Main idea and objectives
The role of language and communication in education
Developing the language and communication competences of students of all ages is essential for democratic participation in diverse modern societies, and therefore a crucial aim of all teaching and learning. Meeting this aim is a key collective responsibility of all teachers in an educational institution: subject teachers, teachers of the language of schooling, teachers of foreign languages and of the students’ home languages.
What does language-sensitive teaching and learning involve?
Teachers must ensure that the way in which they themselves use language helps each individual student to use language(s) more and more effectively in their learning and, over time, become fully aware of how languages are used for different purposes in the wider world.
This means that teachers need to develop language-related competences so that they, in turn, can:
- be sensitive to their students’ language needs
- understand and explore with their students the language demands of their subject
- help develop their students’ language awareness and language skills
- support their students as they gradually learn to use a wider range of the language of schooling and other languages in their learning and in their lives as citizens of democratic societies
- to enable their students to understand how different languages relate to each other and to the language of schooling and can help them in their learning.
What are the implications for initial teacher education and for the further training of practising teachers?
Teacher education curricula and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes must address the broad range of language-related competences required by all teachers to teach their subject effectively. The training and professional development experiences must also include practical opportunities to apply language-sensitive principles in teaching or teaching practice.
How will the project help teacher educators and those supporting practising teachers of all subjects?
The project is developing various sets of building blocks that will help curriculum designers, teacher educators as well as those providing professional learning opportunities for practising teachers, to address more systematically the competences needed for language sensitive teaching in the courses they design and run for (future) teachers of subjects across the curriculum.