The educational landscape of Europe continues to change. An increasing number of teachers and educators find themselves in multilingual classrooms where the language of schooling, or a version of it, is but one means of communication used by their pupils. How can all participants in the learning process negotiate and create educational capital from this ongoing situation? This is one of the main questions of the project “Inspiring language learning in the early years – why it matters and what it looks like for children age 3 to 12“.
This project, established by the European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML) of the Council of Europe, aims to enable professionals to utilize the full range of their own linguistic repertoires while facilitating the use and development of those of their pupils. This can be done while they continue to use existing pedagogies, approaches and tools in their particular contexts. Innovative practice that will be accessible to teachers and educators for use and/or adaptation in their own settings will also be explored. The project affirms the significance of pupils’ linguistic repertoires as the conduit through which they experience the world. At the core of learners’ existing knowledge, these language skills are a crucial resource in the learning process, as a basis for acquiring new languages – including the language of schooling, developing plurilingual skills and assisting learning in general. In this way, opportunities inherent in linguistically diverse classrooms can be harnessed and used for the benefit of all pupils.
Details and developments can be found on the project’s user-friendly website at www.ecml.at/inspiringearlylearning. Those involved in early-years education, at whatever level, can find evidence here of good practice and a variety of teaching and learning tools to develop learners’ language competence.
A workshop will be held at the ECML in Graz on 12th and 13th September 2018. Those interested in participating in the project workshop can apply for nomination through the ECML Nominating Authority in their country.