The APATCHE project was initiated in the seat of the expert working group on languages in higher education (HE) of the European Language Council (ELC/CEL), as all project partners are members of ELC/CEL.
The APATCHE partners act out of the firm conviction that HE teacher training in language- and culture-inclusive, comprehensive approaches is very much needed:
- Many European policy documents acknowledge that competence in several languages is a “conditio sine qua non” of mobility, cooperation, and inclusion, which are key to good higher education (HE) in Europe. However, EU-funded training programs were aimed at secondary education; projects involved with HE were aimed at creating principles, descriptive frameworks, and benchmarks. Little to no effort was undertaken to train HE teachers in the actual use of plurilingual approaches.
- Scientific evidence shows that plurilingualism has many advantages and that plurilingual language competences generate increased learning efficiency, autonomy, and motivation, ensure cognitive and health benefits.
- Nonetheless, awareness of plurilingual approaches in higher education (HE) is low and language learning is still conceived under monolingual approaches, either by teaching L2 in isolation, or by considering it to be a non-problematic vehicle for knowledge transfer (as can be the case with EMI – English as a medium for instruction).
As a result, the plurilingual competence of HE staff needs to be developed to prepare universities in Europe for the challenges of
- increasingly international student audiences – need to foster and develop a multilingual, multicultural ethos in our classes, as a prerequisite for the EU’s diversity and inclusion policies;
- growing staff and student mobility, enhancement of transnational cooperation, and creation of university alliances;
- increasing weight of the dominant Anglo-American monolingual view on science which isolates scientific knowledge from Europe’s multilingual diversity.
AIMS OF APATCHE
- To add plurilingual approaches to (language) teacher competences in higher education – approaches that value all languages present in the increasingly multilingual international classroom in higher education (HE) as a single, comprehensive set of competences;
- To provide the necessary means of introducing plurilingual approaches in HE all over Europe.
The objectives of the APATCHE project are to answer three questions, namely What is it? Why is it needed? and How can we implement it?
1. With respect to the ‘What?’ question, our objective is to raise awareness of, and to collect, provide and disseminate knowledge on
- the importance of plurilingual approaches in HE (and knowledge construction in general), embracing national languages as well as English as the predominant lingua academica and allowing for learners to develop language skills more effectively, while increasing autonomy and motivation, and fostering positive intercultural attitudes;
- the advantages of plurilingual learning as compared to monolingual approaches;
- importance, for reasons of dissemination and societal impact, of scientific knowledge development in local and national languages as well as in English;
- necessary skills and attitudes to be developed and fostered; ways to develop these.
2. With respect to the ‘Why?’ question, our objective is to raise awareness of the need for, and usefulness of plurilingual approaches in HE, both in (foreign) language classrooms and in multilingual classrooms in which languages are not in themselves the object of instruction, but a means of
- deepening conceptual knowledge,
- enhancing student motivation and learning effectivity, and
- increasing the ability for future graduates to communicate scientific knowledge to citizens and create future impact in European societies.
3. Related to the ‘How?’ question, our third objective is to create ways of allowing HE teachers to familiarize themselves with possible methods and scenarios
- to bring plurilingual approaches into the HE classroom and
- to acquire the necessary competences to do so.
The APATCHE project target group, in the partner institutions which we consider to be a laboratory for further implementation of plurilingual approaches in HE throughout Europe, is composed of:
- A primary target group, i.e., language teachers in HE, for whom we will provide state-of-the-art publications usable in the HE classroom, curriculum recommendations, a descriptive scale of plurilingual competence usable as learning outcomes, and an open online training course. Although primarily aimed at language teachers, this target group includes all teachers in HE, of whatever knowledge domain, confronted with various languages in the internationalized, multilingual classroom;
- Our secondary target group, specifically with regard to the policy and curriculum recommendations we shall produce, comprises HE curriculum and policymakers, at the institutional level (rectors, deans, presidents of curriculum commissions), as well as in local, national and European educational politics;
- Finally, we firmly believe that an indirect impact of the program in the long-term may be that language students in HE that will have been confronted with more efficient and motivating plurilingual approaches during their training, may consequently adopt these in their own future teacher careers, rather than repeat the monolingual approaches they are learning today.
This way, the project tackles tomorrow’s need for teacher training at its source, i.e., by having pre-service teachers profit, for their future careers, from the training provided to their trainers.
The project aims at adding plurilingual approaches to HE, by producing a set of project results (or outcomes):
1. Developing a descriptive scale of plurilingual competence (knowledge, attitudes and values, skills) specifically for HE, usable as learning outcomes. The scale will be published on the APATCHE webpage and disseminated through relevant networks. The scale will be based on the following:
- collected and disseminated by means of publications, both scientific and in laymen’s terms, usable in the HE classroom, the currently lacking state-of-the-art regarding plurilingual approaches and methodologies – by means of a synthesis of scientific knowledge and a review of contributions by past and ongoing EU-funded projects;
- a Europe-wide APATCHE survey that will collect and disseminate the currently lacking empirical quantitative and qualitative data regarding awareness, knowledge and use of plurilingual approaches in HE in Europe.
On that double basis, the currently lacking knowledge- and evidence-based curriculum and policy recommendations for the implementation of plurilingual curricula in HE will be created and disseminated.
2. Developing didactic materials for teachers in HE to acquaint themselves with plurilingual competence in the form of a multilingual three-part open online training course (OOC), answering three central questions: what is it? (4h. Module 1); why is it needed in HE? (2h. Module 2); and how can we implement it? (6h. Module 3) to familiarize themselves with the necessary skills and attitudes and with possible educational scenarios to implement successful plurilingual approaches.
- OOC participants will be invited to submit materials of their making on APATCHE website or social networks: a worksheet will be prepared for the submissions and a possibility of a peer review/evaluation will be created, so that the course pages become a repertoire of educational scenarios and examples in many languages; a disclaimer will also be created by coordinators that project is not responsible for the validity of submissions.
- Having completed the OOC, the participants will receive an automatically generated certificate of course completion (e.g. that can lead to a microcredential).