According to EUROPE 2020, European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, for smart growth aims to enhance the performance and international attractiveness of Europe's higher education institutions and raise the overall quality of all levels of education and training in the EU; to step up the modernization agenda of higher education (curricula, governance and financing) including by benchmarking university performance and educational outcomes in a global context.
After the accession of Croatia, there are now 24 official languages recognised in the EU. There are also a number of indigenous regional and minority languages (such as Catalan, Galician and Basque in Spain, or Welsh and Scottish Gaelic in the United Kingdom) in the EU. Moreover, there are many other languages that have been brought into the EU by migrant populations, notably Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, Hindi and Chinese.
A recent study carried out for the European Commission (2017), called “Preparing Teachers for Diversity: the role of Initial Teacher Education”, shows that teaching staff in European schools lack experience with teaching in multilingual classes where there are immigrant students. Initial and continuous teacher training are vital ways to prepare teachers for teaching in multilingual setting, including through imparting methodological competences, pedagogical content knowledge and experience.
This lack of preparation, when coupled with a diversity of levels of competences in the native language of the classroom, makes it ever more challenging for NLTs to teach in an effective manner. Trying to find the least common denominator in the classroom inevitably gives a bad deal both to native language speakers and to immigrant students learning the native language since the formers often have to make do with levels of language that do not meet with their potential and immigrant students are always behind making their school experience more difficult and less rewarding overall.
In the context of growing diversity in European classrooms, initial and continuing teacher training can ensure that teaching staff have the skills to teach children who don’t speak the language of schooling and may be multilingual (European Commission 2016, Language teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms).
In this context Mapping Teacher Training in Europe (MATT) shall:
- create a panorama of the obtaining training offer for native language teachers (NLTs) in HE institutions and other professional training providers especially those teaching the native language of the receiving country as a second language for immigrant students and/or in multilingual classrooms,
- find out how teaching practice of NLTs is organised, monitored, mentored and assessed,
- map pedagogical innovations, technologies and trends in teaching and learning in language teaching and in general (even outside the language classroom) and to assess how these can be tapped to transform the native language class dynamics in so far as classroom management, teacher-students relationship, delivery, flexibility, personalisation and mobile learning are concerned,
- create instruments to keep NLTs up to date and upskill them with the latest pedagogical innovations, technologies and trends,
- recommend the best training model for NLTs that caters for the new challenges in the native language classroom,
- to promote excellence in NLT training through exchange of good practices,
- to enable HEIs to develop and reinforce networks, increase their capacity to operate at transnational level, share and confront ideas, practices and methods in NLT training.
- build more inclusive HE systems, connected to surrounding communities, by increasing fairness in access and the participation and completion rates of immigrant students.
MATT shall bring benefit to:
Academic staff in faculties of education including those responsible for the design of initial or continuing teacher training have the need to learn about different selection, teaching processes of NLTs especially those who will work with immigrant students and teach them native language of the home country in mixed classrooms.
Present and future NLTs receiving training in HEIs or in other initial and continuous teacher training providers need to be equipped with skills and input that ensures they are up to the challenges offered by the new ever changing dynamics in the native language classroom and that their teaching career is a rewarding one in spite of these challenges.
Local native language speakers and Immigrant students learning the native language of the receiving country are final beneficiaries of the project and they have the need, the right to and deserve a good quality learning environment in the native language class that helps them acquire linguistic skills, communication competences in the native language and personal development and growth in the community.