The workshop for the project "Developing language awareness in subject classes" took place at Graz on 16-17 November 2017. The workshop was one of the key events in the life of the whole project and the expectations for its outcomes were high both among the project team as well as the participants.
38 experts from 34 different countries participated in the event; two of them came from as far as Canada. The group participants had mixed background; as one of the aims of the workshop was to encourage cooperation between teachers and other experts, it included subject teachers, language teachers, and teacher trainers.
As a pre-task, the participants were asked to plan a subject lesson for a class of 12/13 old students including students from migrant backgrounds. The pre-task allowed for the participants to start focusing and reflecting on the main theme of the workshop: how to scaffold students with weak skills in the language of schooling.
During the workshop, the participants were given two group work tasks. First, they were asked to plan a subject lesson with clearly defined content and language goals. Second, they were asked to give concrete examples of how to scaffold the students with weak language skills and to state what language objectives can be set for students with different proficiency levels (e.g. at the CEFR level A2 vs. B1).
The workshop was limited to focusing on a relatively small range of methods due to time constraints and did not cover all possibilities for supporting the language of schooling.
Each group worked with extreme dedication and had vivid discussions on how to approach the tasks. The workshop allowed for the participants to network and to get new ideas on how to raise awareness of the role that language has in all knowledge building. The next step will be the network meeting in October 2018, where the results e.g. of the first lesson plan pilots will be discussed and worked on further.
The project team:
Marita Härmälä (coordinatrice du projet), Artashes Barkhanajyan, Jérôme Béliard, Eli Moe