Multilingualism Accelerator – A method to boost foreign language learning and raise language awareness Erasmus Project

General information for the Multilingualism Accelerator – A method to boost foreign language learning and raise language awareness Erasmus Project

Multilingualism Accelerator – A method to boost foreign language learning and raise language awareness Erasmus Project
July 7, 2020 12:00 am
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Project Title

Multilingualism Accelerator – A method to boost foreign language learning and raise language awareness

Project Key Action

This project related with these key action: Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices

Project Action Type

This project related with this action type : Strategic Partnerships for school education

Project Call Year

This project’s Call Year is 2017

Project Topics

This project is related with these Project Topics: Pedagogy and didactics; Teaching and learning of foreign languages; New innovative curricula/educational methods/development of training courses

Project Summary

The Multilingualism Accelerator is a curriculum which enables children to learn foreign languages faster and to become more confident in their language-learning abilities. It was based on the propedeutical idea, i.e. that learning a model language, in this case basic Esperanto, if it is limited to the 300 most frequently-used morphemes, can boost children’s language learning skills. Several studies have shown that learning the model language Esperanto for one year may increase the speed of subsequent language learning by up to 30%. The reason is that such a model language is very easy, has no exceptions and functions logically. It enables children to easily understand the underlying linguistic principles by taking apart and rebuilding words and sentences. It is thus far more effective than other languages, burdened by many exceptions to rules, in motivating students. They learn by autonomously constructing their own sentences.

Through this course, children playfully learn the basics of an analytical language, and this gives them clear ideas about how languages are organized. Children understand grammatical terms such as plural, the basic two cases (nominative and accusative), how to create sentences, and acquire the ability to create many new words from the basic roots and affixes present in every language. This gives learners a clear view of the structure of languages in general, known as meta-linguistic knowledge.

Perhaps the most revolutionary feature of the Multilingualism Accelerator is that it can be taught by language teachers who have no previous knowledge of Esperanto. The materials contain the minimal knowledge of Esperanto, which can be easily learned by experienced language teachers, who learn while preparing for the lessons.

On the Multilingualism Acclerator platform https://lernu.net/instruado didactic material for 60 school hours (or 30 block hours) is available in 10 languages: Bulgarian, Croatian, French, English, Esperanto, German, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak, Slovene and Spanish. The material is divided into six lessons. Each lesson contains the following materials:
– Didactic methodology, which is easy to follow for language teachers;
– Ready-to-print work sheets with attractively and colorfully illustrated exercises, dialogs and texts;
– Direct links to grammatical explanations in order to provide teachers with no prior knowledge of Esperanto with additional information, when preparing for classes;
– E-learning exercises for individual use by pupils;
– Audio material.

The use of the Multilingualism Accelerator approach for two years by five teachers in three primary schools in three EU Member States has been remarkably successful. Surveys among pupils, teachers and parents showed their enthusiasm for the Multilingualism Accelerator course. Children, aged 8-9 years, enjoyed the course (2 hours per week) and the teachers found it not only interesting, but also very useful. Two tests at the end of the school year evaluated recognition of elementary grammatical notions in the native language and the meta linguistic knowledge of the pupils. The tests were completed by the pupils who learned Esperanto and a control group of equal size and same previous language learning experience, who did not. They showed that the children who participated in Multilingualism Accelerator classes had considerably higher scores than those who didn’t. However, a larger sample would have to be tested in the future to make scientifically relevant claims.

Another very important result of the project is the computer program for creating sentences, which was used to develop e-learning exercises on the platform. The idea of the computer program was to develop a tool for generating sentences which include only morphemes used in lessons. It can either generate sentences from scratch or determine the acceptability of a given input sentence. In a CALL context, the system works with a lesson-/level-constrained vocabulary and could in the future be integrated into e.g. substitution table or slot filler exercises. It could also be adapted to be used by teachers to generate exercises or by students who can write sentences on the computer and the computer could give feedback if the sentence is grammatically correct and meaningful. As such the program is completely innovative and unique and might also be implemented in other CALL contexts in the future.

The partnership of 9 organisations from 6 countries consisted of three schools, two universities, one education NGO and one private company active in the field of education, one education and media company and a publisher.

EU Grant (Eur)

Funding of the project from EU: 246450 Eur

Project Coordinator

IZVORI DRUSTVO S OGRANICENOM ODGOVORNOSCU ZA NAKLADNICKU DIELATNOST & Country: HR

Project Partners

  • Osnovna skola Retkovec
  • UNIVERZA V MARIBORU
  • INTER-KULTURO MEDNARODNI KULTURNO IZOBRAZEVALNI CENTER DOO
  • Sredno uchilishte Hristo Botev
  • OS Rudolfa Maistra, Sentilj
  • STUDIO GAUS GMBH
  • SYDDANSK UNIVERSITET