Keywords

resourceful multilingual and multicultural learning environments; integration of language & content studies; linguistic landscapes; multilingualism in the workplace; translanguaging

Description

The Multilingualism in School and Higher Education Lab aims to develop a research based understanding of the societal challenges and potential solutions in connection with increasing multilingualism, which can be seen to characterize contemporary societies in Europe, both through shifting demographics and increasingly common use of deterritorialized online media.

Mainstream educational practices often conceal and devalue the heterogeneity of language practices, competencies and resources which are a commonplace in multilingual Europe today. This Lab adopts a resource-based view of language resources and everyday multilingual practices, with a central focus on pedagogical practices and recommendations for primary, secondary and tertiary education (including vocational education).  The resource-based view of language repertoires and multilingual practices refers to the inherent need for all individuals and communities in current societies, in Europe and beyond, to be aware of and develop a flexible set of individual and societal language resources. Multilingualism thus entails a variety of language resources – communication skills, proficiency in additional languages and versatile multiliteracy skills needed to participate in current and future society.

Language resources are often referred to as multiliteracies that involve and support working with different types of (digital) texts, media and interaction, in different situations and using different languages at the same time. Furthermore, digital services and (social) media environments create new opportunities for multimodal, multilingual encounters in different domains of life. In order to navigate and critically engage in these environments, multilingual digital multiliteracy skills are necessary.

Research areas

Initiators of this Lab propose to plan and pilot research on the following topics. Later, these topics can be expanded and modified, depending on the research interests and profiles of further Lab members and collaboration partners.

  1. Innovative language practices in education with a special regard to multilingual pedagogies and pedagogies enhancing the development of digital literacy skills
  2. Multilingual and multicultural encounters in education, with a special regard to changing political dynamics (e.g. neo-nationalism, national populism, effects of migration in education policies, etc.)
  3. Higher Education Institutions and internationalization, with a focus on current practices and opportunities for renewal, e.g. creating genuinely international and multilingual learning and working environments for students and staff
  4. Semiotics of multilingualism, with a focus on the relationship between organizational culture and material culture (e.g. what languages are represented visually, what languages are invisible and/or inaudible in the linguistic landscape, etc.)

Development of new resources (e.g. corpora or databases) for studying language-in-use in educational settings

Lab contact information

Alliance level Contact Persons

  • Senior Researcher, Adjunct Professor Tamás Péter Szabó, University of Jyväskylä, tamas.p.szabo@jyu.fi
  • Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Adjunct Professor Petteri Laihonen, University of Jyväskylä, petteri.laihonen@jyu.fi

University level Contact Persons

Associated partners contributing to the Lab

Planned outputs of the Lab and current work in progress

X as a medium of instruction / Implementation of EMI programs, Output Manager: Sergio Maruenda (University of València)

This output consists of several goals. In the short term the output involves a webinar to share experiences on XMI at a local level and set some of the long-term goals. The webinar included the outline and discussion of a proposal for an XMI course within the FORTHEM Alliance, whose modules will be designed locally by the different partners. The ultimate goal is to hold the course in one or more of the partner universities and provide a digital version for the FORTHEM Digital Academy.

Multimodality of academic genres in multilingual education, Output Manager: Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska (University of Opole)

This output is a collaborative writing project in which researchers, academic teachers and students from the University of Opole, the University of Latvia, the University of Jyväskylä and the University of València to promote multimodality in multilingual education. The task is to report and reflect on case studies, reviews of literature, and current projects in an aim to evaluate which academic genres could be enhanced with multimodality and how this can be done productively and cost-effectively. The resulting manual will provide anyone interested in multimodality with both introductory and latest knowledge of how to make the experiences in multilingual education more fulfilling and communications (including virtual exchanges) more effective through multimodality.The publicized manual will subsequently be promoted through webinars and presentations as well as included in workshops for staff and students. It will have an impact in fostering multiliteracies in academia and beyond. 

A citizen science project on multilingualism in education, Output Managers: Petteri Laihonen (University of Jyväskylä) and Marcin Deutschmann (University of Opole)

This output plans a citizen science project together with all stakeholders and outreach partners and pilot it in one or more partner sites, first in Jyväskylä and then in Opole.

Read more: https://www.jyu.fi/en/current/archive/2020/10/from-theory-to-action-2015-the-citizen-science-pilot-kicks-off

Schoolscape course about multilingual learning environments, Output Managers: Tamás Péter Szabó (University of Jyväskylä), Jannis Androutsopoulos (associated partner, University of Hamburg) and Tuuli From (associated partner, University of Helsinki)

The course helps students to build strategies for the conscious design and development of physical learning environments (that is, schoolscapes). It raises awareness to the role schoolscapes play in institutional interaction of various kinds (classroom interaction, organizational cultures of communication, and narrated local/national/global history), and invites students to build a spatial and social understanding of learning. The course will be available via FORTHEM Digital Academy.

Multilingualism in schools: methods and strategies for teaching languages, Output Manager: Luisa Amenta (University of Palermo)

This spring school to be offered in 2021 seeks to find ways for teachers to better include multilingual students and pupils by creating an international program for the FORTHEM Alliance, promoting and sharing experiences and good practises, identifying challenges and needs of teachers teaching multilingual groups, and through other means.

Chatbots and multilingual interaction, Output Manager: Laurent Gautier (University of Burgundy)

This output aims at promoting plurilingualism and intercultural interactions through the use of chatbots by a) developing a multilingual Natural Language Understanding engine that could be implemented and used by every FORTHEM Alliance member, and b) by providing a framework to favor and facilitate direct interactions between people from different cultures through chatbots.

Plain languages, Output Managers: Laurent Gautier, Dijon, Silvia Hansen-Schirra and Sylvia Thiele, Mainz

This output seeks to produce contributions to the Easy Language movement that strives for communicative inclusion of people from different linguistic backgrounds. The output’s contributions come especially from a technological aspect.

Peter and the wolf goes plurilingual – an interdisciplinary multilingual teaching project, Output Managers: Sylvia Thiele and Ayse Gürel, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

This pilot lays groundwork for a further output for the Digital Academy.