Abteilung Sprachen und Kulturen (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 80-88
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.0054
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
Foreign language teaching and learning processes have been shifting from traditional language-centred approaches, characterized by repetitive, isolated and monolingual exercises focused on developing knowledges, skills and linguistic competences to more holistic and plurilingual approaches, in which language is considered as a vehicle to achieve successful communication in different settings and, therefore, with an inevitable social dimension (O’Leary, 2014). In this communicative and learner-centred approach, language acquisition is perceived as a collaboratively oriented process, which requires higher levels of learners’ autonomy and aims at developing not only communicative, but also transversal competencies (inter- and intrapersonal skills, innovative thinking etc.) and intercultural competence, understood as the capacity to communicate successfully with subjects of other cultures and languages (Byram, 2021). From this perspective, it is also important to create positive learning experiences, to improve affective factors related to the language learning process: phenomena like language anxiety and low levels of learners’ self-esteem, for example, are known as potentially blocking forces in the language acquisition process, slowing down or conditioning its success (Schmidt 2011).

We will present a project carried out with 101 university students learning German as a foreign language in Portugal in three academic years (2022/2023, 2021/2022, 2020/2021), aiming at:
1) developing linguistic, transversal and intercultural competencies and
2) creating positive learning experiences to foster positive emotions towards the target’s language learning.

In concrete, the participants had to elaborate, collaboratively, five linguistic products related to the German music culture:
1) a video with a creative group presentation,
2) a flyer on a specific band or musician,
3) presentation slides with an interpretation of a song and
4) an oral presentation.

The evaluation criteria included not only linguistic aspects, but focused also on creativity and technical quality of the outcomes.

We will also discuss the results of the questionnaire that participants filled in at the end of the project, in particular towards their perceptions regarding the developed competences and general feedback. A significant percentage of the students claimed to have improved linguistic, intercultural and transversal competencies and stated to have had fun while learning.

[1] Byram, M. (2021). Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence. Revisited. Multilingual Matters.
[2] O’Leary, C. (2014). Developing Autonomous Language Learners in HE: A Social Constructivist Perspective, in Murray (ed., 2014). Social Dimensions of Autonomy in Language Learning. Mac Millan. DOI: 10.1057/9781137290243_2
[3] SCHMIDT, A. (2011), Imagens das línguas e afetividade no ensino de Alemão. PhD-Thesis. Aveiro: University of Aveiro.
Language teaching & learning, collaborative project work, intercultural competence, affective dimension in language learning.