Context

Background of the project is the inadequacy and need for change of conventionally monolingual school systems for plurilingual students and multilingual societies. Pluri-/multilingualism, often seen as a problem, should be regarded as a resource benefiting language teaching. We ultimately want to reach individual teachers who have to extend their expertise beyond their initial training to become "agents of change" for improving language education. We are looking at the subject alternately referred to as "national" or "official" language, "language of instruction" or "language of education" in the CoE's "Guide for the Development of Language Education Policies in Europe" (2007), but recently termed "language(s) of school education" by the CoE's Language Policy Division (LPD). Our working term is majority language (ML), which we will most likely revise during the project. Particularly ML-teachers have been trained for monolingual teaching and are challenged by the linguistic diversity. School systems have found different ways in different domains (school organisation, curriculum development, teacher training...) to support them. In the project we will share the knowledge, ideas and initiatives developed, improving information flow internationally and also regionally/nationally. Our project matches strand D as it deals with "integrated language didactics" and "benefiting from diversity", but it also relates to strand B since the focus is on secondary schools - a level at which support for minority languages and special provision for L2 students is often discontinued. Work in the project will build on the activities in the field of "languages of school education" of the LPD, elaborating and operationalising concepts and ideas developed in this working area, the "Guide" and the corresponding "Reference Studies", focussing on a clearly defined application context and will cooperate closely with the LPD experts. Additionally, we will integrate and adapt results from ECML projects in the 1st and 2nd MTP, like JaLing (mainly focused on primary school), Tertiary Language Learning (mainly looking at foreign language classrooms), LEA (geared towards teacher education) and VALEUR (documenting European plurilingualism with special regard to community languages). Our project will have the advantage of having a strong link to the actual practice in the respective countries as opposed to surveys that use official channels. We will concentrate on majority language teaching in secondary schools, not attempting a full documentation or a training kit. We will identify teaching strategies and the support for teachers by other agents in the education system and develop a set of illustrative classroom case studies.

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