Europe is seeing an increase in new models for multilingual education that use lesser-used languages as vehicular languages. A clear example of this new direction is the new pedagogical model implemented in Valencia called the Dynamic Multilingual Project. This new model reinforces lesser-used languages, in this case Valencian, and English, as important pedagogical tools necessary for the promotion of multilingualism. However, the fact that secondary schools are committed to teaching in English and Valencian can lead to inclusion and access difficulties for migrant and refugee groups who have not yet mastered these languages.
This is a problem currently happening all across Europe, especially in countries that use lesser used languages as cultural and pedagogical tools, such as Wales or Ireland. In Wales, a 21st century school project is being promoted to include Welsh as an educational language, and in Ireland there is a significant commitment to use Irish more often in schools.
The explicit and real need to promote inclusive and high quality education for all students, especially young migrants and refugees who have language barriers to an equal access to education when the lesser used language is the usual teaching language, led to the proposal for Innolang, an INNOVATIVE EDUCATIONAL METHODOLOGY FOR INCLUSION THROUGH MINORITY LANGUAGES.
The project created a cross-cutting network that contributes to equal inclusion in a bilingual educational setting for young migrants, refugees, or students. Five internationally prestigious organisations have participated in this project: Acció Cultural del País Valencià (ACPV) from Valencia, European Language Equality Network (ELEN), IAITH from Wales, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) from Italy, and the Institute of Education of Dublin City University (IoE DCU) from Ireland, plus several secondary schools from across Europe, teachers’ associations, high school federations, and policy makers.
To this end, we have adapted a new and innovative methodology based on Speech Community Integration (SCI). This method focuses on the repeated communication patterns that can be easily learned and profited from with practise. As the student repeats interactions, older lessons are reinforced, and newer ones are more quickly assimilated. This innovative method allows for the development of the social, cultural, academic, and linguistic inclusion of students in an innovative way. This system promotes a new vision of educational inclusion, approaching it from a holistic perspective, which is why it is considered that educational inclusion must be accompanied by a full social and cultural inclusion.
In order for a migrant student with special educational needs (SEN) to overcome the language barriers inherent to the access to educational centers with a minority language as a educative vehicular language, it is necessary to make curriculum adaptations. It is essential to encourage their interest in this new culture and in the advantages that the mastery of these languages will grant them. To this end, the interventions should not only be carried out during school hours, but also outside of them, through extracurricular activities, and they should not only include teachers, but the entire educational community and social entities. A common effort must be done to achieve an inclusive and multilingual education.
This project took 24 months, and thanks to the creation of a network of social organisations (in collaboration with teachers and secondary schools), transnational meetings and multiple activities yielded an important intellectual result: THE METHODOLOGICAL GUIDE FOR INCLUSION IN CENTERS WITH MULTILINGUAL PROGRAMS, which is based on a conceptual model based on research results.
This material aimed in the first year of secondary education to allow teaching centres, teachers, and students to eliminate the barrier to access of young migrants and those with SEN to centres that teach in minority languages. There were four main components to boosting the acquisition of a new language: socio-cultural, linguistic, academic, and cognitive processes.
This result included a great variety of high-quality materials such as curriculum adaptations, educational units, OERs, an extracurricular activity program, the development of the innovative CLIL methodology through the Prisma Model, and learning for inclusion.
These materials have been disseminated to secondary schools and colleges thanks to a multiplier event and the support of prestigious organisations. It achieved a substantive impact in more than 20 secondary schools in the year after its completion, and hopefully this will become a tool that will be promoted and used throughout the EU in the next five years.
INNOLANG Website and Resources: http://innolang.eu/