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    Language teaching

Let's talk about your language teaching

Teaching languages in professional contexts requires competences and background knowledge that are quite different from those needed for example to teach very young learners. Within the required background knowledge, specific factors come into play, such as the geographical, economic and political situation. In border regions, the cross-border labour marked presents an important issue for vocational formation: the vocational training must prepare learners for their professional future, including the crossing of national – and often linguistic and cultural – borders. In order to meet this challenge, teachers need to have the appropriate professional background, which includes learning about how to approach the particularities of teaching in a border region and including the transmission of special regional aspects in teaching. They should be familiar with the specific requirements of the cross-border and/or the labour market on the other side of the border. In addition, the attitudes of the teachers are of great importance. 
Objective
Raising awareness of language teaching in border regions.

Let’s think about language teaching

The European Commission postulates for European teachers: “[…] essential competences they require in order to be effective in the classroom is one of the keys to raising levels of pupil attainment” (EU 2013, p.5). In general, teaching competences are to be seen as “complex combinations of knowledge, skills, understanding, values and attitudes, leading to effective action in situation” (EU 2013, p.9). The European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) describes quality teachers as equipped with the ability to integrate knowledge, to handle complexity, and to adapt to the needs of individual learners as well as groups. Thus, teacher competences are built on a concept of teaching as praxis in which theory, practice and the ability to reflect critically on one’s own and others’ practice illuminate each other, rather than on a concept of teaching as the acquisition of technical skills (ETUCE, 2008). 

With his meta-analysis of hundreds of studies related to learning achievement, John Hattie gives a synthesis of evidence of success. He emphasizes the teacher’s key role in learning success: „It is the teachers who are open to experience, learn from errors, seek and learn from feedback from students and who foster effort, clarity and engagement in learning“ (2009, p.35).

In addition to general professional competence, which includes knowledge, ability and reflexivity as the core of professionalism, there are specific features for each field of expertise that needs to be taught. In particular, the competences needed by language teachers vary considerably according to the context in which they are teaching.

In the following section, we propose some thought-provoking ideas and activities for language teaching staff, in order to develop an initial awareness of the specific situation of vocational language training in border regions. 

You can file your activities in the portfolio suggested in this project. In this way, you can record your thoughts and reflections. This enables you to develop more awareness of the issue as well as to find out where you might need further support or information.

Activities

Take away

Critical self-reflection and the willingness to further develop are important for successful teaching and improvement.

The teachers’ role is not limited to traditional teaching, but also to facilitating and supporting the students' learning process.

Reflecting together and discussing one's own language(s) and language learning promotes (multi)language awareness and language learning awareness.

Teachers can learn from students’ feedback.

Everyone is in a lifelong learning process.