Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 16

Accepted Abstracts

Embracing Language Diversity in your Classroom

Letizia Cinganotto, INDIRE (Italy)

Daniela Cuccurullo, ITI Giordani Striano (Italy)


Teachers often face a number of complex challenges linked to the increasing language diversity experienced in many classrooms across Europe. Free movement across intra-European borders as well as increasing migration into Europe has made the language situation in Europe increasingly diverse over recent decades, and many teachers are struggling to find the most suitable way of approaching this situation. The terms language awareness and language diversity have recently been re-launched by the European Commission in the proposal for a Council recommendation on a comprehensive approach to language learning and teaching (May, 2018), officially adopted in May 2019. Although the two concepts of language awareness and language diversity are mostly referred to in the context of language teaching, they are also highly relevant to teachers of other subjects who are working in multi-lingual environments. While many teachers are already language-aware, many others are not conscious of the fact that linguistic diversity cannot only be perceived as a problem, but also as a very valuable pedagogical resource. This is the framework of a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) promoted by the European Commission on the Teachers Academy of School Education Gateway, the platform which allows teachers to get in touch with colleagues from other countries, select courses to attend face-to-face in different European countries and online. The authors co-moderated the MOOC titled “Embracing language diversity in your classroom”, coordinated by Nair Carrera, from European Schoolnet, which was aimed at getting teachers aware of the importance of language awareness and language diversity in any dimension and aspect of the school curriculum, not only in language classes. The MOOC aimed at raising awareness about how having students from diverse nationalities and speaking different languages in the same classroom can actually be used as an asset providing a benefit and added value to said classroom. CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) (Coyle et al., 2010; Cinganotto, 2018; Cinganotto, Cuccurullo, 2019) can play a crucial role in this sense by integrating the focus on the subject content and the language aims. The main features of the MOOC will be described, showing how it helped enhance teachers’ awareness of the language competences of their students and how to benefit from them. Examples of tools and resources chosen by the participants in delivering curricular subjects in different languages will be highlighted. Moreover, some remarks by the participants in their learning diaries will be commented on as examples of teachers’ deep learning, self-reflection and meta-cognition.

Keywords: Language awareness, language diversity, CLIL, MOOC.

[1] Cinganotto L. (2018). Apprendimento CLIL e interazione in classe, Aracne.
[2] Cinganotto L., Cuccurullo D. (2019). Techno-CLIL. Fare CLIL in digitale, Quaderni della Ricerca n. 42, Loescher.
[3] Coyle D., Hood P., Marsh D. (2010). CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
[4] European Commission (2018). Proposal for a Council recommendation for a comprehensive approach on teaching and learning languages:

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