Ownership and Leadership (OWL+)
Pathways for (Endangered) Languages’ Use in School
The objective of OWL+ is to innovate in curriculum building for and about endangered languages by contextualising them within the big picture of language diversity in Europe and by providing stakeholders with practical tools to help them foster the transmission of the language. The project will develop tools and resources to innovate school curricula and offer materials that enable teachers and educators to accommodate endangered languages in their classrooms and other learning settings. Teachers and educators will also be equipped with skills to take ownership of their cultural heritage. As endangered languages are viewed as a vital social factor for their communities, the project targets next to school staff also community leaders, which are an integral part of endangered languages’ support structure.
Research theme: Multilingualism and Language learning
Duration: 01/02/2022 -
Coordinating partner: Mercator European Research Centre / Fryske Akademy
Mercator Staff: Katharina Thomas, Cor van der Meer
Funding: Erasmus+ Programme - KA2 Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices
Collaboration with: Interdisciplinary Centre for Social and Language Documentation (CIDLeS) (PT), Nord University (NO), Rēzekne Academy of Technologies (LV), and Tallinn University (EE)
The project’s aims are:
- Support teachers and community members in leading the creation and enhancement of curricula making use of local resources and digital methods.
- Empower speakers and learners of threatened languages to create new domains of use through education and social entrepreneurship.
- Develop and make available a set of digital didactic materials, free of charge for communities across Europe and the wider public, regardless of the nature of their interest in language.
- Raise awareness about European linguistic diversity in an optimistic tone, fostering a positive attitude towards multilingualism in mainstream education.
Our project’s audience is primarily schools (teachers, trainees, school staff) from areas where a threatened language is spoken, as well as the community leaders (associations, councils, cultural initiative leaders) that are investing themselves in maintaining the use of the language. Our commitment is to provide them with tools to become more independent in their endeavours and to empower them to take ownership of their cultural heritage.
OWL+ tools will aid educators to innovate school curricula and offer materials that enable them to accommodate endangered languages in their classrooms and other learning settings. The tools will contextualise endangered languages within the greater picture of language diversity in Europe and their development will be supported by different language communities to ensure transferability to different language contexts. The tools and resources will equip educators with skills to take ownership and leadership of their cultural heritage. These skills help to identify and explore opportunities that support and strengthen their language community. Endangered languages are a vital social factor for their communities, therefore the project targets next to educators and school staff, also community leaders (such as councils, local initiatives) which are an integral part of endangered languages’ support structure.
Our first project result will be an e-learning platform that will run on desktops, tablet computers and mobile phones. It will host a learning module (project result 2) and a handbook (project result 3). The module focuses on educators’ professionalisation and to raise their awareness of under-resourced languages in the context of multilingual Europe. The units of the module will present educators with interesting facts and expand their knowledge by showcasing different ways of integrating under-resourced language through examples from different language communities.
The documentation-based handbook (project result 3) can be used as a guide, reference tool or compendium for under-resourced languages, and aims to encourage creativity and innovation in the teaching of under-resourced languages in any given language context. It is therefore not focused on particular language groups. It will also comprise information on external resources that can be used to integrate under-resourced languages into teaching activities.
Mercator sent a press anouncement (FRL/NED) on 26th January , 2022: