners whose first language is different from the language of schooling because they will be supported by subject teachers who have a much better understanding of the role that language plays in knowledge building.

Subject teachers will be better equipped to respond to linguistic diversity in their classrooms.

Whole-school cooperation will be strengthened as language teachers cooperate with subject teachers, providing them with advice and guidance on how they can support learners struggling with the language of schooling.

Envisaged outputs

The project envisages two main tools for subject teachers:

  • Practical procedures that will help teachers to identify their learners’ language needs in the specific subject. The ECML publication "Language skills for successful subject learning" will serve as an important tool at this stage.
  • Samples of language supportive teaching materials for 12/13-year-old learners in different subjects (e.g. mathematics, history, science) which show how different scaffolding techniques can help address the linguistic needs of learners including examples of the use of the European Language Portfolio as a tool to support the linguistic integration of L2 learners.

Envisaged outcomes

The procedures developed will improve access to quality education for all learners by enabling subject teachers to:

  • develop more inclusive, plurilingual and intercultural approaches in their teaching/learning;
  • to become more aware of the importance of language skills in the building of subject knowledge.

Send us feedback


29 March 2017
Ásdís Hallgríms
I would like ti use this with my students

This is a project of the European Centre for Modern Languages within its "Languages at the heart of learning" programme 2016-2019. 
Go to the programme webpage

It is a follow-up to the project Language skills for successful subject learning CEFR linked descriptors for mathematics and history/civics (Language Descriptors) carried out in the ECML’s 2012-2015 programme.
Click here to go to the publication website.

Video statements from the network meeting

As a subject teacher, what do you think is important when working with second language learners? What will you take away from this workshop?


Click on the image to see the preliminary
results of the online questionnaire!

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