Projects

1. PLANET: Plurilingualism: Academic Network for Teacher Education, with the University of Wroclaw, Cordoba University, Bogazici University in Istanbul and Czech Technical University in Prag.

The main objective of PLANET is to design and evaluate educational modules that focus on the development of plurilingual and pluricultural competence for European training programs for teachers of foreign languages. The plurilingual/ pluricultural approach assumes that an individual’s languages and cultures are not kept in strictly separated mental compartments but rather build up communicative competence to which “all knowledge and experience of language contributes and in which languages interrelate and interact” (CEFR, 2002:4). In this sense, the development of plurilingual/pluricultural competence presupposes that languages and cultures should be learned and taught in (at least partially) integrated manner. At the moment this does not correspond with the dominant teaching paradigm in language education in Europe, which is teaching languages and cultures largely in isolation. Such a compartmentalized approach is problematic as, in the long run, it can lead to running up against “limitations in terms both of learning capacity and space in the curriculum” (CARAP/FREPA, 2010:8), especially when aiming at increasing the number of languages taught, i.e. realizing the Barcelona Summit (2002) “mother tongue + 2” objective. In order to teach languages in an integrated way and to realize curricular goals for each language, pre-/ in-service teachers of FLs, who are the main target group of the PLANET project, need to a) have developed plurilingual/ pluricultural competence themselves and b) be equipped with necessary tools to pass on that competence to others. PLANET aims at delivering solutions for both a) and b). 

2. TEEM: Teaching EFL management (TEEM): Innovative approaches to the development of EFL learning materials with St. Pius X College in Kerala, India.

The main goal of the proposed project is a systematic, collaborative, and research-based development of a multimodal and interactive website/portal for teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) that contains information on: a) chosen cultural forms of expression and practices found in India and b) the Indian approach to issues of multilingualism. The proposed interdisciplinary partnership between business administrators/product developers and researchers in EFL explores an innovative and alternative approach to the entrepreneurial task of EFL material development: it encourages joint active participation of the main stakeholders in the design process, i.e. it allows the agents, whose culture and language constitute the subject matter, to co-construct the learning materials along with language teachers, who are end users of the product. In this sense, the project questions the role of typical gatekeepers responsible for the selection of cultural content and its structure in EFL teaching materials. Instead it attempts to place the interested agents in direct contact with the content matter through the use of digital media, which have the added bonus of being able to capture the dynamic and transformative nature of the constructs of interest. 

 

3. Learning Languages through the Arts, with the Univeristy of Wroclaw, Bogazici University in Istanbul, Lietuvos Edukologijos Universitetas in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

letta-logo004 med hr

The Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) education model originated in the mid-1990s in Canada as an “artist-teacher-institutional collaboration” (Elster, 2001: 19), which aimed at the infusion of arts directly into the general curriculum in a way that could support the acquisition of knowledge required in various disciplines. The effectiveness of the program has been subjected to an extensive empirical investigation, which points to a beneficial emotional, physical, cognitive and social impact of involvement in the arts on learning (Upitis & Smithrim, 2003). Based on its success, the LTTA model can prove to be a valuable tool for teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in Europe. The goal of the current project is to explore potential ways of applying the LTTA model in EFL classes. To that end, EFL teacher trainees, in-service teachers and university students from four countries will engage in a cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration. After a careful analysis and comparison of respective curricular goals as well as what is considered best teaching practice, followed by observation of teaching practice, the participants will develop an online corpus of classroom materials and activities based on the LTTA model. Such prototypical EFL LTTA resources will be used as the basis for a set of guidelines (“criterion catalogue”) for the development of LTTA based EFL resources. 

 

4. Oldenburger Netzwerk zur Förderung pragmatisch-kommunikativer Kompetenz im Englischunterricht

Although national and European curricula for EFL have long recognized the necessity to teach pragmatic skills in foreign language classes, the available solutions for classroom practice are scarce and not systematically documented. The main goal of the project is to create a communication platform for researchers and EFL teachers interested in offering language learners a stronger support in the development of pragmatic/communicative competences. Establishing a dialogue between these two groups – teachers and researchers – allows for the transfer of relevant knowledge and experience. It also leads to the combination of theoretical and research-based insights into the development of pragmatic skills with examples of best classroom practice. The network will aim at developing learning materials and lesson plans, which will be tested and evaluated and subsequently offered as modules for local schools.  

 

5. ELAN – eLearning Academic Network Niedersachsen. Entwicklung mehrerer Online Lernmodule zu fachdidaktischen und forschungsmethodologischen Themen. (elanoldenburg.wordpress.com)

 

© Joanna Pfingsthorn 2016