If this message is not displayed correctly please click here to view the online version.

NOS Header
Ljouwert, October 2020

Dear reader,

Across Europe, most schools are open again after the summer. This start of the school year, most schools probably still will have measures that make the daily school-life different than usual. Next to interesting news items, we will inform you in this Network of Schools bulletin about two new Regional dossiers that have been published the last months, and you will read more about the VirtuLApp project.

You will receive the next Network of Schools bulletin in December.

Best wishes, on behalf of the Mercator European Research Centre,

Ramziè Krol-Hage

Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning / Fryske Akademy

New Mercator Regional dossiers

In the previous months, two Regional Dossiers have been published.

* The second edition of the Regional Dossier on 'Romani and Beash languages in education in Hungary' is now available for download (free). Kinga Magdolna Mandel PhD, associate professor at the University in Budapest, updated the original dossier that was written in 2005.

* An Italian version of the Regional Dossier about the Italian language in education in Switzerland, 'L'italiano nel sistema educativo svizzero', has also been published. This is the first Regional Dossier published in Italian! The dossier was originally compiled in early 2020 by Prof Dr Vincenzo Todisco and his team of the research department of Didactics of Integrated Multilingualism at the University of Teacher Education of Grisons in Switzerland. Todisco and his research team made this translation in 2020.

The complete collection of Regional Dossiers can be found at www.mercator-research.eu.

New VirtuLApp newsletter!

In the second VirtuLApp newsletter you can read about the launch of the first videos in which experts answer different kind of Frequently Asked Questions from teachers. They also give more information about the VirtuLApp events that are planned for October and November this year.

The Virtual Language App (VirtuLApp) is a 3-year Erasmus+ project aimed at developing an innovative multididactic approach that teachers can use in the classroom in any (multilingual) situation.

Worries about regional language education in France

This June, the collective 'Pour que vivent nos langues', supported by 100 parliamentarians, presented a letter to President Emmanuel Macron in which he is asked to better defend the teaching of regional languages. Defenders of regional languages have been warning about the consequences of the high school reform on their education for months.

As the letter states: 'The educational approach in favor of regional languages as it was launched in the National Education and denominational education since 1951, and in immersion education in the associative sector since the 1970s, cannot be enough on its own to save our languages from disappearance in the medium term.' The signatories deplore a drop in enrolment in bilingual courses following the reorganization of high school education by the Blanquer law.

Read more

The future of language education in Europe: case studies of innovative practices

The report 'The future of language education in Europe: case studies of innovative practices of NESET - Network of Experts working on the Social dimension of Education and Training', initiated by the European Commission, explores emerging innovative approaches and strategies of language teaching in Europe that support learners' plurilingualism, inspire educators and policy makers to innovate and implement forward-looking policies and practices in language education.

To foster the potential of linguistic diversity to support multilingual competences of students and help overcome its possible challenges, innovative policies and practices in language teaching must be implemented in European classrooms, schools, regions and countries - taking into account pedagogical shifts and ongoing societal trends such as migration and the increasing mobility of individuals.

Read more

Learning environments where modern languages flourish

The European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe launched a new resource website that is very interesting for language teachers, subject teachers, teacher educators and headteachers. The website offers tools that are to be used to create and strengthen learning environments where modern languages flourish, intended to meet the needs of all stakeholders.

The tools aim to ensure intercultural dialogue and social cohesion in our societies. The EOL tools and resources can help develop and strengthen quality language education which celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity and is so essential today to ensure intercultural dialogue and social cohesion in our societies.

Read more

From monolingualism to multilingualism: breaking down the wall one essential shift at a time

In this interview, Ivannia Soto (professor of Education at Whittier College, specialized in second language acquisition, systemic reform for English language learners (ELLs), and urban education) and Margo Gottlieb (cofounder and lead developer for WIDA at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison), explain the most important academic, cognitive and cultural benefits of multilingualism, the common barriers to multilingualism in our present-day educational systems, why it is important for educators and other stakeholders to support multilingualism in our schools, and many other interesting things.

Read more

How Uganda is failing to help rural children learn languages

While the government of Uganda introduced a mother tongue education programme aimed to improve literacy levels 12 years ago, teacher training at colleges was not modified to match the programme. Teachers weren't taught the local language as subject at college, making them feel inadequate to teach in this language.

Read more

Sweden referred to European Court of Human Rights over alleged discrimination of Finnish-speaking children

After a school in Västerås, Sweden, prohibited Finnish-speaking children from speaking their native language at in class, on the playground, and during school trips, Sweden has been referred to the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR will rule on whether or not school authorities took sufficient action to prevent language-based discrimination.

Read more

Report calls for more Irish-speaking teachers

According to a report of the committee of language experts appointed by the Council of Europe, there should be more education in Irish and there is a need to train more Irish-speaking teachers. While the number of pupils being taught in Irish is growing, there is a shortage of suitably qualified teachers.

Read more

Stay safe and until next time!