20 de junio de 2013

Study Visit: The ABC of Plurilingualism in Andalucía (Conclusions)

Este año nuestro CEP acogió en mayo la visita de estudio "The ABC of Plurilingualism in Andalucia" (Página 232 del Catálogo-CEDEFOP. Visitas 2013/14)).
Se trata de una acción descentralizada gestionada por la Agencia Nacional (OAPEE), en colaboración con la agencia europea CEDEFOP (Centro Europeo de Desarrollo de la Formación profesional).
 
A esta visita asistieron un total de doce de expertos en la enseñanza bilingüe de diferentes países europeos con los cuales compartimos puntos de vista y experiencias docentes relacionadas con este tipo de enseñanzas. 
Aprovechando su estancia, el CEP organizó una jornada el día 6 de mayo, de 17:00 a 20:00 horasque, dirigida a los/las coordinadores/as de centros bilingües de nuestra provincia permitió el intercambio activo de experiencias positivas en el terreno de la implantación del fomento de programas bilingües, así como el análisis de dificultades y hallazgos en torno a éstos en los distintos países europeos El título de dicha jornada fue "PROGRAMAS EDUCATIVOS EUROPEOS: ''EL ESTADO DEL BILINGÜISMO. EL MODELO ANDALUZ EN EL ÁMBITO EUROPEO"

Personalmente esta visita me planteó ciertas reflexiones en torno al modelo andaluz de plurilingüismo que recogí en este documento

Aquí podéis consultar las presentaciones que hicieron los asistentes a esta visita de estudio de cada uno de los países europeos:


LINKS to the places we visited and cultural programme:

- IES Alhaken  and Antonio Roldán's blog
- IES Góngora
State School of Languages (Córdoba)
- CEIP Ciudad Jardín
- CEIP Colón
The Mosque (virtual tour)
Tendillas square (virtual tour)

The Castle of the Christian Monarchs
Judería (Jewish quarter).
Crosses festival

The courtyards festival of Córdoba
El Globo Restaurant
Eating and drinking in Córdoba (tapas, food, wine). 

Tasting traditional dishes.
- Easy recipe for SALMOREJO

I must say I enjoyed their company, our conversations at meals, the interesting presentations they made, the exchange of experiences, etc... I think all of them are good professionals and the CEP of Córdoba wishes them good luck...now and ever...


If you would like to see some more detailed information about this visit, you should keep on reading. The conclusions we reached are as follows...



Approaches taken by participating countries
The approach adopted for implementing bilingual language programmes in schools depends to a large extent on the language situation in a particular country or region. Some programmes are aimed at promoting and reinforcing a heritage language such as Irish in Ireland. Other programmes aim to teach/learn a foreign language such as English, French and German in Spain. In other countries there are minority communities within their borders who have rights in relation to the language which are respected in the education system. The location of other regions close to borders between countries requires them to teach the language of their neighbours. 

All the approaches we encountered share similar features:
  • There is an emphasis on communication rather than on grammar.
  • Programmes aim to develop speaking and listening skills in both mother tongue and in target language.
  • The development of literacy skills builds of the initial acquisition of oral skills.
  • Starting a second language at the earliest possible age combined with maximising the contact with that language is the optimal situation.
  • The use of ICT helps to motivate students and to enhance learning and teaching.
  • Learning other subjects or content areas through the medium of the target language helps to maximise contact with the target language and to provide a communicative context for students to use the target language.
  • The content areas in which target language are taught include: maths, music, arts, geography, history, science, social studies and even philosophy (in Spain).
Challenges faced by participating countries

The major challenge faced by all countries and regions appears to be that of resources whether it is for the training of teachers or the development of suitable teaching materials. Other challenges seem to depend on specific context but generally include the following:
  • Training of teachers. This issue requires long-term planning on the part of countries and regions and demands an investment of resources. Teachers currently employed in schools may lack the language skills necessary to teach the language and/or to teach their subject area through the medium of another language according to European standards. An alternative might be to employ native speakers as subject or language teachers but few countries have decided to do this due to lack of applicants or resources. It is a challenge therefore to train teachers for both content and language. Even where teachers have the requisite language skills to teach a language, they need training in suitable pedagogical approaches to teach a subject through the medium of a second language. It may be easier in countries like Germany where teachers have double specialisation (content subject and a foreign language) to provide professional development for teachers to help them teach their content subject through the foreign language. Most countries do not appear to have a clear strategy to train teachers for bilingual schools or sections.
  • The implementation of CLIL appears to be most successful where a coordinating teacher is given responsibility for this within a school and where the school principal is supportive. In Andalucía, for example, the lack of a financial incentive is reducing the motivation of teachers to continue to take on the burden of this extra work. Nonetheless, they are very committed to the project and see how much their students benefit from it.
  • The development and preparation of teaching and learning materials also requires investment. The group were impressed by the organisation of this work in Andalucía where materials are available online in an open source format and teachers are encouraged to upload and share the resources that they create. Adapting resources to particular needs can also be a major challenge. Germany is another example where CLIL materials have been provided for teachers. In other countries the lack of interesting and appealing teaching materials is a barrier to CLIL implementation.
  • Dealing with the needs of minorities can be difficult as the education system may be more focused on the needs of the majority.
  • Different countries have had different approaches to language teaching historically and may have challenges in adapting to CLIL methods.
  • It can be difficult to select students for a bilingual stream when the school is not completely bilingual.
effective and innovative solutions
Training of teachers
  • Some countries organise exchanges with schools from the target language countries, within the framework of existing programmes such as Comenius, Grundtvig, etc.
  • Improving the linguistic proficiency of the teachers through subsidised courses in language schools.
  • Assigning teachers to schools on a job-profile basis where a bilingual qualification is taken into account. None of the countries seem to have decided to rely on financial incentives, however, to attract teachers to multilingual schools.
  • The provision of native-speaking teachers through networks and associations rather than on an individual basis. The ideal situation is when a teacher has sufficient language command as well as skills in teaching foreign languages or even CLIL to teach the subject through a foreign language.
Resources
  • Websites or platforms that provide resources for content teaching.
  • Cooperation between teachers of different subjects (for example in Spain: language teacher, science teacher, sign-language teacher).
  • The use of ICT in CLIL lessons.
transferability of policies and practices

Most of the practices observed in Spain or described by the participants are transferable. The challenges seem to be quite comparable. There is a need for political willingness in a country combined with strategic planning in order to implement a successful bilingual programme in public schools.
The definition of a common framework for the schools implementing bilingualism such as the CEFR and external certifications for both teachers and students is a very useful measure that could be applied in all countries. Such a framework provides a goal for students and teachers as they strive to reach a particular level of language competency. It also promoted continuity and lifelong learning in the acquisition of linguistic skills.