Vytautas Magnus University (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 5185-5192
ISBN: 978-84-09-34549-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2021.1181
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The success of the Erasmus program during its 30 years of existence has been acknowledged and celebrated across the European Union. Over 9 million participants have enriched their horizons and experienced the benefits provided by participation in multilingual and multicultural project activities. The study employed quantitative (survey, n=317) and qualitative (in-depth interview, n=11) research methods to determine the benefits of participation in Erasmus (Lingua) and Erasmus+ projects upon students’ plurilingual and pluricultural competence development. Language teacher experience in 7 international projects was used as the basis for the research with the aim to identify the impact both from the process and project outcome perspectives. The research results indicate that participation in the European project activities has had manifold tangible and intangible long-term effects: from broadening teacher horizons and multicultural competences to changes in language teaching approaches, activities, strategies, attitudes and beliefs, assessment procedures, and communication skills. All these changes in didactics have had an impact on student language learning experiences.

The results of JIP (Jokes, Idioms, Proverbs, 2006-2009) project, where partners from 25 countries aimed at finding equivalents of famous literary devices in their languages, have had long-term effects and are still used by teachers to directly exemplify the implementation of plurilingual and pluricultural approaches. Two projects implemented in 2012-2015 have also left their imprint in language teacher professional work: the SEAGULL project (Smart Educational Autonomy through Guided Language Learning) opened new ways of learning a language through the application of a Tandem language learning method and IntlUni project (Challenges of Multilingual and Multicultural Learning Space) raised teacher awareness of how internationalization at home can be implemented. FAB (Formative Assessment Benchmarking for Foreign Language Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, 2015-2017) introduced formative assessment tools that allow to involve students themselves in the assessment of plurilingual and pluricultural competence development. MiLLaT (Mediation in Language Learning and Teaching) and LISTiac (Linguistically Sensitive Teaching in All Classrooms) are current projects (2019-2021) triggered by the need to implement the language learning innovations suggested in The New Companion Volume of the Common European Framework of Reference (2018). The former aims at improving the HE language teacher competences to develop language learners’ linguistic and cross-linguistic mediation skills, while the latter focuses on developing linguistic sensitivity and awareness of teachers and students to achieve an enhanced linguistic and cultural inclusion in multilingual classrooms across Europe. The recent EuLe (European Learner Biographies) project provides international online communication opportunities for students by directly involving them in virtual discussions, opinion sharing, and reflecting. The research revealed that participation in international project activities can be an efficient form of teacher in-service training, and consequently, have a direct positive impact upon the student plurilingual and pluricultural competence development
Plurilingual, pluricultural competence development, international projects, impact.