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The METLA Project: Overcoming challenges… and hopes for the future

"Mediation in teaching, learning and assessment" (2020-2022)

Author: Catherine Seewald/01 December 2021/Categories: Show on front page, Programme of activities, ECML programme 2020-2023, Mediation in teaching, learning and assessment

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If we were to say a few words about the biggest challenge of this project which started in 2020, the year of Covid-19 and of restrictions, we would mention the unexpected distance between team members. As a matter of fact, throughout the entire duration of this project, the team has not physically met once. In spite of it all, we were determined to pursue this project, managed remotely to build strong relationships between us team members and adapted well to this new reality. 2020 was the year of the Teaching Guide which provides suggestions, ideas and tips on how cross-linguistic mediation can be taught. The METLA Teaching Guide is the result of a comprehensive process of drafting, evaluation, piloting and consultation.

2021 was mainly the year of the development of the Databank with mediation tasks combining a range of languages (e.g. Croatian, Danish, English, Estonian, Finnish French, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Maltese, Polish, Spanish, Swedish, among others). Also, during its second year, the METLA project was presented at numerous online conferences, symposia and seminars organised by different organisations and professional associations (EDiLiC, Associação Portuguesa de Professores de Francês, Lithuanian Association of English Language Teachers, Education and Teacher Training Agencyin Croatia), as well as universities (the University of Education, Heidelberg in Germany, the University of the Western Cape in South Africa, the Centre of Excellence for Multilingualism and Language Policy at the University of Athens in Greece, and Tampere University and University of Jyväskylä both in Finland among others). 2021 was also the year of our workshop, the first online workshop organised by the ECML! Participants were familiarised with the aims and objectives of the project, were presented with its key notions, were given examples of mediation tasks in different languages, and designed their own cross-linguistic mediation tasks which were then further expanded by the METLA team. We would like to thank all those who participated in our workshop and shared their reactions on our outputs with us. Finally, we are indebted for their cooperation and dedication to the many teachers, teacher educators and translators who piloted, evaluated and provided us with multiple versions of our educational material.

We started with a challenge and want to finish with our hopes! Let’s hope that our materials will be useful in inspiring teachers to integrate mediation in their teaching practices. That the METLA outputs will foster the integration and dissemination of cross-linguistic mediation on a broader European level, by providing teachers with an array of examples which should not be seen as models, but as an inspiration for the creation of their own contextualised tasks based on their respective teaching contexts, pedagogical goals and students.

We feel honoured and privileged for the opportunity to contribute to (a more) pluricultural and plurilingual education through the METLA project.

The METLA team
Maria Stathopoulou, Magdalini Liontou, Phyllisienne Vassallo Gauci and Silvia Melo-Pfeifer


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