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Expert meeting, 19-20 September 2013


The Maledive team got together for the third expert meeting. This time we had two visitors: PhD student Gail Prasad from the University of Toronto attended the second day of the meeting and our associate partner Prof. Patricia Lamarre from the University of Montreal met us via Skype. We are happy for our Canadian expert partners in cooperation.
We continued to work on the study modules and materials for teacher education. We had good discussions concerning pedagogical approach adopted in our materials and ended up preferring inductive approach from practice to theory rather than theory-led approach.  Two drafts of materials have already been uploaded on our website under heading Teacher development and there is more to come in the near future. Have a look and if possible, try them out and send your comments to us via our new email address: maledive.ecml (at) gmail.com.
We are looking forward to the Network meeting in January, 30-31, 2014. An effective group of experts will assemble for discussing plurilingualism in majority language teaching and teacher education and for developing materials. Many of the participants from our February 2013 workshop have shown interest in attending, and we have invited also other experts from our networks. In the beginning of next year we shall have a fellow working with us for three months. The selection process of the fellow is currently underway. A good fellow is a valuable support for the project work.

Presentation of MALEDIVE, Paris, France
Promoting plurilingualism in majority language teacher education

Date: June 11-13, 2013
Event: 9th IAIMTE International Conference: “Literacies and effective learning and teaching for all IAIMTE = International Association for the Improvement of Mother Tongue Education
Conference Venue
: UPEC: Université Paris-Est Créteil / France, Institut Universitaire de Formation des Maîtres
Participants: Teachers, teacher educators and researchers of mother tongue (200-300 participants)
For further information visit
the following websites:

ECML expert: Eija Aalto, coordinator of MALEDIVE

IAIMTE is an international association of mother tongue (read: majority language) educators, so the audience of the conference was crucially important to us. Our aim was to inform majority language experts on our project and more generally on ECML and welcome them to our networks. It seemed to us that within majority language teaching/research plurilingual approaches still seem to be few and far between. They are not considered as meaningful or part of the core areas of majority language teaching. Participants in the paper session called Literacy and multilingual situations very much agreed on the problematic, isolated role of majority language in relation to other languages (L1s and foreign languages) in school and saw a need for change.

The work of the ECML raised a lot of interest among listeners in our paper session. All in all, the conference very much met the expectations we had set to it. In addition to contacts made and interesting presentations heard, preparing and giving a presentation and relating the project to wider research and developmental approaches is always useful and helps in advancing the project and better meet the needs and interests of people in the field.

Regional Maledive workshop in montpellier, france, 4-5 April 2013

The workshop in Montpellier, which was organized by Nathalie Auger in cooperation with the “ADEB” (Association pour l´ enseignement bilingue en France), was a great success. There were about 20 participants coming from different schools or universities in the South of France, among them as “special guests” Daniel Coste and Martine Kervran. Although most of the participants  had a foreign language or French as a second language and not a majority language background, we had a lot of very interesting discussions. This was not only due to the expertise of our “special guests”; most of the participants seemed to be very familiar within the thematic areas “plurilingualism”, “language awareness” etc., too. Apart from Nathalie Auger the MALEDIVE team was represented by Katja Schnitzer.
At the first day we discussed issues linked with the French situation. Nevertheless there could be identified various links to the situation f.i. in Germany and Switzerland (and supposably as well in other countries as Austria, Italy, Finland, etc.). This underlines the need of European initiatives, such as our project MALEDIVE offers.
At the second day we had the chance to present the MALEDIVE project and the idea about developing study modules for teacher education / teacher in service training by introducing the draft version of the first module. First of all, we had a very positive feedback from the participants  concerning the project and got some real good comments for the further development of the modules. This was encouraging because it shows that our modules cannot only reach majority language, but also teachers with a second or foreign language background. Furthermore, we were really happy that some of the colleagues are interested in piloting one of our modules.
The workshop atmosphere was very positive; in the end everybody had the wish to repeat it every maybe 2 years (this is due to Nathalie, who did a real good job, thanks again for everything!). This could be a very good possibility to disseminate the final results of our MALEDIVE project.



workshop in Graz, 14-15 February 2013


We were altogether 32 participants from 21 countries in the workshop. Thank you for each and everyone for coming!
During the two days participants were first invited to share and compare objectives of their home region’s curricula and to discuss elements promoting plurilingualism. The current state of development in the Maledive project was discussed more in detail after the draft list of study modules was introduced and the first module on managing diversity in the majority language (ML) classroom presented. The participants were invited to comment on and develop further the work done by the team. We had good discussion on the key challenges in promoting plurilingualism in the majority language teaching: how to really make the change in the mindset from monolingual to plurilingual? And even before that, how to convince teachers of the need for the change?
The new content website was launched in the end of the first day. The work of progress will be published there and we wish our networks welcome to contribute to our work by sharing their experiences and materials and commenting and trying out the materials developed by the team. 
Some time was spent also to other related ECML projects, as the representatives of PlurCur, Carap/Frepa and Clil were asked to give short presentations on their projects and link them to the Maledive.
Finally, a session on future collaboration and network opportunities completed the two‐day workshop.

The whole process of planning and carrying out the workshop was extremely useful and helped us in further structuring of the project. We came up with new ideas and working methods, and we learnt that our focus in material making has probably been somewhat too general. In the future we try to get more directly to the core of ML teaching and the needs of teachers. This will be done by increasing the number of local activities, setting up research projects and using the website in a more target-oriented way  in teacher education.

Project developments in 2012

What a year was this

During the first year of the project we had two Expert meetings (in March and August) and a lot of meetings via Skype. We have to admit that it has been challenging to match the timetables and keep the deadlines as we are all involved in various projects and tasks. Therefore, regular collaboration via Skype meetings has proven more difficult than we expected. However, we managed to set the project in context in terms of other ECML projects and team members' other projects and activities. We also started our concrete work with the study modules for pre- and in-service teacher education. A  tentative list of topics for our study modules looks like that:

  • Managing language diversity in the classroom
  • Building on learners’ linguistic experience and skills
  • Reflecting and adapting one’s teaching methods
  • Promoting autonomous learning and supporting students’ agency
  • Collaboration with other teachers (language teachers + teachers of other subjects)

We don't want to hide our work but instead, we are planning to publish even draft versions of the study modules for teacher education. You will soon find them on this website and we kindly ask you to contribute to our work by sharing your experiences, ideas and possibly materials. And we warmly welcome your comments - even and especially the critical ones!

Now we are looking forward to our workshop in February. About 30 participants from almost 20 countries! We have hight expectations on what the WS brings along.

Expert meeting, 27-28 August 2012

The key words describing our Expert meeting in Graz are scenario and interaction. Why them? First of all, we continued working on and concretizing our scenario for majority language teaching and the structure and outline of our future website. In our material work for teacher education we intend to be practice-driven (from practice to theory rather than vice versa) and build on the work done in the former Marille project, especially the teacher’s knowledge and skills described in the publication of Marille (see http://marille.ecml.at/).

The key question in developing the scenario and modules for teacher education is, how majority language curriculum could be enriched through plurilingual approach and how to make a change first in teachers’ beliefs and thereafter in their practices. In this work we have very much benefited of the work done by Beacco, Byram, Cavalli, Coste, Cuenat, Goullier and Panthier  in their Guide for the development and implementation of curricula for plurilingual and intercultural education (Language Policy Division, CoE 2010), at http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/Source/Source2010_ForumGeneva/GuideEPI2010_EN.pdf.

Interaction describes our meeting for two reasons: Firstly, our interaction within the team was very intensive and productive. But that certainly is not enough for a target-oriented project, and therefore we strive for keen interaction with our networks and teacher educators working with these issues in their own countries. We try to make our website interactive and invite colleagues in various countries to come and comment on our work in progress and share their ideas and practices with us and the Maledive network.

So, do keep in touch and we hope that, as soon as our new website will be published, you will find it interesting and useful and keep visiting it and contributing in developing the materials.

Regional workshop in Helsinki, 8 June 2012
Language teachers promoting a common cause:
working on a shared vision for language subjects in schooL

Teachers of foreign languages (FL), majority language (ML) and Finnish as a second language (SL) were invited to a workshop arranged by Terry Lamb and Eija Aalto in Helsinki. They were invited to assemble and work on the issues that all language subjects have in common in school and how to promote cooperation across language subjects and enhance learners’ individual and multilayered language repertoires and support the development of a holistic linguistic identity.

School teachers' summer holiday had just begun but we were happy and lucky to get 35 enthusiastic language teachers from different parts of Finland to participate. They worked mainly in mixed groups with various activities, in which they considered the benefits of collaboration between language subjects, compared the aims and objectives of ML, SL and FL curricula and developed concrete materials and classroom activities to support and enhance plurilingualism. 
The workshop was intensive and fun. Nice atmosphere and rewarding discussions convinced us of the usefulness of regional activities. We will certainly arrange more of them in various countries. Looking forward to the future workshops - stay online :) 

first expert meeting, 5-7 march 2012

 We would like to proudly announce that the acronym of our new project is MALEDIVE, which refers to the DIVErsity in MAjority Language Education and aims to encourage everyone to DIVE into languages, might it be majority, second or foreign language. We definitely hope that the connotation attached to the name and having to do with sunny islands adds to the positive image of the project :)

We are a team of female power: Andrea Abel from Italy, Dagmar Gilly from Austria, Katja Schnitzer from Switzerland/Germany, Nathalie Auger from France and Eija Aalto from Finland. We met f2f for the first time in the beginning of March, 2012 (unfortunately, Nathalie could join us only via Skype and she is therefore not present in our joint picture above). We got off to a good start and developed right away an enthusiastic and cooperative atmosphere and had really hard-working three days in Graz. 

During our meeting we agreed on the timeline and the focuses of the full project and details of the annual plan. We are in the very beginning of the project and therefore many ideas are only gradually taking their shape. We hope to bring majority, foreign and second language teachers together and develop a scenario from teacher education to implementing in the classroom.

In our meeting we also worked on the project website and planned the structure of it. We are currently pooling the existing materials and resources we can build on and collecting our networks. As soon as possible we will invite our contacts from various countries to come and contribute to our website: commenting our plans and work in progress, discussing issues in the wind... We are planning to arrange many regional activities, and the first workshops for majority language (ML), foreign language (FL) and second language (SL) teachers will be arranged in Finland and Switzerland by the end of the summer, 2012. Keep coming to our website to learn more of our plans!


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