Context

This project proposal responds to ECML's third medium-term programme (2008-2011) entitled EMPOWERING LANGUAGE PROFESSIONALS: Competences - Networks - Impact - Quality. Following the Common European Framework of Reference, one of the aims of the materials that will be produced throughout this project will be to develop a linguistic repertory, in which all linguistic abilities have a place. Furthermore, the materials will present an intercultural approach promoting "the favourable development of the learner's whole personality and sense of identity in response to the enriching experience of otherness in language and culture" (CEFR, p.1). In this connection, empirical research shows that more positive and accepting views of other cultures are more likely to be held when learners experience other languages (Rubenfeld,Clément, Lussier, Lebrun and Auger 2006).
ConBaT+ represents a natural progression from EVLANG and JaLing materials development for learners, to LEA which focused on concept development of the teacher's individual plurilingual and pluricultural identity and diversity, to emerging pan-European teaching/learning approaches such as content-based teaching (Eurydice 2006).
This project also takes into account views articulated by Wolff (2002) :

    "It is absolutely necessary to reform language teaching… what is new is the way in which different language learning approaches which have developed in isolation, are brought together in order to promote more efficient language teaching and multilingualism" (p.184)

Furthermore, as pointed out by Candelier (ALA 2006), a plurilingual approach is not content-dependent; any subject may introduce a plurilingual aspect to the content. Equally,"CLIL is methodologically neutral" and can incorporate any learning/teaching approach (Little 2003, p.39). Consequently the integration of a plurilingual approach into content-based learning is both sensible and innovative.
ConBaT+ intends to invite teachers and decision-makers to contribute to the reform of language learning and teaching as classrooms are changing rapidly and becoming diverse. The presence of decision-makers, teacher trainers, teacher associations at the final workshop as well as practitioners during the development phases is strategic and will ensure sustainability.
ConBaT+ proposes a means to manage diversity through a plurilingual and pluricultural approach that can help to relieve the increasing pressure on teachers to accommodate diversity. Pressure associated with over-crowded curricula can also be alleviated through content-based instruction designed to be cross-curricular i.e. a content-based and plurilingual activity can be linked to several subjects of the curriculum.
 

To summarise, ConBaT+ :

  • evolves from the experience of previous projects, 
  • impacts on reform processes in language teaching by integrating pluriligualism, pluriculturalism into content-based learning,
  • brings tangible added value to content-based learning,
  • contributes to change processes in national contexts by empowering professionals of languages to manage ethnic and cultural heterogeneity as well as over-crowded curricula.
 
References:
Candelier, M., Andrade I., Bernaus M., Kervran M., Martins F., Murkowska A., Noguerol A., Oomen-Welke I., Perregaux C., Suadan V., Zielinska J. (2004). Janua Linguarum - The Gateway to Languages. The introduction of Language Awareness into the Curriculum: Awakening to Languages, Strasbourg: CoE
 
Candelier M. (July 2006). Key note address at the ALA conference in Université du Maine, Le Mans, France
 
CLIL/EMILE - The European dimension; actions, Trends and Foresight Potential . (2002).
 
Council of Europe. (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: learning, teaching, assessment, Cambridge: CUP.
 
Eurydice work on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) at school in Europe. (2006).
 
Little D. (2003). Languages in the post-primary curriculum: a discussion paper, Dublin: NCCA.
 
Rubenfeld S., Clément R., Lussier D.,Lebrun M., Auger R. (2006). "Second language learning and cultural representations: beyond competence and identity". Language Learning 56:4, December 2006, pp.609-632.
 
Wolff D. (1998). Languages across the curriculum: a way to promote multilingualism in Europe, in The European dimension: CLIL/EMILE - The European dimension; actions, Trends and Foresight Potential (2002), p.184.
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