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


Multilingualism in School and Higher Education

This 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.

Outputs of the Lab and current work in progress

Output Manager: Sergio Maruenda (University of València)

The leading team of the output organised an online webinar in Zoom on November 9, 2020, to share XMI/EMI experiences at a local level and discuss further directions of the output (i.e., participation of members of the Alliance, potential format of the output, accreditation of participants).

In January 2021, the leading team presented a draft proposal for the structure, contents and organization of the XMI/EMI course that was discussed in the output group (i.e., modules and contents, teaching modalities, participants). The working group agreed to hold a pilot course at the UV, with the participation of members of the output group from different universities (i.e., UV, JYU, OP). Another meeting followed in March 2021 to refine contents and structures and invite FORTHEM lecturers to participate.

The UV hosted the 1st FORTHEM pilot 30-hour course on English/X as a Medium of Instruction for 24 UV lecturers of various disciplines. This first edition counted on the virtual participation of several lecturers of the FORTHEM Lab in Multilingualism in Schools and Higher Education, through lectures and seminars. You can find the program and other details in this blog post.

Participants filled in questionnaires administered by the UV Centre for Education and Quality to evaluate the course. Results have shown a high degree of satisfaction with the quality of the staff, the contents and the materials provided, and value their experience very positively. Currently the team is working on the expansion of the output.

Output Manager: Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska (University of Opole)

Publication to dowload: Multimodality of academic genres in multilingual education

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 promote multimodality in multilingual education. The task is to report and reflect on case studies, reviews of literature, and current projects related to multimodality. It aims to evaluate which academic genres could be enhanced with multimodality and how this can be done productively and cost-effectively. The resulting manual provides anyone interested in multimodality with the latest knowledge of how to make the experiences in multilingual education more fulfilling and communications (including virtual exchanges) more effective.The manual has been promoted through webinars and presentations as well as included in workshops for staff and students.

This output is also available for FORTHEM students and staff as a resource (MOOC) on FORTHEM Digital Academy, where you can download it and its supporting materials, and engage in some reflection and stimulation tasks. There is no timeline, no ECTS points, and no badges, but you can arrange with your instructor(s) for this to be your assignment or reading group/circle.

Output Managers: Petteri Laihonen (University of Jyväskylä) and Marcin Deutschmann (University of Opole)

Partners: (2022 January) University of Jyväskylä; University of Opole; University of València; Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz; University of Palermo (UNIPA)

External partners (2022 January): Mankola Comprehensive School, Jyväskylä; Opole Municipality Education Department and 6 Comprehensive Secondary Schools in Opole; I.C. “Luigi Capuana” School, Palermo; IES high-school Ramon Llull, València; Rudi-Stephan-Gymnasium, Worms; Eurac Research, Bozen/Bolzano; Åbo Akademi University, Va(a)sa.

The aim of the output “Multilingualism in schools” is to address the linguistic diversity in schools and to actively involve different members of the society, in this case students, pupils and teachers, in the applied linguistic research on multilingualism. Since 2020 we have been planning a European citizen science project together with all stakeholders and outreach partners and piloting it in partner sites, first in Jyväskylä (Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021) and second in Opole (Spring 2021) and then in València , Mainz and Palermo (in 2022)

The pilot phase was carried out in Jyväskylä. The team reported on the launch of the pilot in October 2020 and summarized the experiences from the pilot phase in February 2021. In the autumn of 2021, the pilot was re-organised at the Mankola school. Further, the Jyväskylä team participated in an international virtual conference Knowledge for Change: A decade of Citizen Science (2020–2030) in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, which has significantly helped them in developing a Citizen Science agenda for research in Humanities and Social Sciences (see their brief report about the lessons learnt from the conference). On 2021 April 27 JYU and Mankola school co-organised a FIT FORTHEM match-making event: Science as a civic skill – Citizen Science in schools. (for a report see this post) . This was followed by another matchmaking event now jointly organised by JYU and University of Opole (more details in this post).

The conceptual phase of the project in Opole started in October. The pilot itself, with students’ participation, started in December 2020, and the partner highschool from Kędzierzyn-Koźle with teacher and pupils joined in February. The methodological challenges and opportunities of doing extreme citizen science in the pandemic were presented in December in the open online seminar entitled: Metodologiczne problemy badań socjologicznych w sytuacji pandemii (Methodological problems of sociological research in the pandemic), organised by Polish Sociological Association. Reports from the output development were published for instance on Instagram, and on the website.

In 2022, the output was expanded to a FIT FORTHEM Co-creation Pilot Project for the Multilingualism Lab. A re-kick-off event was organised in February 2022. With the aim to build a Horizon Consortium and encouraged by the success of the pilots by the Universities of Jyväskylä and Opole, we are now developing a model for CS projects in education, together with new (external) partners.

Output Managers: Tamás Péter Szabó (University of Jyväskylä) and Tuuli From (external  partner, Åbo Akademi University)

The course helps students to build strategies for the conscious design and development of the linguistic landscape of 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.

Currently the course developing team consists of students and academics from the Universities of Jyväskylä, València and Opole. External partners from the University of Hamburg and Åbo Akademi University contribute to the development of content and coordination.

A modular structure is designed for the course to enhance flexibility. The theoretical and methodological grounds of the course content and structure were presented in Tamás Péter Szabó’s keynote lecture in the Digital Symposium on Linguistic Landscapes in Second Language Teaching and Learning Contexts conference on 17 December 2020 (detailed  information about this specific course can be found from 37 min 50 sec onward).

The course content is continuously developed, the team meets every month. In between the regular meetings, course units are planned and reviewed in smaller groups by students and academic team members. The course will first be offered for all member universities via FORTHEM Digital Academy in the Autumnterm of 2022.

Output Manager: Luisa Amenta (University of Palermo)

The FORTHEM Summer School "Multilingualism in schools: methods and strategies for teaching languages", organised by Prof. Luisa Amenta, in collaboration with a team of local and international professors, was organized between 8 and 12 November 2021. Twenty students from the Universities of Jyväskylä, Valencia, Mainz, Dijon, Riga, Opole and Palermo took part in the Summer School. They had the opportunity to deepen their skills and good practices on teaching languages and literatures in multilingual contexts, engaging in workshops, seminars and activities aimed at encouraging a comparative and transnational investigation. The twenty students were also able to admire the beauty of Palermo and visit the library and museums of Polizzi Generosa. Visit the photo gallery to gain an insight into the event!

Output Managers: Sylvia Thiele, Ayse Gürel and Antonia Görgen, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

The Johannes Gutenberg University team of FORTHEM Multilingualism in School and Higher Education Lab provides an online didactic-methodical kit on the basis of Peter and the Wolf.

Pictures and individual scenes composed especially for this project by the School Music Department of JGU are used to produce texts about the fairy tale. In this context, instrumentation also comes into play, which is significant in dealing with specific cultures. Furthermore, there are audio samples in different languages that narrate the scenes. Language samples come from people working and studying at almost all FORTHEM partner universities and from other plurilingual enthusiasts who heard about the project.

There is so much to discover by listening to and comparing different languages, images and musical examples; among other things:

       →    You may understand passages with the help of matching pictures.

     →   You recognize languages because certain musical instruments used with the same picture bring them to your mind.

     →   The fairy tale can be told in many languages, beyond the examples that have been already archived.

Perhaps these days it is particularly important to deal with a story in which a child, Peter, uses words to stop the hunters and prevent them from killing the aggressor, the wolf. Talking and understanding – even beyond language barriers – is an important, perhaps the most important way to reach a peaceful coexistence, or, to quote Theodor Rifesser, it is already of central importance in childhood and in the educational context:

“[…] Any school or teaching model that can guarantee the broadest language competence possible already in the compulsory education offers good conditions for a genuine integration of Europe, for communication and understanding between people and, last but not least, the best foundations for learning other languages” (translation from Rifesser, Theodor (1994): Drei Sprachen unter einem Dach. Das Schulmodell an den Schulen der ladinischen Täler in der Autonomen Provinz Bozen/Südtirol. Bolzano: Istitut Pedagogich Ladin, p. 26).

Output Manager: Sylvia Thiele, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz

Based on the schoolbook for French language teaching Des traces dans la neige, there will be a teaching project at the Rudi-Stephan-Gymnasium at Worms in cooperation with Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. The main aim is to produce a multilingual film with subtitles in the Dolomites. The tasks will be mediation/transformation of the text into an Italian screenplay and subtitles in different languages as well as writing a Ladin version in cooperation with schools in the province of Bolzano (Italy). Finally, a journey to the Dolomites for producing the film in situ would be organised. Details will be fixed from Autumn 2022 onward.

Lab contact information

University of Jyväskylä, Finland Senior Lecturer, Adjunct Professor Tamás Péter Szabó
University of Jyväskylä, Finland Senior Researcher, Adjunct Professor Petteri Laihonen
Johannes Gutenberg University, Germany Professor Sylvia Thiele
University of Burgundy, France Professor Laurent Gautier
University of Opole, Poland Associate Professor Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska
University of Opole, Poland Assistant Professor Magdalena Szyszka
University of Palermo, Italy Associate Professor Luisa Amenta
University of Latvia, Riga Professor Ina Druviete
University of Latvia, Riga Assistant Professor Laura Karpinska 
University of Latvia, Riga Doctoral Researcher Olga Pashinska
University of Latvia, Riga Doctoral Researcher Jevgenija Selivanova
University of València, Spain Senior Lecturer Sergio Maruenda, Department of English

Associated and external partners contributing to the Lab

Highlighted events and progress in the Lab

Alliance level Sustainability Meeting, 17–19 May 2022, University of València (hybrid seminar)

Second Alliance level Progress Meeting, 29 March 2022 (virtual seminar)

FIT FORTHEM Match-making event 'Science as a civic skill - Citizen science in schools', 27 April 2021 (virtual seminar)

First Alliance level Progress Meeting, 19 April 2021 (virtual seminar)

Alliance level output planning meetings, 23, 25 and 30 June 2020 (a series of virtual seminars).

Alliance level kick-off, 31 March – 2 April 2020 (virtual seminar)

Blog posts from Lab activities

See this collection of blog posts

For blogposts in Polish see here