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Practice article

Projects encouraging multilingualism in the classroom

Given the current crisis in Ukraine, diversity in classroom settings and supporting multilingual pedagogies and teaching practices have been brought into the spotlight. How can educators manage a more culturally diverse classroom and ensure all children receive an equal education? In this article, we explore projects across Europe aimed at supporting inclusion in the classroom of children with different home languages.
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Image: Adobe Stock/Lightfield Studios

 

Initiatives supporting the inclusion of refugee children in education

 

The European Commission’s practical manual pools information and resources for EU Member States regarding the inclusion of displaced children from Ukraine in education, with the help of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), representatives of ministries of education, stakeholder organisations, and experts from the Network working on the social dimension of education and training (NESET).

 

In relation to language learning, the manual highlights inspiring projects and practices taking place across Europe such as the Binogi project, an online system developed in Sweden that is designed to support students in gaining access to and learning curriculum content in a way that enables multilingual content-integrated learning. The platform is currently available in eight languages and uses animations to introduce the modules in written and audio form.

 

The Netherlands-based Rutu Foundation for Intercultural Multilingual Education initiated the project Language Friendly School in 2019 and have since spread across eleven schools in the Netherlands, one school in Spain and another in Canada. Participating schools develop a plan to create an inclusive and language-friendly learning environment involving students, teachers and staff. The plan is flexible and realistic, and allows for incremental changes based on the school’s own needs.

 

The Integration mapping of refugee and migrant children (IMMERSE) project collects data from six countries – Spain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy – from children aged 6 to18 with the primary aim of defining a new generation of indicators on the integration and socio-educational inclusion of refugee and migrant children in Europe. The project has already produced multiple publications on its findings including Collection of Good Practices at the National and EU level and Report on psycho-social wellbeing of refugee and migrant children.

 

The Council of Europe’s European Centre for Modern Languages (ECML), supported by the European Commission, has developed a set of tools to support Member States concerning inclusion of children fleeing the war in Ukraine. For example:

 

 

European Language Label projects – Best practices in Europe

 

Estonia’s The Game Club adopted an informal teaching style using interactive games to promote language learning. The Game Learning Centre has language courses for both adults and children. The project also has an online programme, RUS with FUN, which aims to teach Russian in an accessible and easy way. The programme uses pre-recorded videos where students from around the world must guess the words that feature in the video. The Game Club won the European Language Label prize in 2017.

 

St Andrew Secondary School (Bucharest, Romania) was awarded the European Language Label for taking part in the Erasmus+ project ‘Cherishing the Past, Building the Future’, a 22-month project involving six primary schools from Cyprus, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Estonia. The project is founded on an understanding of cultural heritage as a dynamic and participatory field of learning, involving preservation of the past and interaction with it in the present to build a better future. By practising and communicating in different languages, the pupils became more aware of how the different languages constituted a main element of their national cultural heritage.

 

Additional information

  • Evidence:
    N/A
  • Funding source:
    European Commission
  • Intervention level:
    N/A
  • Intervention intensity:
    N/A
  • Participating countries:
    Belgium
    Canada
    Cyprus
    Estonia
    Germany
    Greece
    Ireland
    Italy
    Lithuania
    Netherlands
    Poland
    Romania
    Spain
    Sweden
  • Target audience ISCED:
    Primary education (ISCED 1)
    Lower secondary education (ISCED 2)
    Upper secondary education (ISCED 3)

Tags

Inclusion
Language learning