Why think tanks?
The aim of the new ECML think tanks is to create a network of expertise from across ECML member states and beyond which can advise the ECML secretariat on how to address the following key priorities in language education:
- Whole-school approaches to the language/s of schooling ( September 2016)
- Early language learning (December 2016)
- Pathways for learning/autonomous learning (2017, date to be confirmed)
How do they work?
The first step in the think tank process is the development of an online questionnaire for each theme which is then disseminated as widely as possible so that a picture of the current state-of-play emerges, revealing both success stories as well as challenges. The second stage involves a first analysis of the questionnaire results and the selection of between fifteen and twenty of the respondents to form the think tank group itself. A date is then set for the group to meet in Graz; the group is tasked with providing concrete recommendations to the ECML secretariat on how the Centre might best use its resources and structure to address the topic within the remainder of the 5th medium-term programme, 2016-19.
What are the benefits?
As well as offering an innovative and flexible way in which to respond to these areas of need, think tanks also allow the ECML to involve more stakeholders in the discussions. No fixed outputs are pre-determined: these might take the form of a new project or a series of events or something completely different.
Think tank report
Professor David Little, Fellow Emeritus, Trinity College, Dublin, has kindly produced a report in relation to the first two think tank topics which can be downloaded here.
Where are we now and where do we go from here?
Whole-school approaches to the Languages of schooling
- A new thematic area has been created on the ECML’s website, dedicated to the language/s of schooling. This will be updated on a regular basis.
- A project team is now in place to take forward the new two-year project. The team members are:
Rebecca Dahm (France), coordinator
Selin Öndül, Switzerland
Nermina Wikström, Sweden
Katri Kuukka, Finland
- There will also be associate partners – details to follow.
- The ECML intends to develop 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”. This should be available from 2019 onwards.
Early language learning
A new two-year project has been agreed and the team selected.
The team members are:
Flore Schank, (Luxembourg), Coordinator
Déirdre Kirwan, Ireland
Dana Musilova, Czech Republic
Jakob Patekar, Croatia
Ingeborg Birnie, United Kingdom
The draft objectives and expected outputs of the new project are:
- to develop a professional learning community based on ECML resources adapted for the primary sector with a focus on pre- and in-service training and development for teachers
- to provide continuity in terms of teacher development from pre-primary through primary and into secondary
- To enable a whole-school approach
A web-based platform with:
- Tools for pre- and in-service teacher training (pre-primary/primary) covering areas such as:
- developing a reflective approach to teaching
- working with multilingual classrooms
- teachers discovering their own plurilingualism/considering their attitudes towards the plurilingual resources of their students (emergent plurilinguals)
- developing literacy skills across languages
- observing and documenting progress in the children’s learning
- reconsidering ways of assessing children
- examples of living multilingual classrooms, including videos of teacher training and classroom situations with guidelines