Multilingualism and representation: Erasmus+ projects that change the narrative

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In most European countries, curriculum and pedagogy both still address the “majority” population, with less regard for the experiences of minority groups, such as migrants, people with disabilities, religious minorities, and the LGBT community. But teaching to multiple identities has clear educational benefits – and these three projects deliver them in spades.

Seeds of Tellers: Storytelling at School to Master the Art of Speech

“Learning to be a better listener is to become a better speaker. Learning to be a better speaker is to become a better thinker. And better thinkers… are better writers, too!” This more or less sums up the philosophy of Seeds of Tellers, which links children’s success in learning to their mastery of speech.

In schools, the written word is still firmly in the driver’s seat, with oral expression limited to memorised passages that the pupil repeats back to the teacher. By contrast, Seeds of Tellers engages pupils aged 5-11 in oral storytelling, and hones their reasoning, memory and imagination with the help of its structured narrative.

The project offers several libraries of tales: one with oral traditions written down, one with subtitled videos, and one with international tales.

For teachers interested in using these tales in school, there are also thematic sheets and practical sheets available.

You can read more about the project in the practical guide, or watch this video for a general introduction:

Seeds of Tellers is an Erasmus+ strategic partnership among five countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Italy and Portugal. It ran from 2018 to 2021 and has been declared a good practice example.

Listiac: Linguistically Sensitive Teaching in All Classrooms

Much research has gone into the benefits of multilingualism, and tools have been developed for individual teachers. However, that has not really translated into change in schools, where monolingual policies are still digging in their heels. The project Listiac approaches this from another angle, by re-imagining initial teacher education (ITE) and teachers’ in-service training.

In fact, Listiac’s very existence is a step in the right direction: as an action research project, it actively engages teachers in some necessary reflection on their language use. Other expected results include:

  • a reflection tool to make teachers more linguistically sensitive in their beliefs, attitudes and actions;
  • a model for a new ITE curriculum, which will be more supportive of multilingual pedagogies;
  • a report and a set of recommendations for policymakers, teacher trainers and pedagogical counsellors.

For a more vivid illustration of the project, watch this video:

Listiac is an Erasmus+ policy experimentation among seven countries: Belgium, Finland, France, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. It started in 2019 and is set to end in 2022.

Welcomm 2 Explore Europe: Integrated Language and Cultural Learning at an Early Age

Welcomm 2 Explore Europe developed the linguistic and intercultural skills of migrant and bilingual children aged 6-12, using a series of fun activities and products. The goal was to boost children’s curiosity and empathy, foster positive attitudes towards other cultures, and engage them more as citizens.

Pupils practised language and tested their cultural knowledge through custom-made board games and comic books. The latter were co-created by the children and professional artists, and inspired by a local tradition, saga or myth. Watch this video to hear about the process in more detail.

In addition, children took part in diverse educational experiences, like this visit to the Children’s Museum in Brussels, Belgium:

Lastly, the project developed guidelines for educators in six languages. These include the project’s methodology and principles, as well as instructions for language educators and volunteers working with migrant and bilingual children.

Welcomm 2 Explore Europe is an Erasmus+ strategic partnership among six countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom. It was launched in 2018 and concluded in 2020.

To discover ongoing and past EU-funded projects in school education, please go to the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform.

For additional resources on language learning: