On 24 March and 25 March 2022, an online international eTwinning seminar on “Teaching Languages” was organised by the Austrian ERASMUS+ Agency, OEAD. The event brought together over 80 teachers in secondary education from 24 countries. The aim of the event was to exchange with other educators from European countries and to make new contacts for transnational cooperation among educational institutions.
Susanna Slivensky, Deputy Executive Director / Head of Programmes of the ECML was invited to give the keynote speech. Ursula Panuschka, the OEAD’s Head of Sector Erasmus+ School Education, introduced her contribution and highlighted the value of cooperation with the ECML. In her presentation entitled, “Teaching languages for democracy – The role of networking, mediation and digital literacy”, Susanna Slivensky highlighted the role of languages and language education in policy and practice in promoting much-needed democratic developments in Europe. She also addressed the implications for language teachers in this context and introduced practical ECML resources for enhancing networking, mediation and digital teaching skills. Participants responded to a Mentimeter poll on their overall objective for language with a wide range of responses, such as “communication”, “collaboration” and “open horizons”, and a number of answers reflecting democratic dimensions of language teaching, claiming that they teach for making “life better”, “citizenship” and “peace”. There was very positive feedback to the presentation in the chat and participants welcomed the links to the ECML resources.
On the second day of the event, Christine Lechner, coordinator of the ECML project “Action Research Communities for language teachers” (www.ecml.at/actionresearch), moderated a workshop with ideas and stimuli for language teachers interested in using action research in their classrooms. The workshop demonstrated how action researchers can begin locally with small steps and move on to developing an interesting methods of classroom practice through European cooperation.
In parallel, Catherine Jeanneau from the University of Limerick, Ireland, and team member of the “e-lang citizen project – Digital citizenship through language education” (www.ecml.at/elangcitizen), delivered a workshop on the topic: “Learners as digital citizens, social actors and language users: Harnessing the possibilities of digital technology in the language classroom”. The workshop highlighted the many opportunities that the language classroom offers for students to develop their digital literacy and to act as digital citizens. The participants appreciated the opportunity to explore digital tools, practices and strategies that are adapted to language learners – particularly welcoming the presentation of tasks that allow learners to become language users and to reflect on the required competences.